A great new website helps teachers take learning outside the classroom
SaLT website provides advice and resources
Taking education outside of the school gives students the chance to do hands-on learning. It’s also a great way for organizations, such as the Royal Opera House, to get children excited about its art forms. In 2010 a report by MPs found that there is a risk of school trips becoming less common in state schools because of health and safety regulation and fear of litigation.
We’ve found somewhere that has really made learning outside the classroom work: Southend Education Trust’s website SaLT (Southend a Learning Town) is leading the way in supporting schools to discover what is in their local area. It also helps schools share experiences and swap resources.
It features profiles of educational destinations across the South East of England, alongside key resources a teacher can use to make the visit a success.
Christine Farrell, Deputy Head Teacher of Blenheim Primary School and Southend Learning Town Project Co-ordinator says: ‘The site came about when we asked the question, “What do teachers really need to know to get their students outside the classroom?”. The answer was the logistics. Things like risk assessment, learning plans – all the details.’
The site allows teachers to upload and share their resources. They can also rate the venues they’ve visited, discuss experiences, as well as document their visit with video and photographs.
Christine explains: ‘We hope that by giving teachers a place to share, it will encourage more of them to get outside the school walls, use facilities on offer and explore.’
‘There is also an award on offer where, if a school meets the criteria, they are given financial help with their transport costs. If schools achieve the bronze, silver or gold award they will receive £500, £750 or £1000 each year for three years.’
Teachers can join by visiting the website and creating a profile.
Christine says: ‘Learning outside the classroom is so important because it really builds on skills you can’t get in a school setting. The simplest things like getting some fresh air or being in different scenario can really help children learn.’