Giving more children and young people access to outdoor learning and play opportunities provides invaluable life experiences which could not be achieved without ‘going out there’ more regularly and more frequently. This framework, which provides user-friendly processes compliant with health and safety legislation, aims to increase opportunities for all Scotland’s children and young people to access their learning through off-site visits and the outdoors, improving learning outcomes for all.
Scotland’s outdoor environment offers motivating, exciting, varied, relevant and easily accessible activities from pre-school years through to college and beyond. Through Curriculum for Excellence, the Scottish Government endorses the value of children and young people enjoying positive learning and play experiences in a wide variety of settings from galleries and museums to woodlands, parks and wild, natural spaces, as well as planned adventure and residential experiences. An enjoyable, creative, challenging learning journey helps children and young people learn by experience and grow as confident and responsible citizens who value and appreciate their local area and the wider environment of Scotland, which includes spectacular landscapes, rich natural heritage and a diverse built environment including landmarks of international significance.
There is a need for schools and other groups to make the most of the vast learning potential of the outdoors by ‘going out there’ and employers and those leading groups need to have confidence that the approach they are taking meets legal requirements and helps enable positive experiences for children and young people. While local authorities’ guidance and regulations remain authoritative, it is expected that ‘Going Out There’ should be adopted as a common framework across Scotland by all those managing or organising visits or providing activities and venues. It seeks to increase confidence and co-operation and recognises in particular that the vast majority of outdoor learning involves routine visits to places in the local area. It does not cover work experience.
The framework has been developed in partnership by the Scottish Government, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education (SAPOE), Education Scotland and the Association of Directors of Education, with input from other partners including voluntary organisations and providers.
This framework refreshes and updates the Health and Safety on Educational Excursions (HASEE) guidance and its supplements which are now withdrawn. It replaces both HASEE and other related or predecessor guidance. It adopts a low bureaucracy, enabling approach to outdoor experience and off-site visits, reflecting the step change in the approach to educational visits detailed in the HSE High Level Statement, ‘School trips and outdoor learning activities: Tackling the health and safety myths’. The HSE statement makes clear that:
- The focus should be on how the real risks arising from such visits are managed rather than a focus on paperwork
- There is a need for a proportionate and sensible approach for planning and organising off-site activities