December 2023

Forest and Outdoor Learning at Selkirk High School

Judy Paul from Newbattle Abbey College has started to run a Forest and Outdoor Learning Award programme for young people in S3 at Selkirk High School with funding from Harris Trust.

The programme is very much in keeping with the aims of the Harris Trust with a person-centred approach to learning. The award is inclusive and accessible for all, with assessment which is flexible and appropriate for participants. The young people have choice over activities and can move between activities allowing them to determine their own learning and the pace of that learning. This supports motivation, confidence and resilience enormously. In addition the combination of the person-centred approach within a nature based setting brings health benefits which support those with neurodiversity and promotes good mental health. The programme is running for 10 weeks and during this time young people will be introduced to nature discovery, species identification, making shelters using knots and tarpaulins, using hand tools, woodcraft, and cooking with sustainable practice underpinning all. They will achieve an SCQF level 4 award which will be a great confidence booster for going into S4.

In two weeks, the group have already managed to erect shelters in cold, windy conditions, boil Kelly kettles and make some useful woodcraft items with wood from trees that had been uprooted. Their natural curiosity, creativity and team work is coming to the fore and they are already achieving many learning outcomes for their award whilst having a lot of fun!