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Glasgow City Council

Outdoor Learning in Glasgow's Parks

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A guide for teachers

This guide is intended to equip teachers with all the information, contacts and links they need to easily make use of the many greenspaces within the city.

In a world where an alarming three-quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates, schools have a huge potential - and arguably, a responsibility - to give children access to natural environments. By embracing learning both inside and outside the classroom, children discover that learning occurs everywhere, at all times, not just when sitting quietly at a desk with a jotter and a pencil.

Taking the curriculum outdoors can have a hugely beneficial effect on the learning and development of pupils. It not only improves problem solving skills, communication and collaborative working, but also physical and mental health, wellbeing and resilience.  By allowing children to explore and experiment in the great outdoors it helps to foster a lifelong appreciation of the natural world.  

Glasgow is in the enviable position of having 92 parks, Local Nature Reserves and greenspaces throughout the city, providing ample opportunity for pupils to enjoy learning outdoors. If you would like to book a CfE session with the Countryside Rangers just click on the link below to access a booking form. 

Where can I learn outdoors?

A new interactive web mapping tool has just been launched to help teachers find a potential greenspace for outdoor learning close to their school.

SNH has developed the Greenspace Map for Outdoor Learning in collaboration with Ordnance Survey (OS) and Esri UK as part of the legacy from the Learning in Local Greenspace project

Find your closest park, local nature reserve or greenspace here.

How do I book a CfE session with a Countryside Ranger?

You can book a CfE session by completing our pdf icon form [238kb].

How do I book a park?

If you are just making one visit and using many locations within a park, moving around doing lots of different activities then you DO NOT need to book to use a Park in this casual way for outdoor learning. You can just turn up.  But be aware, that a group may already be there and have an official 'permission to use' a specific site that you had in mind, so with this approach you must be flexible.

If you wish to guarantee use of a specific outdoor space or use a specific space in a Glasgow Park on a regular basis (more than once) with a group you should complete a pdf icon 'Permission to Use' form [231kb].

What is a Forest School Site and how do I book?

We have a number of sites around the City which have been specifically identified as Forest School sites

Forest School Sites/Camps must be booked through the PTU system and the Countryside Rangers. These sites provide the opportunity to work with a group over a number of weeks or months. Some locations are in high demand and are fully booked for a year ahead. 

Glasgow's Countryside Rangers manage a citywide forest school bookings diary to avoid double bookings and record the frequency of use and safeguard the carrying capacity of the sites. First time users of the forest school site must undertake an orientation of the site with the local Countryside Ranger, contacts below.

Our Glasgow's Forest School Guidance for Use & Best Practice can be found pdf icon here [81kb] and is based on Leave No Trace.

Please note there is maximum limit of 12 children in each Forest School camp and a maximum of 2 bookings per camp will be taken in any week. Due to a likely increase in demand for these sites, they will be regularly monitored. If it is evident that the sites are being degraded, we reserve the right to cancel bookings to allow the site to recover.

What other considerations are there?

Risk Assessments

You are responsible for carrying out your own risk assessment of the site prior to your visit. The risk assessment should reflect individual circumstances and must be kept up to date in these times of rapid change. Risk to the group leader/teacher, assistants, participants and other park users should be considered. If you would like to meet with a Countryside Ranger prior to your visit, please get in touch.

The Right to roam

The right to roam or more correctly, right of responsible access was enshrined in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, which establishes a statutory public right of access to land for an individual (not an organised group) for recreation and relevant educational activity if exercised responsibility. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code captures what is meant by responsible.  

How to Book Teacher CPD?

Teacher Tailored CPD Sessions

It is widely recognised that transferring classroom lessons to the outdoor context will be a massive change, particularly for more established teachers, with some evidence suggesting that staff find natural environments more difficult to use or to harder to prepare lessons in advance for. With this in mind, the Countryside Rangers can provide targeted CPD training to help deliver the CfE.

Council's Countryside Ranger Team can also run ½ day CPD sessions to familiarise teachers with the process, what we mean by sustainable use of sites and some basic skills and activities. Pleasepdf icon click here [561kb] to find out more. To book a place please complete our online form.

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