LINE: Improving learning outcomes through accessibility.

08 December 2016

Creating the perfect learning environment requires careful consideration of the learning outcomes it can produce. Over the past few weeks we’ve been researching aspects of learning in the natural environment (LINE) that can have an impact on student learning and behaviour. We’ve looked at obvious factors, such as colour and lighting, and some more subtle contributors, such as storage. This week we’re focussing on something that many of our customers want to improve in their outdoor spaces - accessibility.

Learning environments that are easy to access and pathways that allow freedom of circulation around the school are linked to better student outcomes. A report from Ofsted found “In some schools visited, outdoor areas were not easily accessible and, even when they were, they did not always provide pupils with such a rich range of choice or opportunity. Too often, a lack of suitable canopies or waterproof clothing unnecessarily limited the use of these areas.”

The only way that children can benefit from learning outcomes when Learning in the Natural Environment is that their outdoor space is accessible to everyone, throughout the school year. Outdoor classrooms and shelters are the perfect solution for this, providing a space in the playground that can be used for learning activities across the curriculum, whatever British weather is being thrown their way.

Not only does the outdoor learning environment need to be accessible at all times, it also needs to be accessible to all pupils. Schools need to develop a space that is appropriate for all children and can be used, in some way, by all ages and abilities. It is important, when designing an outdoor learning environment, to consider the demands and needs of the children. SEN pupils may require additional support accessing the space and it might be necessary to think about how the learning environment can be used by different age groups, either simultaneously or separately. 

For more information about how you can make your outdoor learning environment accessible to all students for the best learning outcomes, book a consultation with one of our local advisors. 

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