New Forest Education conference encourages outdoor learning

Education conference June 2016

Published Thursday 23 June 2016

A conference for teachers on the importance of learning beyond the classroom has been held in the New Forest National Park.

Representatives from 14 local schools gathered at Brockenhurst Village Hall on Friday 17 June, to share ideas about the benefits of outdoor learning and better connecting young people to their natural surroundings.

Organised by the New Forest National Park Authority’s two Education Officers, who work with around 10,000 children and young people each year, the free annual conference is the fourth to have been held. Schools represented this year were from Hampshire, Dorset and Southampton.

Using the New Forest as an example, the conference addressed learning in the locality and why teaching young people to care for the environment is beneficial to both young people and the landscape.

Head teacher Paul Street from Hythe Primary School said: ‘We are all fortunate in having a superb education resource on our doorstep. This conference provides an excellent chance for teachers to see how to use the Forest and local environment to further learning.’

Learning outside of the classroom better connects young people to nature and inspires them to care for their local landscapes in the future, whilst tying in with the national curriculum.

The conference included workshops delivered by teachers for teachers, better equipping them to incorporate outdoor learning more regularly in their lesson plans. Practical ideas for maths in the playground, wild writing in the local park, and being a plant hunter in the Forest were shared, inspiring teachers to use local outside spaces and encourage them to visit the New Forest with their pupils.

New Forest National Park Authority Lead Education Officer Sue Palma said: ‘The highlight of the day was when pupils from Hythe Primary School and Hyde Primary School attended and showed us the fantastic results of their outdoor learning.

‘It was inspiring to hear from the children how learning beyond the classroom had contributed to their development and to see how their teachers have made ideas about outdoor learning into a successful reality. We were delighted to have so many schools represented and to see such collaboration between the delegates.’

Lou Alexander Pearce and Amy Edwards from Hythe Primary School and Sue Harbottle from Fawley Infant School held inspiring workshops.

More information about the services offered by the Authority’s education team can be found at


Notes to Photo Editor:

Primary school teachers embracing outdoor learning at the New Forest National Park education conference.

Notes to Editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park – Protect.

Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Beki Mole, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639


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