Jenny Gilruth MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, and Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, made a special visit to Lathallan School in Johnshaven to speak to staff and pupils following the school’s recent national recognition for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC).

Lathallan is the only school in Scotland to have the Gold LOtC quality mark and there are real synergies between the award-winning school’s ethos and Scotland’s refreshed national Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 'Target 2030’ that was launched by Ms Gilruth in 2023.

With a focus on LOtC, pupils were keen to showcase what learning looks like at Lathallan. During Ms Gilruth’s visit this included a lesson with P6 pupils looking at the biodiversity and habitats of the school grounds, S3 pupils studying the brain and nervous system with an experiment measuring reaction time both indoors and outdoors, and a preschool outdoor play session with various tools to help children develop crucial life skills – problem-solving and safety awareness.

Cabinet Secretary for Education Jenny Gilruth said: "I was delighted to visit Lathallan school to observe the school’s unique approach to embedding outdoor learning across the curriculum. It was fantastic to see Lathallan pupils from the youngest years, right up to the senior phase, engaging with their learning outdoors. It was clear that the approach the school adopts provides enjoyment and motivation for their young people and staff alike.

"Outdoor learning is a great way to support children and young people to develop the skills, knowledge and values they need to live sustainable lives and create an economically, socially just and environmentally sustainable world.

Lathallan School Headmaster, Richard Toley said: “We were delighted to welcome Ms Gilruth and her team to Lathallan so that she could experience our school environment and get a feel for LOtC experiences that our pupils are exposed to daily.

“Why confine you learning within the four walls of a classroom when there is so much knowledge and experience waiting to be discovered in the world? Research shows that healthier and happier young people have better outcomes at school and that education is an important determinant of future health. Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) is of benefit for all pupils. Period.

“At Lathallan School, LOtC is deeply embedded in the mindset of our staff, pupils and parents. It is not just about learning outside in the fresh air or outdoor education, it encompasses the valuable learning experiences that occur in any setting outside of the classroom across the whole curriculum - be that sketching for an art and design class in the walled garden, tending to the animals on the school farm, a literacy lesson in the woods, investigating rock pools on our beach, a day trip to a local museum or an overnight stay in the mountains beneath the stars.”

Find out more about Learning Outside the Classroom at Lathallan via their website

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