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Results from a Social Impact Report show teachers see huge benefits to students from outdoor adventure learning

The Outward Bound Trust, the experiential outdoor learning charity which exists to unlock the potential in young people through discovery and adventure in wilderness environments, has just published its third Social Impact Report. The Trust, which has a 70 year heritage, is leading the way in impact evaluation and is currently the only outdoor learning and development organisation in the UK which reports on teachers’ feedback as well as that of students.

In 2012-13, almost 25,000 young people took part in Outward Bound Trust courses, 88% of whom were in education. Over 2,000 teachers from 386 schools participated alongside their students and the results of the Report demonstrate the huge impact participation had on students’ confidence, effort and perseverance. An unexpected bonus of the courses is that teachers’ relationships with students and their own teaching skills also improved. 80% of teachers said they gained in some way themselves from the course.

“It has helped staff to see students learn in a different environment, assess their learning styles and to develop better relationships with students. We can also say 'remember when you did that at Ullswater', a powerful tool to help students employ past learning.” Class Teacher, Secondary School, 2013 Studies increasingly emphasise the crucial nature of non-cognitive skills in young people. Persistence and effort are as much predictors of success as ability and gaining such skills can help young people to avoid risky behaviours and increase earnings in the long-term. Educationalists and employers are calling for greater emphasis on a skills-based curriculum, while the Confederation of British Industry highlights determination, optimism and emotional intelligence as the top three skills.

Teaching staff who were surveyed reported high levels of student improvement after taking an Outward Bound® course. 97% of teachers reported improvements to pupils’ relationships with others, 85% reported improved attitude towards learning and 68% reported improved performance in the classroom.

Teachers also reported that through observing their students’ progress and achievements during the course, they gained a better understanding of students’ abilities. By standing back and allowing students to learn from experience, teachers saw that being over-directive can hinder learning and that targeted support includes knowing when not to direct or help. A distinguishing hallmark of all Outward Bound courses is that, in addition to undertaking exciting and challenging activities, participants are carefully guided to reflect on these experiences, contextualising their own personal development back into their everyday existence. In this way, the full value and impact of each individual’s ‘distance travelled’ can be consolidated and transferred into other aspects of their lives, including school and college. The Report found that this reflection is as significant for teachers as for students, revealing unexpected benefits.

Both short-term and longer-term benefits are measured by the Social Impact Report.

95% of teaching staff who participated, agreed that students were more likely to persevere when facing difficulties in the future, 92% said that students had improved their skills in setting personal goals and 85% said students were likely to set themselves higher goals in future. Longer-term benefits were reported by teachers with 85% observing improvements in students’ attitudes and behaviour in class and 80% reporting improvements in attitudes towards learning and in personal and thinking skills. The most consistent improvements reported by teachers were those of confidence, motivation and enthusiasm for learning. Classroom relationships showed considerable improvement with 95%of teachers observing improved teacher/students relationships and 97% observing continuing improvements in relationships between students after the course.

The Report looks at examples of schools where a relationship with The Trust has been ongoing for 5 years. In these cases, permanent improvements are observable.

At Battersea Park School the Head Teacher reported a more stable, engaged school community with a thriving leadership that had been directly influenced by the programme.

At Christ Church C of E Primary School, Head Teacher Jakki Rogers observed that students show more empathy and maturity in their interaction with others and that repeated exposure to Outward Bound programmes helps students maintain the skills they have learned. Christ Church C of E Primary School achieves significant results for its pupils, who achieve more than expected against national curriculum standards.

Ms Rogers says “We are very proud of what we achieve here in the face of some pretty challenging circumstances and are grateful for the ongoing partnership with The Outward Bound Trust and the way it has supported us in delivering that 'extra something else' that means the children leaving us do so with much better prospects than when they joined us.” The Report findings highlight the importance of the role that each individual teacher plays during Trust courses. There are benefits for them as well as the pupils, and the shared experience and knowledge gained helps make sure that key areas of learning do not get forgotten when pupils return to school.

New two day format proves opportune as NEC Showcase welcomes 35% increase in visitor numbers

A little over 1,500 unique attendees visited the NEC Solutions Showcase on 14-15 May 2014, an impressive 35% increase on last year’s attendance. Nearly half were end users who experienced fully operational end to end solutions to understand how they can be applied to their specific needs.

"We have enjoyed an extremely successful 6th Showcase with very positive feedback from our partners who help make this such a unique event,” says Simon Jackson, VP NEC Display Solutions. “The decision to extend to two days was certainly the right one when we consider the increase in attendees, it was always busy but not overcrowded. Other events running in parallel for the inaugural London Digital Signage Week were also well attended and we are delighted that

Showcase has become the foundation to instil new developments, innovations and partnerships - driving the industry to yet greater achievement.” The Velodrome in London’s Olympic park unquestionably fulfilled the Showcase blueprint for original and stimulating venues, where many participants enjoyed a Track Bike Experience amongst many other experiences delivered through the latest technology solutions. Simon Jackson continues, “Of course the venue was a big hit, though we will try and find somewhere next year where I don't have to put my cycling shorts on! The whole NEC team put in a huge effort to make this happen and they should be immensely proud of what they have achieved in establishing the best AV industry event in the UK.”


Leveraging the success of the event to support its nominated charity Sense, the AV industry dug deep to raise a significant amount of money for deaf/blind people and their families, whilst also raising awareness of the charity’s excellent work.

June 2014

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