Okehampton Plus

The weather was perfect yesterday for a walk (run and play) from Belstone, up to Belstone Tors and back along the Taw Valley. This International group were great fun to be with and included children and young people from Lithuania, Spain, Italy and Okehampton along with accompanying staff. The feedback was great and the children’s command of English impressive!

‘Playground Maths’ at Cornwood Primary School

I am looking forward to running my ‘Playground Maths’ course at Cornwood Primary School on Thursday 28th March 2019. It’s a twilight course costing only £20 pp. Further details can be had by emailing outsideandbeyond1@gmail.com. (Closing date Thursday 21st March) Please state if you came across this via this website.

Many thanks,


A poem from my ‘Playground Literacy’ workshop

This poem was created by ‘Playground Literacy’ workshop members at the SOLID conference at Buckfast Abbey. It emerged from a group exercise using prepositions – apologies that I am unable to name-check the authors.

Under the Ancient Abbey

Under the ancient abbey lies an unopened tomb of a lost queen.

Through time she had travelled, through stars and galaxies.

Towards the moon she flew, her skin sparkled and her dark locks flowed like a comet.

Until her invisible earthly bonds drew her back to the ancient abbey.

Inside the abbey that she has guarded since her untimely death.

Over her tomb you should never tread, if you do you’ll end up dead!

Sustainability and Outdoor Learning in Devon (SOLID!) conference

The name might not survive for long but the conference at Buckfast on Friday was thoroughly enjoyable. It was a great chance to meet teachers interested in developing outdoor learning in their schools.

As there was a literacy theme I ran a ‘Playground Literacy’ workshop which, starting from children’s motivation to play gave different ideas to play with words and sentences. These were often nonsense (which children love) or almost poetic! (there is a fine line.)

The highlight was the session on ‘The Lost Words’ when the artist talked to us and we worked in groups as she created beautiful pictures in front of us.

Already looking forward to next year.

Walk and talk

Courtesy of the South West Coast Path Association I am able to offer an extra session to the ‘Explorer Group’ (just eight children with their ‘Learning Mentor’) from Victoria Road Primary School. Last term the school funded four sessions for this carefully selected group to enjoy and learn from ‘Adventure Walks’ on Dartmoor. Our March day will be along the Coast path near Plymouth and I know that they are looking forward to it and I am looking forward to meeting up with them again.

Learning Outside the Classroom National Conference: Positive feedback to workshop

I thoroughly enjoyed the Annual (National) Learning Outside the Classroom conference at the Black Country Living Museum (Dudley).https://www.bclm.co.uk

The early feedback from my ‘Inspiring Play in Wild Areas’ workshop has been very positive. I would love to have had time for more discussion questions etc. but time was restricted. If anyone is interested in the fuller version (c 90 mins) then please get in touch. Here is a pdf version of the power point from my presentation. Inspiring play in wild areas summary


Also attended a couple of really useful workshops. The first on the risk/benefit approach to risk management which chimed well with my own approach. The second a very  enjoyable, session on ‘Music in the Outdoors’

A very well organised conference with a wide variety of keynote speakers.

Bideford College

I have thoroughly enjoyed a series of 5 walks for groups of year 7 children from Bideford College. They were staying at the Dartmoor Training Centre. On most of the days the weather has been ideal for walking and the dry summer has meant that under foot it has been a little easier than last year. The students have been really responsive and ready to learn about Dartmoor, its wildlife and history whilst testing themselves over  a much longer distance than they are used to (including a Tyrolean river crossing!) The staff have also been very supportive and given positive feedback. I am now looking forward to a similar experience over the next few weeks with year 7 students from Launceston.

An Adventure Walk with a Foundation Year 1 class

Well that was fun!!

Twenty seven children some as young as four had a great time exploring the woods around Cockington. We walked along narrow paths in the ‘jungle’ through ferns as tall as the children. We crossed the stream. back over the bridge then under the bridge – everyone wearing wellies as advised. Noticing the flowers and plants as we walked we had our snack buy the stream before playing for a while sliding down the earth banks, paddling and exploring. Soon we were heading up the ‘steep hill’ and on into the grounds of Cockington where the teachers and helpers lost the children for a while when they all disappeared under the branches of a large fir tree! Lunch ended with children rolling down the hills, low level tree climbing and swinging on the springy branches of a giant conifer. On the way back more climbing and a bit more paddling for some very tired but happy children.

The staff and parent helpers really enjoyed their day and it was a pleasure to watch the children become more adventurous over the course of the day. Loads of smiles and only a few bumps and the odd close encounter with stinging nettles. Brilliant day – well done to everyone.

Inspiring Maths Outside the Classroom

Feedback from the latest incarnation of this course and thanks to Sir Robert Geffery’s Primary School, Landrake for hosting it. Always on the look out for schools willing to host a course or who would like INSET form their staff.

  • I really enjoyed today’s course and found it really relevant to daily teaching. I leave with loads of ideas for daily practise and look forward to implementing this with my class: Naomi – Landulph Primary
  • I really enjoyed this session. It gave me lots of ideas that can be realistically achieved: Jessica – Ugborough Primary School, Devon
  • Enjoyed seeing how a range of resources can be used; also how simple activities can be used to develop reasoning through questioning: Sarah – Ermington Primary
  • A good and effective way of covering a large area in a short amount of time. Lots of different ideas generated showing clearly how they can be integrated into every day school life: Jamie – Sir Robert Geffery’s Primary School