Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Teachers’ welcome to outdoor classroom

This is an archived press release

Wednesday 30 April 2008

29 April 2008

Teachers’ welcome to outdoor classroom

How often do pupils stare through the window wishing they were outside?

Now there’s no reason not to be, when they can learn numeracy, literacy, science, geography, history and the arts in the giant outdoor classroom of the Peak District National Park.

The Moorland Discovery Centre, on the beautiful National Trust Longshaw Estate, has just launched a Teachers’ Pack DVD offering outdoor educational programmes from pre-school right up to GCSE and A-level.

Opened just over a year ago, the Moorland Discovery Centre was developed by the Moors for the Future Partnership, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Union. It is jointly-run by the Peak District National Park Authority and the National Trust, and the Teachers Pack was financially-supported by the Ramblers Association and Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland.

Just over seven miles from Sheffield, the centre is ideally-placed for opening the eyes of city-bound young people to an appreciation of the natural environment.

In half- or full-day visits, some 4,000 pupils have already learned about moorland habitats, their ecology, geology, wildlife, history, legends, conservation and climate change.

Launching the CD at a presentation to Sheffield teachers, National Park chair Narendra Bajaria said: “Learning in the outdoors has got to become an integral part of mainstream education. It is by far the best way to stimulate environmental interest in young people who will hand it on to future generations.

“The Moorland Discovery Centre offers a fantastic opportunity for schools if they choose to use it. The Teachers’ Pack opens the door, and it’s up to schools to lead their pupils through it to discover this unique environment for themselves.”

Mike Tones, the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ national champion for learning outside the classroom, gave the keynote address:

"I’m utterly convinced that the best educational achievements are made through learning outside the classroom,” he said.

“It’s not about going out once a year on a sunny day, it’s about learning core subjects regularly outside the classroom – maths, science, information technology, literacy. Direct experience has been proven to lead to deeper learning, raised educational standards and even improved behaviour.

“The Peak District is within easy reach of Sheffield and Manchester, and these facilities and services are now on offer. Millions of young people could benefit if the will is there in schools and community groups.”

Mike Innerdale, property manager for the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, said: “We hope the Teachers’ Pack will be the start of a real drive to bring more young people out into the Peak District. The natural environment should not be an optional add-on, it’s an enriching part of life which every young person should be able to experience, regardless of background.”

The Teachers’ Pack DVD and education visits booklet is being sent to all schools in Sheffield and the Hope Valley, and is available by ringing 01433 637907.  

Teachers are encouraged to set up a free preliminary visit by ringing the same number.

The Moorland Discovery Centre is a mile from Grindleford railway station, on a bus-route (get off at the Fox House Inn opposite the Longshaw Estate), or by road at the junction of the A6187 (Ringinglow road) and A625 to Hathersage (tel: 01433 637907).

On the Manchester side, similar educational facilities are on offer at the Longdendale Environmental Education Centre, jointly run with United Utilities, at Tintwistle (tel: 01457 868127).

Losehill Hall, the national park’s learning and environmental conference centre near Castleton, also offers a full range of opportunities for schools (tel: 01433 620373).

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This is an archived press release

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