South Downs park authority launches first learning plan

THE South Downs National Park Authority has teamed up with the national charity ‘Learning through Landscapes’ for a scheme which would help teachers from schools across the area use the South Downs as part of their outdoor learning curriculum.

South Downs programme manager for the national park authority, Mary Jackson, said: ”The environment that children and young people learn in can have a significant effect on how they engage with a subject or an idea.

“Providing challenging, exciting and different learning experiences outside the classroom is proven to raise attainment, bolster social, emotional and personal development and contributes to the health and well being of children and young people.

“Our South Downs will use the incredible diversity of landscapes, habitats, places and learning providers that make up the South Downs National Park to give children year-round structured programmes of learning and engagement based around the National Park’s Special Qualities.”

She said 738 schools in and around the national park would have access to an outdoor learning curriculum exclusive to the South Downs, enabling them to benefit from the rich biodiversity, habitat, landscape, heritage, culture and industry that surrounded them.

In addition, the South Downs website would equip teachers with the skills and knowledge to identify the wealth of learning opportunities in their immediate locality and to make the most of this resource to support their practice.

It was, she told the Observer, the first project on the scale of an entire national park in the country and officers would be contacting all schools in and around the South Downs National Park to tell them exactly how they could get involved.