Learning Outside the Classroom

Ethos: Experiences from learning outside the classroom are often remembered for a lifetime. Learning can be fun! Our sessions combine learning with outdoor activities providing relevance and depth to our curriculum in ways which are difficult to achieve indoors. Outdoor learning can be enjoyable, creative, challenging and adventurous, helping children and young people learn by experience. Our team safely encourage our students to develop an awareness of risk and an understanding that they are in control of their own lives. Aiming to change student’s attitudes our outdoor staff enable them realise they have the choice to grow as confident and responsible people valuing themselves and appreciate our society as a whole.

Our Vision: Learning for all – an inclusive approach whereby any student within our service, or any school that is partnered with SWDA, can access any of our ‘learning outside the classroom’ sessions.

We can achieve this by being:-

Smart – Outdoor learning encourages students to understand the interplay and relationship between curriculum areas. This awareness promotes lifelong learning and develops critical thinking skills.

Healthier – Learning through our outdoor programs can often leads to or develop a variety of hobbies which can last a life time for our students. Activities such as walking and cycling are ideal for personal physical and emotional wellbeing while at the same time contributing to a healthier Devon. We are building a reputation for adventure activities such as mountain biking, Canoeing, kayaking, climbing both indoors and out.

Safer and stronger – Outdoor learning activities span social divisions and can help build stronger communities. Here at The South & West Devon Academy our trained Practitioners’ offer the Thrive therapeutic program to help change lives; outdoor learning plays a central role to enable this task to take place. Children and young people have the opportunity to develop these fundamental skills that helps them to assess and manage risk; when making decisions.

Greener Frequent and regular outdoor learning encourages children and young people to engage with their surroundings be it natural or urban heritage. Our countryside and urban areas provide ideal settings for children and young people to understand the global significance of sustainability issues which inform personal decisions that contribute towards a greener society.

Wealthier The outdoors provides excellent opportunities to use a wide range of skills and abilities not always visible in the classroom. This can lead to all kinds of transformative experiences and becoming aware of such skills can fundamentally change personal, peer and staff perceptions, leading to profound changes in life expectations and success.

Our Curriculum: We have developed a range of schemes of work for KS 1, 2, 3 & 4 students within the AQA unit ward scheme. These are personalised, with behaviour targets and with the information gained through Thrive and PASS; this creates a positive meaningful experience which reinforces the work done throughout the whole SWDA.


Our Team of quality professionals have a wealth of National Governing Body Qualifications in Outdoor Leadership and Adventure Education.

Dominic March – Offsite Provision Coordinator

Hazel Townsend – Senior Outdoor Tutor

Tim Whittet – Assistant Outdoor Tutor

Kate Williams – Assistant Outdoor Tutor


The Future: Schools Company South & West Devon Academy becomes a ‘centre of excellence’ delivering high quality specialised and personalised programs for our students, partnered schools and local colleges.