Recovery Curriculum Launch

Northumberland National Park Authority has launched its Recovery Curriculum to help school communities restore a love for learning amongst pupils in its unique and special landscapes, following over 18 months of disruption, due to the pandemic.

Over 1,100 student engagements took place between April and July 2021 through Northumberland National Park’s Learning Programme, from 10 different schools in the North East. Within this time, the learning team delivered almost 30 different activities for school children, including river dipping sessions in the Breamish Valley, geology sessions to uncover the history of Northumberland, and dark sky discovery workshops at The Sill.

Northumberland National Park has responded to the increase in interest of outdoor learning from schools by expanding its Learning Programme, and launching a Recovery Curriculum.

The Learning Programme aims to encourage future generations to be inspired by the landscape and become passionate about conserving and enhancing the National Park, for future generations to enjoy.

A young boy, wearing a red jumper, plays in a woodland area in Northumberland National Park

Outdoor learning

Rachel Baron, Learning Officer at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “We were pleased to see so many teachers keen to get back to outdoor learning once schools officially reopened in April, though times were still very uncertain. Following the influx of interest to take part in our existing learning activities, we developed the Recovery Curriculum to encourage even more schools to get back into the great outdoors by expanding the existing Learning Programme, and respond to demand.

“Recovery comes in all forms, and the beautiful landscape of Northumberland National Park is the perfect place for people to come and recover together, with nature. Following the pandemic many people turned to the outdoors and wild landscapes for their physical and mental wellbeing; being able to access resources to aid schools to continue doing this is so important.”

Following a feedback survey with participating schools, 90 per cent of respondents agreed that the activity they took part in improved the health and wellbeing of the students.

The idea and importance of connecting with the outdoors for wellbeing purposes is what the Recovery Curriculum is built on. By using creative ways to get schools involved with Northumberland National Park’s Learning Programme, more children, and teachers, will have the opportunity to reconnect with the landscape.

A young boy, wearing a blue jacket, collects sticks in a wood

Flexibility

The Recovery Curriculum programme launched on Thursday 23 September 2021 and has been designed for pupils of all ages and abilities, with a combination of led sessions in the National Park, sessions delivered in schools, sessions delivered remotely, and digital resources which can be shared with teachers.

The curriculum’s flexibility allows schools and individuals to engage remotely, as well as accessing some of the facilitated sessions at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre and locations within the National Park.

Feedback from schools:

  • “The children thoroughly enjoyed their experiences especially the hill walk and river investigation. For many children it was their first experience of a rural setting, and they were in awe.”
  • “The walk on the afternoon was excellent and the children were totally immersed in the environment which was brilliant to see.”

Northumberland National Park’s Recovery Curriculum has been developed from its Learning Programme, which is supported by the Barbour Foundation, and delivered by Northumberland National Park Authority’s learning team. Funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has also contributed to the development of the Recovery Curriculum.

From wellbeing walks, mindfulness workshops, support for Arts Awards and much more, find out what sessions are available here: https://www.thesill.org.uk/learning/northumberland-national-park-recovery-curriculum/

For more information, contact the education team by filling out the enquiry form on the above link or emailing [email protected].