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12 December, 2014

Teachers set to make a difference by teaching outdoors

Fifteen teachers are set to make a difference to the lives of school children in West Dunbartonshire by beginning a professional development programme on outdoor learning.

The nursery, primary and secondary school teachers met in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park for the first stage of the Teaching in Nature programme. The programme matches teachers with experts in nature and wildlife - in this case staff from the National Park – to help them plan visits to the outdoors and make links to other parts of the school curriculum.

The programme has recently been endorsed by the General Teaching Council for Scotland – so teachers who successfully complete it will be awarded Professional Recognition in Outdoor Learning.

Sharon Cunningham, outdoor learning officer for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), who manages the Teaching in Nature project said: “It’s widely recognised that spending time outside is good for young people’s learning, behaviour and physical and emotional health. Although learning outdoors is an integral part of the curriculum across all subjects, some teachers need support to fully bring it into their work and Teaching in Nature helps them do just this.

“The programme encourages them to work together to share plans and experiences, overcome challenges and push their boundaries. It was great to see how fired up the teachers involved in this project were after meeting people from organisations involved in the National Park. The weather was outstanding and they left inspired and enthused, already planning visits with their pupils.”

Andrew Brown, West Dunbartonshire Education Services Manager said: “We are pleased that these teachers have taken up this opportunity. GTCS Professional Recognition requires considerable commitment and we commend these teachers for rising to the challenge and improving their pupils’ experiences of learning outdoors.”

Alison Cush, education and inclusion advisor at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority added: “We’re delighted to be working with Scottish Natural Heritage on Teaching in Nature. Helping teachers from West Dunbartonshire to make more use of the National Park for outdoor learning is a fantastic way to make sure more young people from the area get to experience the inspiring landscape on their doorstep.”


For media enquiries or a picture, contact Nancy Fraser, SNH media & public relations officer on 0141 951 0809 / 0141 951 4488 or or call the main Inverness press office on 01463 725022.

Notes to editors

Notes for editors

Picture details

The teachers are from: Linnvale Primary, St Peter the Apostle High School, Clydebank High School, Vale of Leven Academy, Dalreoch Primary, Ladyton Primary, Our Holy Redeemer Primary School, Our Lady and St Patricks, Gavinburn Primary and Riverside, Gartocharn and Carousel Nurseries. They are pictured with Jim Downie (Senior Ranger at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and Sharon Cunningham (SNH outdoor learning officer).

Teaching in Nature supports groups of teachers to work together to use a nearby place that is special for nature to plan, implement and evaluate challenging and fun outdoor learning experiences for their pupils. It combines collaborative, practical and online learning to help teachers to develop their skills in outdoor learning.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) is the independent professional body which promotes and regulates the teaching profession in Scotland. GTCS Professional Recognition provides the opportunity teachers to focus on and develop their professional learning in particular areas of interest and/or expertise and gain recognition for enhancing their knowledge, understanding and practice.

Contact information

SNH Media

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

’S e NatureScot buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Bidh sinn a’ neartachadh àrainneachd na h-Alba agus a’ brosnachadh dhaoine gu barrachd suim a chur ann an nàdar. Tha e mar phrìomhachas againn gum bi nàdar na h-Alba beairteach agus gun dèilig sinn gu h-èifeachdach le èiginn na gnàth-shìde. Tha an tuilleadh fiosrachaidh aig no air Twitter aig


Teachers from West Dunbartonshire out and about with staff from SNH and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park: For one-off use only - please credit SNH

Teachers from West Dunbartonshire out and about with staff from SNH and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

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