Outdoor education at Millfield
Outdoor education is a key driver at Millfield Primary. This starts when children first enter school in nursery with Meadow Mondays every week and continues in all years throughout their schooling, culminating with upper Juniors taking part in numerous activities including kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and mountain biking in the local area.
Many of these activities are provided by our own experienced staff with external coaches providing more specific activities as needed.
At Millfield we believe that all children should be able to take part no matter what their background. Over the years we have built up significant resources to allow children to take part at extremely low cost and usually at no cost at all.
We have our own canoes and kayaks and mountain bikes and can fully equip whole classes with full weather specific equipment to go hiking in all terrains in all weathers. We can also take up to 40 children camping at a time including all tents, bedding and cooking equipment.
We have now had our own minibus for over 10 years. It is a great asset to the children's learning and is in constant use.
At Millfield we try to do small group, quality trips which enhance our children's learning rather than big expensive whole class trips using coaches as many schools do. For example the trip we lead last year to the Tower of London had to be massively subsidised out of school funds as the coach alone was nearly £1000. We usually just ask for donations towards fuel and car parking.
We will try to keep the number of trips high despite the high cost to the school as long as possible as the trips are so valuable for childrens learning.
Any contributions you can make are most appreciated.
As mentioned above, we can provide all equipment that your child need from boots and socks to thermals to tents sleeping bags and tents.
Many parents are now starting to ask if they can provide their child with personal kit themselves.
If you wish to do this, you are very welcome but please consult with a member of staff as to what to buy.
From personal experience our staff have learnt that you can spend a lot of money on a pair of boots for example,, only to have them used once before they grow out of them. We do have all types of boots etc from year 1 size to year 8.
This year we have begun a new style of 'residential' stop over than we have in previous years. Each year group from Year 1 to Year 5 will have an exciting activity week. This weeks activities will be based around a theme in which the pupils will engage in topic-based activities with a one night stopover. Years 2, 3 and 4 will sleep over under canvas on the school field with use of our provided equipment. Year 5 will stop over for one night at a Scout Camp in our local area.
The cost of these camps is kept as low as possible to encourage all children to take part. Despite recent increases in the cost of living , we have managed to bring this in for under £30 a week of activities including camp. This being mainly due to the hard work and dedication of our staff.
The camps are not just highly enjoyable but are invaluable in the development of the children's social, mental and educational development. Our October 2023 activity week with Year 5 had a 100% attendance.
By the time they leave us, our children are well equipped to make the most of the further opportunities that high schools can provide.
Year 6 will have the opportunity to attend a week long residential in an outdoor learning facility which will further develop their independence and preparation for their future.
In a world where it is thought that children can no longer 'play out' freely and safely Millfield Staff appreciate the importance and value of learning through outdoor play.
An experienced team of staff run the outdoor sessions. These sessions start in ‘The Den’ on the field. The Den has access to the ‘wild area’ the ‘bird hide’ the ‘meadow’ ‘allotments’ and our beautiful field.
All children have access to a waterproof suit and wellies.
All Nursery children have a session in the Den on Mondays.
Reception children are split into two small groups and have their session on either Tuesday or Thursday.
Just a few points that highlight the benefits the children can experience from the outdoor environment;
- Access to space with opportunities to be their natural, exuberant, physical and noisy selves
- Fresh air and experience of different weathers
- Endless opportunities for discovery, play and talk
- Social opportunities that build relationships, and develop self esteem
- Lots of opportunities to set themselves challenges and to learn how to keep themselves safe.
- To learn about the natural world.
We have been running these sessions for ten years!! During this time we have been delighted to see lots of children's confidence and self esteem develop, their personal and social skills have improved as they learn in a natural environment with different members of staff.
What Parents Say About our Outdoor Learning
What Ofsted Says About our Outdoor Learning
"This school gives pupils a wide variety of experiences, both in and out of school. Rarely does a day go by when a visit or learning in the outdoor environment is not happening. Wellingtons, waterproof suits and walking boots are as much a part of what pupils need for learning as paper and pencils are.” – Ofsted 2019