The benefits of outdoor learning and play are far too important to forfeit, and by far outweigh the risks of an accident occurring.
Outdoor learning risk management
As an organisation, Learning through Landscapes is committed to children being able to experience challenging play and learning activities in the day-to-day environment of their school or nursery grounds.
We balance the benefits of any activity against the risks associated with that activity. We want to enable schools and nurseries to make careful and considered judgements that will allow children to develop the skills that they need for a fulfilling adult life.
Balancing immediate risk with long-term benefits is a skill every teacher and educator already has – consider the different response you would make if a child runs past in the corridor, or if a child runs past on sports day. If you would like advice and training, please visit our Risk Management in Schools training page.
We believe strongly in the benefits of managed risk for children and we are proud to have endorsed the International School Grounds Alliance Risk Declaration.
“When planning and providing learning opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up risks and benefits. No child will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool”
Health & Safety Executive, 2012
Risk and Challenge as learning opportunities
Our view that risk and challenge is a positive learning opportunity is confirmed by many national organisations, including the UK Government, and the curriculum in Wales and Scotland.
The output of this work is a practical approach to risk management in schools and early years settings that seeks to be ‘as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible’.
Our Risk Management System
Below are the Risk Benefit Assessments that we use. They are intended to cover our activities – including play and outdoor learning in schools and early years settings.
Our Risk Benefit Assessments are designed to ‘stack’ – any given activity may require a Generic Location, a Generic Activity and possibly a Specific Activity. Specific Activities are ones that pose increased potential for risk, especially with children or less experienced adults involved.
The implementation of these is supported by our well qualified and experienced staff, our monitoring by LtL Management and an all staff feedback system. This leads to continual improvement and a high level of engagement by all staff.
We regularly work with organisations to support their processes through staff training and culture change work related to risk and challenge. Please get in touch if you would like training or advice.
Your outdoor learning risk assessment benefits
Before making any changes to your risk assessments, you should satisfy yourself that it still meets any requirements that your Local Authority or Organisation has as policy. Do please call us for informal advice, or consider booking Risk Benefit training with us.
With the additional risk’s associated with Covid19 we have added to our risk assessments for outdoor learning and play. They are below, available for download.
Additionally, we have some Standard Operating Procedures, a checklist for schools and a checklist for LtL Staff, specifically as control measures for Covid19.
Generic location risk benefit assessments
Outdoor Activity (routine and expected) Risk Benefit Assessments
Specific Outdoor Activity Risk Benefit Assessments
Forest School Risk Assessment
We ‘stack’ our Risk Assessments. This means that for activities that fall under a formal ‘Forest School‘ approach we would include the woodland risk assessment for venue, the loose parts play risk assessment and then specific risk assessments such as fire and cooking or tool use. If you are looking for Forest School risk assessment, please use the downloads above.
We can also offer specific advice on your site, either as an advisory visit or look over your Forest School risk benefit assessment forms.