Outdoor learning

At Copthill, the outdoors isn’t an ‘add on’ to school life;  it’s an integral part of the school’s teaching philosophy.  Every outdoor activity has a purpose and it’s a great leveller for pupils.

This holistic approach is called Enriched External Learning (EEL) and it permeates all areas of school life for all age groups.  It’s designed to encourage pupils to benefit from the opportunities and wonder of the outdoors; and they never fail to rise to the challenges they encounter.

We believe that the inspirational opportunities, as well as the obvious benefits for health, mental wellbeing and fitness, will leave a lasting impression on our pupil’s childhoods and extend well into adult life. This is what we fervently believe.  This is what we strive to achieve.

When I started at Copthill I had no idea how many opportunities I would have, but knew I was going to have fun when I skinned a rabbit and made a shelter to sleep in during my first week at school.

Year 5 Girl

Animal Farm

It’s not every day you have the chance to feed and clean alpacas; but you do at Copthill. Meet ours – Kieran, Ivan and Nathan. Our donkeys Dougie and Wilma are firm favourites as are the dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits and sheep. Looking after the chickens (too many to name) is a highly prized job, the real perk being to collect and sell the eggs.

Pupils from all year groups help to look after our animals and Year 6 pupils are responsible for walking the school dogs, Harley and Piper. These daily opportunities are all part of growing up and give pupils the chance to take responsibility and to provide reliable help.

Adventurous activities

The joy of adventurous activities encourage pupils to challenge themselves and occasionally to have mild but carefully considered ‘dangerous experiences’, which require them to assess risk.

“The children have a healthy respect for fire as they know what they’re doing with it. They know it’s not just a thing to burn, it’s there to give them warmth and comfort, for making hot chocolate or to cook on. If they didn’t learn about these skills in the Forest School, they might not know that”. Head of Forest School.

Upper School pupils (Years 4-6) experience numerous adventurous activities ranging from camping, climbing, raft building, survival skills to team building. These are delivered during activity afternoons, residential trips and within the PE curriculum.

Outdoor camps and cookery

If you’re a pupil in Years 2-6, you have the chance to go camping with your classmates during term time, or as part of Summer School.  We know the event will live long in the memory as a wonderful childhood experience.

With the arrival of the Autumn term, Year 5 pupils can look forward to attending a residential bushcraft course in Hertfordshire.  This outdoor experience provides a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and to develop self-confidence in challenging surroundings.  Learning to build a fire, to cook and boil water are childhood joys for all pupils.

Outdoor holiday courses run throughout all half terms, Summer holidays and most other holiday periods.

Our most popular activities include outdoor and adventure camps, bushcraft, Forest School, sports weeks and a firm favourite – parent and child bushcraft days.

Copthill outdoors

Nursery and Pre schoolOutdoor experiencesOutdoor provision is an essential element of our youngest children's Copthill experience. This can be going out to feed the farm animals, using the outdoor classroom or setting out from their own forest chalet to enjoy the Forest School. Being outdoors in parts of the school's more remote natural areas is good for young pupils' wellbeing. It allows them to gain confidence in unfamiliar surroundings. By creating physical challenges we develop pupils' natural curiosity and add to their knowledge.
Lower School Reception -Year 3Outdoor creative curriculumThe weekly timetable includes outdoor learning sessions with Forest School staff. These provide pupils with practical and engaging ways to learn, reinforcing the classroom objectives in art, drama, geography, history, science and other areas of the curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to demonstrate creativity, teamwork, reflectiveness and resilience, all of which are characteristics of a Copthill Learner. Through new experiences, pupils will problem solve, gain confidence and develop an excitement for the outdoors.
Upper School Years 4-6Outdoor learningUpper School pupils have regular outdoor sessions covering all areas of the curriculum. These are designed to enhance a learning objective in a fun and stimulating way, by undertaking outdoor science experiments, geography field work or history exploration. Exciting experiences include Roman cooking, archaeology, rock studies, scientific investigations and weaving. Pupils are encouraged to consolidate their learning and relate concepts to real life situations. Pupil highlights include the French and Spanish cookery classes.