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St. Francis de Sales Catholic Junior School

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Learning Outside the Classroom

Learning Outside the Classroom


'The best classroom and the richest learning environment are roofed only by the sky...' 

Margaret McMillan


Learning Outside the Classroom is carefully planned, sequenced and implemented from Year 3 to 6. It is an integral element of long-term curriculum planning and closely linked to classroom activities. Through this, we aim to enrich and improve our pupil’s personal, social, emotional and character development such that they:

  • relish challenging and unfamiliar tasks and environments;
  • embrace learning from their mistakes and recognise this as the key aspect for improvement;
  • develop resilience, independence and self confidence;
  • learn about themselves and conquer their fears;
  • learn to work effectively as part of a team and independently;
  • embrace working with the local community in order to develop and improve the local environment and reduce carbon footprints. 



At St. Francis de Sales, opportunities for learning beyond the classroom are interwoven throughout our curriculum. Teachers actively seek opportunities to teach outside of the classroom as we recognise the benefits of learning in a wide range of environments ensuring we present pupils with the best possible opportunities to grow. We present pupils with the opportunity to learn in a more diverse manner and environment in a variety of ways including:


  • Specific Learning Outside the Classroom focus weeks which take place once every half term which involves each year group ensuring at least one lesson within their timetable is taught outside of the classroom giving more context to learning; 
  • Individual pupil 'Activity Passports' which challenge pupils to complete 12 challenges each year they are in our school based on activities which can be learnt outside of the classroom environment; 
  • Trips and specialist in-house workshops to enrich classroom learning;
  • Residentials which enable pupils to learn and explore in a variety of new environments and put learning into context and develop independence and resilience;
  • An 'Eco Warriors' council to develop our role in improving the environment and reducing carbon footprint; 
  • Unstructured play ('Play Pod') during lunch times provides and environment to develop creativity, confidence, resilience and social skills.

What is the 'Activity Passport'?


PlayPod - a Whole School creative and enhancing way to spend lunch time.

This film highlights how we use our PlayPod at lunchtimes. All children benefit from this experience everyday; developing knowledge, skills and understanding in cooperation, creativity, communication, risk management, sharing, patience and resilience.The pupils share their thoughts and opinions on the impact of 'PlayPod'.

Siiiii! Barcelona!

Global Scholars investigate the River Mersey!


Western Approaches

Our trip to Derby house saw us step into the shoes of some of the greatest Britons to ever live! We glimpsed top secret documents, machines that monitored enemy convoys and even saw the phone that connected straight to Churchill's famous war rooms in London.


At St. Francis de Sales, we assess the impact of our intent and implementation in order to help us refine and adapt our planning and as a result improve the quality of teaching and learning.


We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

  • Pupil voice is taken each term in order to gauge the enjoyment pupils have when learning beyond the classroom as well as evaluating the impact it has on pupil understanding across curriculum areas; 
  • Teacher voice is obtained annually through staff questionnaires, alongside informal meetings and discussions which take place throughout the year; 
  • Work reviews take place on a termly basis in order to evaluate the teaching taking place outside of the classroom environment and ensure their is cohesion across each year group; 
  • Annual impact reviews are completed by the subject lead in order to evaluate the quality of teaching and learning which takes place beyond the classroom across the curriculum in order to help adapt and refine planning which, in turn, improves the quality of teaching and learning. 


Impact Presentation 


This presentation shows the key aspects of our "Golden Threads" and how pupils leave Year 6 ready to challenge themselves and overcome the challenges they may face.