The Adventure Learning Schools™ charity, based in Stockport, Manchester was formed in 2009 by Professor David Hopkins, formerly Chief Adviser on School Standards to the Secretary of State.
The Adventure Learning Schools approach provides a rich learning culture in which students not only meet and surpass high academic standards (especially in Literacy and Numeracy), but through the emphasis on adventure, increase their competence as learners, develop their personality and create increasingly effective learning environments for themselves as they move towards becoming citizens of our global world.
Adventure Learning Schools aim to create a network of schools where learning is not just enjoyable, but leads to genuine accomplishments, an appreciation of oneself, others and society. Learning occurs not just within classrooms but also in the external environment both wilderness and urban and is consistently infused by a spirit of adventure and enquiry.
There are currently three networks of Adventure Learning Schools™ in The North West of England, Cornwall and Argyll and Bute. Schools in these networks meet to share best practice and benefit from regional workshops. Further networks of four or more schools may wish to consider accreditation and support from ALS.
Through adventure and enquiry students learn how to take initiative in planning journeys into the wilderness and urban environments, how to work with others to initiate and carry out co-operative tasks and practice building hypotheses and theories and then use evidence to test them.
As these students master information and skills, the result of each learning experience is not only the content they learn but also the greater ability they acquire to approach future learning tasks with confidence.
The culture is not only comprehensive and inclusive, but also leads to the acquisition of a range of learning?skills and aptitudes, genuine accomplishment and an appreciation of oneself and others within a global context.
Adventure Learning Schools provide a more systemic and far-reaching application of the principles of learning through adventure than has been tried to date. Working with schools and the Local Authority in Cumbria who are providing the initial setting for this new model of schooling.
Learning through adventure has a proven track record in developing just those personal qualities – independence, problem solving ability, discipline, team working and confidence – which are in demand in the modern workplace and underpin successful social development.
Furthermore, learning through adventure provides a reliable means for developing a distinctive school ethos, supportive of personal development, the achieving of high standards and encouraging student and parental choice.
Accredited Adventure Learning Schools
In order to be recognised as an Adventure Learning School a school will need to adopt a ‘whole school design’ based on active learning principles. The framework is designed to be specific and replicable in so?far as it contains the best of current knowledge of what makes for an effective school but then infuses it with a ‘wilderness’ approach to learning and experience that embraces both urban and adventurous outdoor settings.