Preservation of Learning Outside the Primary Classroom; A comparison of policy and practice in Danish udeskole (outdoor school) and English primary outdoor education.

This paper explores and advocates the benefits of incorporating outdoor education found in Danish udeskole into primary  education practice in England by evaluating the outdoor education policies of the respective countries.  Using an auto-ethnographical approach we use our experiences of the Danish folkskole (weekly schools) and English primary school to explore the different approaches in udeskole’s (outdoor schools) and English primary school outdoor education provision.  We compare the different practices in each country and contrast the less constrained approach in udeskole, recognising the wider curriculum provision and more liberated activity based approaches to the more conservative approaches in primary schools which centre more on the Physical Education (PE) curriculum than adventure learning across a whole curriculum.  Comparing the national policies toward outdoor education in  the two countries we find the national policies towards outdoor education to be similar.  However the practice facilitated by broader general education policies in Denmark, allowing local management of the curriculum under school boards, offers much greater scope for practitioners to explore good practice.  In England we find, perhaps inadvertently, the concerns for satisfying a National Curriculum based inspection regime, inhibits the scope and practices in English outdoor education.  We advocate that by linking outdoor activities to the National Curriculum by creative outdoor education and by using creative practices English primary education can emulate the good practice in the Danish udeskole.