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What Do OFSTED Want To See In Your School Playground?

The Fundamental Outdoor Learning Opportunities OFSTED Want To See In Your School Playground

During inspections the outdoor area, and its fundamental learning opportunities, can often be bypassed in favour of showcasing the inside of a setting.

However, over the years there has been a positive promotion to incorporate outdoor learning into the curriculum and the results have been substantial.

Research shows that extending a child’s learning into the outdoors through a thoughtful and combined curriculum-based approach not only provides an impressive amount of benefits such as children feeling happier, healthier and wider participation, it has also shown to increase attainment, enhance motivation and engagement, whilst encouraging positive behaviour and supportive relationships.

children playing on playground surfacing

Head teachers should share their outdoor areas...


During the Council for Learning outside the Classroom Annual Conference in 2011, Robin Hammerton (senior Ofsted HMI) expressed that the 2008 Ofsted report Learning outside the Classroom, ‘was the most compelling piece of evidence he has ever seen because in all cases the learning was improved and in all cases the young people benefitted from the experience.’

It was encouraged that during an inspection, head teachers should share their outdoor areas and how the school are implementing and promoting learning outdoors. 

Children observing insects in a Bug Hotel

A balanced and broad curriculum...


Ofsted are keen to see schools providing a balanced and broad curriculum that supports children’s learning through progressive and experimental opportunities.

Consequently, this method of learning provides a deeper understanding to coincide with children’s developing knowledge and helps to put learning into context, whilst creating lasting and memorable moments.

Learning becomes so much more enjoyable for both children and teachers when taken outdoors!

Child jumping off a climbing frame taking safe risks

This is what OFSTED want to see... 


In relation to their education experience, a large percentage of children and adults will happily recall an outdoor memory over learning within an indoor classroom from reflecting about an inspirational residential trip, or the entire class getting drenched in a rainstorm during an outdoor scientific experiment in summer!

This is what Ofsted want to see - the hands on, creative curriculum that provides children with opportunities they may only ever get to experience through school.

Child balancing on trim trail equipment

Outdoor learning is not just to be used to enhance social and personal development, it should be utilised to create memorable and long term learning through the application of well-planned lessons.

Such changes will contribute to bringing children’s learning to life and establishing a foundation for their futures.

If you’d like to transform your outdoor learning environment to improve your children’s educational play experience, please Contact Us for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our expert playground consultants.

We have a fantastic range of school playground equipment and playground surfacing solutions, that fully support the curriculum outdoors.

Children participating in forest school activities in an outdoor classroom