Whitepaper: The Outdoor Environment in Secondary School

Understanding nature deficit and environmental citizenship at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4

We are at a crucial tipping point when it comes to the well­being and happiness of our children. Obesity and depression are on the up, and young people’s sense of belonging to a community is diminishing. More and more young people are locking themselves away with only televisions and game stations for company. As a nation, we no longer seem to value the once “great” outdoors, and our children are growing up estranged from the natural world.

This change in lifestyle has lead to what the National Trust referred to as ’Nature Deficit‘ or the absence of nature in young people’s lives. This report published November 2013 by The Learning Escape, seeks to discuss the impact of nature deficit on adolescents (11­-16 year olds). It looks at every aspect of a child’s life, and address the long­term benefits of getting secondary school children off the couch and outside. Drawing on many of the themes of our previous report, The Outdoor Environment: How can our children learn to care about their futures?, it explores the idea that the great outdoors not only improves the quality of life for young people, but also improves their ability to learn and become valued, integrated members of society.

Download 'The Outdoor Environment in Secondary School'

Resources for Educators

To support the report, we have drawn together resources, teaching aids, curriculum guides, lesson plans, activities and helpful links.