School Grounds

The easiest first step to taking pupils outdoors is in your own school grounds. Across the UK more than half of all outdoor learning takes place within school grounds. 

Here are some resources to assist with developing your School Grounds:

Beautiful Scotland

Beautiful Scotland is a community environmental improvement campaign run by Keep Scotland Beautiful in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society under the Britain in Bloom campaign. The programme supports community groups across Scotland to improve their local environment. Many Beautiful Scotland groups work with  local schools.

Get involved with your local Beautiful Scotland group.

Garden For Life Resources

The Garden for Life Forum is a partnership of Scottish environmental organisations working together to increase enjoyment and understanding of wildlife in gardens. The forum has produced seven guides on gardening to get you started.

Download Garden For Life resources.

Place Standard Tool - How Good is Our Place?

The Place Standard Tool provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place. It allows you to think about both physical elements of a place (buildings, spaces, and transport links) and social aspects (for example whether people feel they have a say in decision making). A useful tool for older pupils to assess their School Grounds.

Get started with the Place Standard Tool

School Grounds I Spy

Have a look for each of these things in your School Grounds throughout the month of June. How many can you find?

Play I Spy in your school grounds

BBC Terrific Scientific - Trees Investigation

As part of the BBC science campaign Terrific Scientific, this investigation will help your pupils to think and work like a scientist, investigating why carbon storage is important through the context of trees in their school grounds.

Take part in the BBC Terrific Scientific Trees Investigation.

Grounds for Learning – Outdoor Lesson Plans

Grounds for Learning helps children to connect with nature, become more active, learn outdoors, develop social skills and have fun. 

Browse hundreds of outdoor lesson ideas for outdoor learning, across all stages, many closely linked to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Grounds for Learning - Teaching Maths Outdoors

These resources look at how mathematical thinking and learning mathematical skills can be explored outdoors and is packed with curriculum-linked activities.

Download resources and get outside!

RHS Campaign for School Gardening - Build a Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

A popular activity with pupils, build a functioning greenhouse from plastic bottles. A great example of Waste Minimisation and plenty of opportunity for curricular links to maths and design. 

Download instructions to make your own Plastic Bottle Greenhouse.

International School Grounds Month Activity Guide

International School Grounds Month is an annual celebration of school grounds around the world in May. This Guide is full of ideas to get the most out of your grounds, and was written by 51 organisations from 21 countries.

Download the International School Grounds Month Activity Guide.

Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society Education
The RCHS provides lectures, workshops, sharing learning, providing advice, information and practical demonstrations on gardening for young people and educators.

Find out more about RCHS education.

Scottish Wildlife Trust - 30 Days Wild

Do something wild every day throughout June: that’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness. Sign up to receive a pack of wild goodies, plus lots of ideas to inspire you to go wild with your class.

Go wild with the Scottish Wildlife Trust

Woodland Trust - Outdoor Learning Pack

This outdoor learning pack for primary school teachers is full of ideas to help teachers deliver outdoor learning in a way that is aligned to Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence and contains 28 stand-alone activities.

Download the pack and get outside

Creative STAR Learning

Inside these pages are lots of practical ideas about learning and playing outdoors including blogs, lesson suggestions and grant information. Written by Juliet Robertson, author of the books Messy Maths and Dirty Teaching: A Beginner's Guide to Learning Outdoors.

Visit Creative STAR learning.

Learning Through Landscapes - Good School Playground Guide

This free guide explores the links between school grounds and children’s health, wellbeing and learning and offers practical advice on how to develop the best school playgrounds.

Download the Good School Playground Guide

All About School Grounds

Recent research by Learning Through Landscapes finds that well designed school grounds can improve behaviour, reduce bullying and cut vandalism. Improving your school’s outdoor space enhances pupils' self-esteem and improves both attainment and attitudes towards learning

Developing your grounds provides opportunities for parents and community members to get involved with the school and contribute their time and skills. Taking charge of developing their own space gives young people a sense of belonging which reduces vandalism.  The act of regenerating school grounds is good for pupils, giving them on-the-job experience of crucial life skills such as design, budgeting, sourcing and project-management, and encourages responsibility for their surroundings.

On top of all these benefits, developing your school grounds supports pupils’ entitlement to Learning for Sustainability - 'a whole school approach that enables the school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable world.'  Learning outdoors allows pupils to take responsibility for both themselves and for their learning in ways that are different to learning indoors.

School Grounds Case Studies


Carstairs Primary School

Carstairs Primary School's outdoor learning day is an excellent example of using School Grounds for learning.  Read more.

Cadder Primary School

Pupils at Cadder Primary School chose School Grounds as one of their Eco-Schools topics and shared their work with us as part of their most recent Green Flag Award application. Read more.

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