Outdoor Education Revisited

A couple of weeks ago I posted a rant about the death of outdoor education, and questioned the use of month long ‘outdoor holidays’ for at risk teenagers. I stated my view that given a choice between mainstream outdoor education, which is part of the national curriculum, I think a residential trip is covered in Key Stage 3, or funding holidays or extended ‘therapy’ courses that include 2 instructors/carers to one child, that I would perfer that mainstream outdoor education maintain its funding.

Interestingly the teachers though I was right, but a reader from within the industry thought I was wrong. I have just read a great piece on UKC, that originated from rock and ice. It is a great and pertinent story, a case study if you like of one one kid, Lamount’s story of choices you make.

I find it interesting as a an Field Studies Council review of outdoor Outdoor Learning says that.

The evidence base for cognitive and physical/behavioural benefits is less strong than for affective and interpersonal/social outcomes.

Another study entitled, The Effectiveness of Wilderness Adventure Therapy Programs for Young People Involved in the Juvenile Justice System, that compared an outdoor education program to group home programmes, found no significant difference in recividism or in laymens terms they habitally relapse to crime.

I did find a good study that supports the notion that one program in the US had a significant effect on the reoffending of Juvenile Sex Offenders, interestingly though only for ‘serious sex offences’, when compared to other specailised programs and youth prisons. Regardless of this effect on treatment between 5 and 8 participants were rearrested for violent sex offences within three years.

Anyway I only made a quick search though take my findings with a pinch of salt. I have yet to find a good british study that looks at reoffending rates based on outdoor education programs versus standard youth offending prisons, that also takes into account the cost-benefit of such programs.

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