Outdoor Learning is a Great Leveller: Linking in Buckinghamshire


Practical outdoor activities are a great leveller; working together out of doors brings groups together and emphasises the shared skills and experience of the students and the contribution they can make to their environment, as Dr Challoner’s Grammar School and Stony Dean School have shown in their linking over the last few years.  The schools have been linking since 2017.  School Linking supports both schools’ shared emphasis on preparing their students for adulthood, for their future community and working lives;  senior leaders fully support the initiative.

The project focused on working with the Town Council and Amersham in Bloom; bulbs and trees were planted, there was collaborative construction and even time to visit the climbing wall;  everyone had a great time.  Georgia, Tyler and Jack shared what they learnt from the link:  “Our experience of the project enabled us to meet new people and to develop our social skills. We learnt how to work well together in a team in outdoor activities, which also helped us to understand what is involved in some of the tasks that the Council undertakes. Lastly, and importantly, we made new friendships, had fun and enjoyed ourselves very much” and the students made a video about the link.

This link has been very successful in overcoming prejudices students have about their peers from the other school. It has increased their understanding of the role the Town Council has in the community and how they and their schools can contribute to the town. Students have gained in confidence and take pride in the contribution they have made to the town and its environment.  Led by Buckinghamshire County Council and supported by TLN, the Buckinghamshire Schools Linking Programme has been running since 2009; we feel this is an amazing project and without exception it has never failed to produce wonderful outcomes for our pupils, teachers, schools and communities. We are looking into ways of developing this further next year.


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Yvette Thomas and Carol Stottor