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RSPB teacher-training scheme to bring nature to life for West Midlands schoolchildren

Image: Children undertaking a bioblitz in their school grounds. Credit RSPB (rspb-images.com)

Up to 60 teachers from schools across Birmingham and the West Midlands are being given the chance to take part in a training programme that will encourage and empower them to take more of their teaching outdoors.

The Curriculum for Nature programme will support teachers to provide engaging and meaningful opportunities for 1,800 children to learn in greater depth about nature within their school grounds.

Year 1 and Year 4 primary school teachers are being offered a free place on a continuous professional development programme developed by the RSPB with support from The Association for Science Education. The course will tackle barriers that prevent more outdoor learning taking place, and support teachers to deliver curriculum-linked, nature-based sessions that encourage pupils to become active citizens in helping nature in their community.

The programme forms part of the Naturally Connected Communities Birmingham project. It is fully funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund [note 1] and will be delivered by the RSPB.

Charlotte Trigg, RSPB’s Birmingham Community Project Manager, said: “The Curriculum for Nature programme will give teachers more confidence and training to offer school children amazing, up-close moments with nature in their school grounds now and in the future. Our first connections with nature can be so memorable, so we hope that children in Birmingham and the West Midlands will be inspired to love and look after their local greenspaces.

Research shows that children who have a healthy connection to nature are more likely to benefit from higher achievement at school, better mental and physical health, emotional wellbeing, and develop stronger social skills. The RSPB’s ambition is to help more children across the country benefit from spending time outdoors discovering the natural world around them, and teachers have a key role to play in this.

“But we know that many teachers lack confidence and skills, as well as the time and resources, to plan and deliver meaningful outdoor curriculum learning. The Curriculum for Nature programme will support teachers on their journey to build more outdoor learning into their teaching, including providing them with everything they need for pupils to explore the wildlife and habitats of their school grounds and come up with a plan to create new and better homes for nature in their playgrounds.”

Teachers will experience monthly meeting points, engagement tasks and monthly support clinics over a six-month period from January to July 2022, and will be supported every step of the way by primary and outdoor education specialists from the RSPB.  

Recruitment into the programme is underway until January 10, with just 60 places available which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Teachers can find out more or reserve their place on the programme by emailing teachercpd@rspb.org.uk