SCIENCE teachers from across Scotland spent time in South Ayrshire to learn more about how outdoor learning can help educate school pupils. The two day course was arranged by Raising Aspirations in Education (RAiSE) and education chiefs at the Scottish Government.

Jenn McEwan, RAiSE South Ayrshire primary science development officer (PSDO), collaborated with the Culzean Country Park Ranger Service, South Ayrshire Council’s Outdoor Learning Centre and Dolphin House’s outdoor learning instructors to form the bespoke event.

She said: “The sessions were designed to inspire fellow PSDOs to consider how their local resources could be used to develop engaging and motivating STEM opportunities for practitioners in their regions.”

One of the sessions was focused around Culzean’s education pond, a constructed feature which has been successfully reclaimed by nature. National Trust for Scotland Countryside Ranger, Karen Gardiner demonstrated how learners of different levels could study biodiversity, freshwater ecosystems and lifecycles on the site. She then explained that the pond is known for its great crested newts which she said were an excellent indicator that the pond was pollution-free.

Neil Smith, Instructor at Dolphin House Outdoor Education Centre, said: “Quality taught science needs to link with other subjects. STEM brings different disciplines together, but I believe that outdoor learning has the power to link even more subject, as well as engage learners and contribute to raising attainment for all in schools.”