Outdoor Learning in Nature Fund - Round 1 - Information for Applicants
For reference only - fund closed for applications
Outdoor Learning in Nature Fund - Information for Applicants
Outdoor learning can be important in supporting attainment, improving skills and confidence and physical and mental health, and stimulating a life-long passion for nature and heritage. The development of outdoor learning practice is a key step identified in the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Challenge and Route Map to 2020.
Places for Outdoor learning
We believe that every young person should have the right to regular, frequent, structured and progressive outdoor learning experiences, including a range of opportunities to experience Scotland’s nature and landscapes, to learn more about them and how they are looked after – what we have called “a progression model of place-based learning”
A progression model of place-based learning
National Parks, Nature Reserves and World Heritage Sites
Nearby countryside, forest and coast
Local parks and greenspace within walking distance
Home garden/yard, school grounds
Nursery, primary and secondary schools have a key role in implementing this progression model. To help address social exclusion, some young people with specific needs may benefit from similar experiences through projects outwith school settings which develop nature-based employability skills, increase confidence and improve health. There is also growing interest in promoting intergenerational activity, which might include learning through outdoor play.
The aim of this Fund is to support more young people to have regular, frequent, structured and progressive outdoor learning experiences.
This is a competitive Fund. We are seeking proposals which support outdoor learning activity in Tiers 2, 3 and 4 of the place-based progression model, namely:
- Tier 2 - the regular use of local parks and greenspace for outdoor learning by schools or groups.
- Tier 3 - occasional visits for outdoor learning to nearby countryside, forest or coast planned to complement more frequent use of the school grounds, local parks and greenspace
- Tier 4 - opportunities to experience some of Scotland’s “special places” of national and international importance for their nature or landscape, such as National Nature Reserves, National Scenic Areas, National Parks or World Heritage Sites.
We invite applications for 2 years, aligned to the academic years 2018/19 and 2019/20. The greatest priority for our funding will be given to Tier 2 activity which supports one or more of the following:
- Learning in Local Greenspace Project. The Learning in Local Greenspace project aims to help 100 schools serving the most disadvantaged areas of Scotland to get their pupils learning outdoors on a regular and frequent basis. This will be achieved by improving the access to and quality of a local greenspace and building confidence in teachers to take learning outdoors.
- embedding the use of Beyond Your Boundary more generally. The Beyond Your Boundary resource will help you to find, access, use and improve your local greenspace and to spread and embed learning in local greenspace in your establishment.
- work with disadvantaged young people outwith the school setting
We will consider projects that develop the progression model to Tier 3 and 4 activity where this will complement on-going or proposed Tier 2 activity.
While we would expect to see links in the project proposals between Tier 2, 3 and 4 activity with Tier 1 activity, we are unable to support Tier 1 activity through this Fund.
What we want to fund
- focus on young people (3-26 years) from the most deprived areas and/or disadvantaged backgrounds.
Schools must be either wholly or partly located within the 20% most disadvantaged areas of Scotland (as determined using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016 or have 40% or more of their pupils attending from these areas (determined using the final column in School Contact Details). Non-school projects must involve young people from the 20% most deprived areas (as determined using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016).
Disadvantaged backgrounds refers to those with poor physical or mental health, or those who are experiencing exclusion through their disability or ethnicity.
- increase young people’s contact with, and interest in, the natural environment through the progression model
- create a legacy or aim to be self-sustaining beyond the project duration, for example by building capacity among teachers, educators and/or youth leaders; and embedding outdoor learning in the school or similar setting
- build in monitoring and evaluation of outdoor learning practice as a planned and integral part of the project (based on information gathered from project organisers, teachers/youth leaders and participants i.e. young people)
- help close the attainment gap through the Curriculum for Excellence; contribute to school improvement planning; support and encourage school senior leadership; provide Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL); foster a cluster wide approach, etc.
- demonstrate innovative and creative partnership approaches - where two or more organisations, for example NGOs, community groups and/or formal education sector, work together to deliver a project (applications should be submitted by an identified lead partner, with details provided of the costed activities to be delivered by the other partners)
Monitoring and Evaluation
We expect you to tell us in your application how you will measure the success of your project, and what evidence you will gather to demonstrate this success. You should ensure that your planned evaluation demonstrates if your project aims and outcomes have been achieved. Please be as specific as possible about what you will monitor, how you will do it and when you will do it.
As well as reporting on the numbers of young people, teachers and leaders involved in the project, we expect you to provide information on:
- how they have benefitted (e.g. young people’s contact with and interest in the natural environment; teacher / leader confidence in taking learning outdoors)
- developing and implementing the progression model of place-based learning
- the success of embedding outdoor learning in your programme
Other aspects that could be reported on, if applicable to your project, include:
- improvements in young people’s educational attainment
- young people’s nature-based employability skills
- young people’s health and well-being
- developing partnership approaches
- building inter-generational relationships
We welcome creative, as well as effective, ways of gathering feedback from project participants. For further advice about evaluation, you may want to look at resources provided by Evaluation Support Scotland, particularly the Weaver’s triangle and Evaluating the Outdoor Experience: a toolkit for practitioners.
Who can apply?
- constituted organisations, schools, registered charities
- partnerships and organisations working in collaboration with others
What will we fund?
- staff costs (covers salaries, National Insurance, Employee Pension Contributions)
- organisational costs at fixed rate of 15% of staff costs (covers office accommodation and equipment, support staff services, project staff training)
- project staff travel and subsistence (covers staff and any volunteers supporting delivery of the project activities; excludes participants)
- project evaluation (additional costs for measuring success and evaluating the project; excludes project staff costs)
- equipment to deliver outdoor learning activities; resources to improve the amenity or biodiversity value of local parks and greenspace for outdoor learning activities
- travel for Tier 3 and 4 activity where it has been designed to build-on and complement Tier 2 activity
- irrecoverable VAT
What won’t we fund?
- activities in school grounds
- courses run and set within residential centres
- activities benefitting people that do not live in Scotland
- activities not primarily focused on people up to 26 years
- outdoor recreation and volunteering activity which is not directly connected to the outdoor learning activity
How much funding is available?
We expect to have a budget of £600k over the 2 years of the Fund. Depending on the budget allocated in the first round, and the extent to which it is delivering against the target of 100 schools for the Learning in Local Greenspace Project and other Tier 2 activity, we may open for a further round in early 2019 for projects delivering in the 2019-20 academic year.
We are looking for projects costed between £10,000 and £100,000. Projects will require match funding, which will need to be confirmed prior to the start of the project.
We normally fund up to 50% of project costs. Thus, we expect our funding levels to be in the £5,000 to £50,000 range. We may consider a higher intervention rate for high scoring applications that might not otherwise proceed (e.g. due to match funding issues).
Open to applications: to 30 April 2018
Application decisions: end May 2018
Funding offers issued: June 2018
Project start date: start of 2018/19 academic year
Project end date: end of 2019/20 academic year
For applications involving new outdoor learning activities (e.g. with a different school or group; using a different local park or greenspace), and where staff time is needed to plan these activities before the start of the 2018/19 academic year, NatureScot may agree to a project start date from 1 July 2018. Projects must submit final project evaluation report by 31 August 2020 at the latest.
The Heritage Lottery Fund supports projects that make a lasting difference for heritage, people, and communities. The HLF would welcome enquiries from projects applying to NatureScot’s Outdoor Learning in Nature Fund. Please note the project would need to achieve HLF outcomes. They recommend that potential applicants use their Enquiry Form to get advice on the likelihood of being funded and the most appropriate grant programme to apply to. HLF grant programmes include:
- Sharing Heritage (£3,000 - £10,000)
- Our Heritage (£10,000 - £100,000)
- Young Roots (£10,000 - £50,000)
You can apply to these programmes at any time and your application will be assessed in eight weeks.
Other potential sources of funding:
- Travel grants (Cairngorms National Park Authority; Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority; Historic Environment Scotland)
Further information about other sources of funding for outdoor learning activity:
- Institute of Outdoor Learning
- Creative STAR Learning (information updated 6 monthly; others are added to their monthly newsletter)