Posted on 20th July 2023
Anderton Centre Launches National Outdoor Learning Award (NOLA)

After the success of a recent pilot, the Anderton Centre is now including the National Outdoor Learning Award as part of all its school residentials. St Peter’s  Primary School joined us for a 3-day, 2-night residential and as part of their stay completed the NOLA  award as a trial. Pete Wright (Head teacher, St Peter’s CE Primary School) said “the award is very worthwhile, and we would recommend it. The NOLA Award ‘gently forces’ young people to reflect on their experiences during the course of their stay.

The National Outdoor Learning Award scheme (NOLA) recognises and captures the personal development outcomes of participants during a residential. NOLA assists learners to develop high levels of motivation, esteem, skill, knowledge, and desire to learn. NOLA provides evidence of development in three areas – self, others, and the environment. Achieving the NOLA award is not a series of hoops to jump through but a model for change and a model of change. As a model for change, it has the capacity to help us develop our outdoor professional practice and as a model of change it has the possibility to evidence (capture) and celebrates the impact of outdoor learning

Dr Roger Hopper designed and first used the concepts of the NOLA award while working at a Pupil Referral Unit (Horizons, 2008). The NOLA award is based upon long standing research into Outdoor learning’s impact on personal development and continued to be developed by trialling it in practice within a Special Needs School (Horizon, 2011). One of the main aims of the NOLA award is to capture and celebrate the personal and social change created by outdoor learning, in a measurable manner. The desire to quantify a primarily qualitative change was born out of countless times of not being able to evidence developments. In comparison to mainstream curricula Outdoor learning therefore appeared ineffective. The current format of the NOLA award and resources, were developed by Dr Hopper, with support from Heatree Activity Centre. A national steering group was formed in 2014 to further the direction of the award and a link with IOL created which has led to NOLA being available as a FREE resource from 2018 for all involved in outdoor learning.

The Anderton Centre will now include the delivery of the National Outdoor Learning Award with all residential stays of more than one night. This accreditation further quantifies the positives gained from residential experiences. There will be no additional cost to include NOLA as part of your school booking. The Anderton Centre is proud to be leading the way in delivering high-quality outdoor experiences for all its visitors.

To learn more about NOLA, contact our Lead Education Instructor David Buddell