Barry Howard: Schools' Work

ABOVE: Working with a local Junior school 

RIGHT: Instructor working with pupils from The King John School, Thundersley on a survival programme for Years 7-9.

I am now taking bookings for 2019-into-2020. 60% of that academic year ('19-'20) is booked already (as of 10 Jan '19.

My specialist outdoor-learning projects for schools went national in August 2006. As at September 2016 I have worked with, leading, managing, and advising  outdoor programmes in almost 150 schools mainly, but not exclusively, across Essex from Rainham and Havering in the west to the Suffolk in the north, south to Benfleet and east as far as Shoebury and Asheldham.

In the time spent  with schools, I'm mostly involved in group/class work - all outdoors, usually curriculum-linked, and frequently as a result of year-upon-year experience with a particular class who have gotten to know the way I present the challenging courses.

The normal  route taken by schools to adopt a programme is to hire me in for a day or a series of days to undertake one of a number of different programmes, and then to use me one morning or one day per week for a year - or more -  to deliver themes eg 'Behind Enemy Lines' for a KS2 World War Project, or 'The Victorians'...outdoors. See below for the range of programmes. I'm running more and more courses for pupils of all ages with learning difficulties.

Having been a classroom teacher for 31 years is I guess some sort of qualification for getting to know what makes pupils 'tick' and this along with being a practiced deliverer of outdoor learning over the course of more than 45 years  - which has been under Ofsted scrutiny seven times in the last eight years, resulting in considerable praise and commendation - and spending time instructing with the military has enabled me to bring to a school / a project a vast amount of unique experience - add to this being a professional geographer, expeditionary, survival specialist, and mountaineer, and the permutations for presenting a quality, tailor-made, project for a school, are considerable.

And I'm still learning - everyday - I take nothing for granted, and am committed to sharing good practice with educators and outdoorsmen/women.

Just as an example of what one of my typical school year-upon-year projects might include, visit

For KS2 the following of my programmes have been taught recently in schools across Essex:

(In no particular order)

First Aid Course (St.John's Amb Young First Aider Award) 13 sessions

Environmental Studies15 sessions

Compass work, mapwork, and navigation:  5 sessions + 5 sessions (although it can be endless!)

Campcraft5 sessions

Survival Skills25 sessions

Rescue Skills: . 4 sessions

'Behind Enemy Lines'  5 sessions

Navigation:  5-10 sessions

Ancient Life: 5 sessions

'The Human Body' 3-4 sessions

Survival Scenario:   Approx 7 sessions

Problem solving: 3-8 sessions (although it can be endless!)

History Projects: Romans, Anglo Saxons, Vikings, Exploration, and archaeology. Duration: varies

Engineering & Science: from  bridges, shelters, and  gradients, to weather, water, and  geology. 

Geography: whole school project days/weeks: reference Lincewood Primary School Laindon, and Eversley Primary School, Pitsea.



Quite obviously there can be a 'mix-and-match' with some of the above.

Storytelling is a part of what I do, and an important part of the process of learning especially outdoors. 

Taster-courses are commonly requested, lasting usually a morning.

The weather plays its big part in that we are out whatever the conditions - save for thunder and/or lightning. We do though expect pupils to wear appropriate clothing.

We have an exceptionally high reputation for safety. Our risk-assessments are very finely tuned; should we state to a school that we do not think a course of action is safe, we will stand by that decision 100% based on our not-inconsiderable experience, knowledge, and skill in leading outdoors in all environmental conditions with a very wide range of age-groups, abilities, professions, and experience, across the UK and the world. We are very grateful that all but one or two schools consider our safety awareness to be paramount in what we do.

The aim of the sessions (each lasting about an hour) is to impart information, and understanding of - and hands on - working with 'process'. That is actually designing, and engineering/building their own structures (if it was that type of session), and working with others. Teaching this skill is part of the courses. Three things that teachers always require over and above the subject specific theme of the day are: listening to instructions, remembering instructions, carrying out instructions - these are imparted!

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