Ben Fogle champions the outdoors saying we need fewer exams in education

Following the announcement that the government in the UK has set out plans to bring in national tests for seven-year-olds, Ben Fogle has recently spoken out in disagreement of the plans, saying that fewer exams, and more time in the outdoors should be the way forward.

Ben Fogle out in the outdoors near Outdoor Adventure.

Ben Fogle spoke about how being in the wilderness and enjoying the outdoors rescued him after not being the kind of pupil who was a good studier, or good at sitting exams. Neither were the kind of thing that were for him, and there is a huge amount of people who can relate to this. When speaking about the issue in the Guardian, Ben spoke about how being outdoors, and doing outdoorsy things filled him with the confidence he’d lacked and made him feel comfortable, which, in the end allowed him to grow and flourish into the man he is today.

Ben added: “There is a natural simplicity to nature; it is far more tactile and tangible than the classroom. It’s a leveler; it strengthened my character and set me back on track.”

Here at Outdoor Adventure, we know exactly where Ben is coming from, from a personal perspective as well as seeing many like-minded young people who visit us here at our Centre. And so you can see why Ben is such a supporter for the focus of attention to be less on pumping cash into exams, and more about switching attentions to wellbeing and encouraging our younger generations to connect with the natural world. As an outdoor adventure activities company, we couldn’t agree more, after seeing the encouraging effects it has on young people.

Don’t end exams

There’s no suggestion that Ben is looking to see exams scrapped in schools, rather that we should, as a country, be looking into different options that allow our younger generations to explore and discover what’s around them in the outdoors, like our school residential trips!


Evidence reinforcement

What’s great is the fact that there is evidence that backs up Ben’s ideas, highlighting how connecting with nature really works. Free play in the outdoors is beneficial for improving self-awareness, aids social and emotional development, as well as making children more co-operative. Research from the American Medical Association in 2005 cited that: “Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors.”

Ben went on to finish saying that: “I want an education system that works inside out. The outdoors becomes a weekly topic – encompassing geography, environment, resourcefulness, home economics, science, and maths – undertaken outside. Classes could be in an inner-city park, scrubland or garden.”

Adding: “As my own children step on to the conveyor belt, I am determined to give them a rounded education. I am in a fortunate position to share some of the wonders of the wilderness with my own kids. But we all have a responsibility to ensure every child has access to the same life-enhancing opportunities. The government should think long and hard before launching another budget-sapping exam and think about investing in the health and wellbeing of future generations.”

Image courtesy of benfogle/Instagram.