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UK Govt Wants Kids To Head Outdoors

Last month, UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds launched #SummerOutdoors which will suggest free or low-cost options to keep children entertained and spark interest in character-building activities during the summer break. Children and families will be encouraged to explore the outdoors during the summer holidays, as a series of fun tips and events for kids happening across the country will be signposted each week.

It will run from 19th July to 26th August across Department for Education (DfE) social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) with following:

  • A weekly ‘top five things to do this week’, highlighting specific activities and more general tips on fun things to do outdoors over the summer
  • Daily promotion of activities, events, opportunities coming up either that week or over the summer holidays
  • Retweets of relevant content already being promoted by partners.

This comes after the Education Secretary has placed a greater emphasis on the development of character and resilience as young people grow up, setting out the 5 Foundations for Building Character in a speech in February. The development of ‘My Activity Passport’ for primary school children has been downloaded more than 43,000 times since December last year.

Hinds said, “I really want to inspire children and families to explore the outdoors and understand that keeping children entertained during the summer break does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Getting out and about – whether that is going on a walk, playing a sport or building a den – can bring a range of benefits, from families spending time together to keeping an active body and active mind.”

This summer campaign comes as he announced new steps to support schools identify opportunities that help their pupils build character and resilience. A new framework developed by school leaders and other experts will be published in the autumn and will include a series of benchmarking questions for schools to assess their delivery of character education.

In recognition of the work in schools to help young people build character and resilience, the DfE will be re-launching the Character Awards, which highlight innovative or outstanding programmes that develop a wide variety of positive character traits. Schools will be able to enter in October, ahead of the awards ceremony in March 2020.

Nominations will be considered in the following categories; school culture and ethos, curriculum and teaching, collaboration, a character champion or delivering against the 5 Foundations for Building Character.

The 5 Foundations encompass an extensive list of activities which, through teamwork, trying new things and opening minds, can help young people build character. They are:

  • Sport – which includes competitive sport and other activities, such as running, martial arts, swimming and purposeful recreational activities, such as rock climbing, hiking, orienteering, yoga or cycling.
  • Creativity – this involves all creative activities from coding, arts and crafts, writing, graphic design, film making and music composition.
  • Performing – activities could include dance, theatre and drama, musical performance, choir, debating or public speaking.
  • Volunteering & Membership – brings together teams, practical action in the service of others or groups, such as volunteering, getting involved in the #iwill campaign, litter-picking, fundraising, any structured youth programmes or uniformed groups like Guides, Scouts, Cadets and Duke of Edinburgh.
  • World of work – practical experience of the world of work, work experience or entrepreneurship. For primary age children, this may involve opportunities to meet role models from different jobs.
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