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To the beach! College launching new outdoor training courses

East Coast College will be offering a training course for school and nursery teachers on the beach at Lowestoft from this spring. From left to right: Stuart Rimmer, CEO East Coast College, Holly Chase, assistant principal, and, Julie Southgate, beach school practitioner. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

East Coast College will be offering a training course for school and nursery teachers on the beach at Lowestoft from this spring. From left to right: Stuart Rimmer, CEO East Coast College, Holly Chase, assistant principal, and, Julie Southgate, beach school practitioner. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

It's time to take learning out of the classroom and on to the beach, according to an East Anglian college.

East Coast College will be embracing the sea air and sprawling sands of its local beaches in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft on new “Beach School” training courses for early years and school teachers.

The college took inspiration from a staff development trip to Europe where they learned about alternative teaching methods popular on the continent, including outdoor learning.

The training courses – which will begin in April – will train teachers to use the natural environment to support their students.

Holly Chase, assistant principal at East Coast College, said the concept of outdoor learning could also help to address child health issues such as rising levels of obesity and an increase in mental health problems, as well as the trend of increased screen use among children.

East Coast College will be offering a training course for school and nursery teachers on the beach at Lowestoft from this spring. From left to right: Julie Southgate, beach school practitioner, Stuart Rimmer, CEO East Coast College, and, Holly Chase, assistant principal, Picture: Ella WilkinsonEast Coast College will be offering a training course for school and nursery teachers on the beach at Lowestoft from this spring. From left to right: Julie Southgate, beach school practitioner, Stuart Rimmer, CEO East Coast College, and, Holly Chase, assistant principal, Picture: Ella Wilkinson

“Getting back to nature could help. It is a win-win situation, but we need to get more people thinking about it that way,” she said.

“This is following on from a staff professional development trip to Italy and Finland, looking at new ways to education children. Their alternative forms of education are quite exciting and their children have very good results.

“We have the beautiful Norfolk and Suffolk coast, a great resource for learning, so it is time to get out of the classroom.”

Ms Chase said the college had been inundated with enquiries about the Beach School courses, which she believes are among the first of their kind in the UK.

Children from East Coast College learning outdoors on the beach.Children from East Coast College learning outdoors on the beach.

“We are trail-blazing,” she said. “It is a big step forward and the more people we can educate the bigger the impact we can have on education.”

She added that, while the courses would be beach-based at first, they could extend further afield – and they will be held outside whatever the weather.

East Coast College principal Stuart Rimmer said: “East Coast College are very proud of this innovative and unique offer. Our beaches in Great Yarmouth and Waveney are beautiful and far less boring than traditional classrooms. We have a mission to transform learning in nurseries, primary and secondary schools and this is a step towards this goal.”

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