Adventurous ActivitiesThis website provides information and advice to support the planning, delivery and assessment of Adventurous activities. It should be considered in conjunction with the information provided on the (OEAP) Outdoor Learning Cards training and CD.

The Outdoor Learning Cards have been used very successfully on both KS 2 and 3. As schools embed these cards more fully into their plans, the majority of pupils leaving KS 2 should be able to:

  • Overcome challenges of a physical and problem-solving nature with a partner or in a small group
  • Demonstrate the skills necessary for the activities they have undertaken, e.g. reading a compass, tying a rope or constructing a shelter
  • Identify why they should be mindful of their own and others' safety and how to respect the environment
  • Plan and evaluate their individual or group responses using key words related to their activities
  • Use what they find out to plan how to improve their next attempts
  • Apply their skills in familiar and unfamiliar environments.


The programme of study for Key Stage 2 Adventurous activity states that pupils should be taught to develop skills of water safety and personal survival.  However if pupils leave KS 2 unable to swim unaided and with limited water safety and personal survival skills, secondary schools must plan to overcome this.

Adventurous activities is a statutory area of experience and pupils should be taught through specific activities selected by the school and pupils, spending enough time on any one activity to make progress in that activity.

Key Stage 3 plans should provide a broad and balanced curriculum that builds on the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired at Key Stage 2. Through their Adventurous activities, pupils plan, practice and improve their performance so that they are able to perform consistently well. As confidence grows, so does their ability to take part in activities that become technically more demanding. They learn the benefits of working with others to strengthen a team or partnership while outwitting others, planning a journey or practising for a performance. They understand that engaging in activities can be beneficial to their health and fitness and take greater responsibility for their own well-being.

Learning outdoors provides opportunities for the development of physical skills in new, sometimes unfamiliar, and often challenging environments.  Ever present is the need to understand and respect the natural environment and issues such as conservation and sustainable development.

The activities might include sports of the adventurous kind, suchAdventurous Activities as canoeing, climbing, mountain-biking,orienteering, personal survival, sailing, water safety and windsurfing.  Others might have a recreational focus such as journeying. This resource suggests that, for activities to be motivating, problem-solving and initiative challenges should be incorporatedinto all adventurous activities, at an appropriate stage.

In Wales, Adventurous activity is increasingly recognised as an important area and is promoted in many key strategy/policy documents. This strategic drive will help schools make a strong case for an increased profile of Adventurous activities. See Adventurous activities making the case, making the links for more information.

Throughout this website and accompanying training there is extensive reference to the OEAP publication High Quality Outdoor Education (2008) to help you to:

  • Create a vision for Adventurous activities
  • Make that vision a reality
  • Inspire young people to learn and achieve
  • Help young people to learn and achieve.  


The curriculum revisions in 2008 encouraged schools to be more imaginative and innovative in the ways they deliver the statutory curriculum. These changes could include moving away from a rigid hourly timetable, combining the teaching of one or more subjects in a thematic way, or using a series of whole days (in or out of school) to focus on a particular topic (Making the Most of Learning, p7, 2008). This could be particularly effective with Adventurous activities and Geography, PSE, etc.

Wales can boast some of the most beautiful open spaces in the UK, if not the world.  By taking part in Adventurous activities pupils can develop:

  • An understanding and respect for the environment and Welsh heritage
  • Awareness of the responsibility to behave in a sustainable way
  • A lifelong passion for physical activity and the outdoors, using their local environment for active recreation, helping to achieve the vision laid out in the WAG's 'Creating an active Wales', (2009).


Adventurous activities can:

  • Enhance personal, social and emotional skills
  • Increase health, fitness and well-being,
  • Enhance key skills such as thinking and communication
  • Motivate and interest all pupils
  • Empower pupils to take responsibility for their own learning