OAA – PE that is often forgotten about

Today I’m going to bring you something that I discovered today at Uni called OAA.

OAA stands for Outdoor Adventurous Activities, and can often be mistakenly called Outdoor Pursuits, or simply Outdoor Education. It is one of the 6 strands that exist in the Key Stage 2 framework, the others being: Gymnastics, Dance, Swimming, Athletics, and Games. Games, Gymnastics and Dance are all compulsory so have to be taught, but teachers also only have to teach 2 of the other 3. Most schools usually choose Swimming and Athletics, so OAA is often either ignored completely, or done at the end of the year after SATs in Year 6 with no build up to it.

Outdoor Education can be defined as any aspect of environmental or field study often carried out of the classroom. Examples of this could be Forest Schools such as Moors Valley in Dorset (well worth a visit if you’re in the area), or projects in the community. An example my lecturer talked about was when she taught in a school, they had a National Trust footpath running through, so the class ‘adopted’ the footpath and maintained it. These can often be facilitated by a teacher and can still be in the school premises

Outdoor Pursuits are carried out off site and must be facilitated by a specially trained instructor. These activities could include: canoeing, raft building, rock climbing, abseiling, caving or trekking. These are often carried out on Residential visits. These can be expensive and have large risk assessments so care must be taken when planning these visits..

Despite it’s name, OAA may not necessarily have to be carried out outside the classroom, although possible examples could include orienteering. OAA aims to develop problem-solving skills and could include organising children in height order without talking, which can be done in a school hall or even in the classroom itself. This means it that is a cheaper to organise as it doesn’t require specialist instructors.

If anyone has any interesting ideas regarding OAA activities, feel free to comment.


3 thoughts on “OAA – PE that is often forgotten about

  1. I am currently writing a dissertation on this topic and would be interested in your views on why OAA is often left out of the curriculum until after SATs and what happens to children who can’t go on residential, do they miss out on this compulsory area of PE.

    1. Hi Clare, thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

      Well it varies from school to school. I’ve been in schools where things like residentials aren’t ever done.

      As for why OAA is often left out, I think it’s more to do with what people perceive PE to be. It’s a very common perception of course that PE = sports. Of course this simply isn’t true. The reality is PE is designed to allow you to be confident in your own body.

      We also have to consider here that PE is often a subject that tends to fall by the wayside. I’ve been unfortunate in some schools that I’ve done placements in that I’ve had a couple of teachers who see a gust of wind or a drop of rain and decide that PE isn’t going to be done. Of course OAA being outdoors, this is a blatant barrier.

      Other issues with residentials, especially in this current climate, include funding. With school budgets being squeezed, household incomes not getting any higher (in fact in some cases dropping and dropping significantly), finding the money to get children on these trips and paying for trained professionals (which is required by law) to lead these residentials is very tough.

      I hope these help, but bare in mind of course I’m still an undergraduate myself so my views are based on a limited amount of experience and observation.

      Best of luck with your dissertation 🙂

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