The author of academic research into the lifelong value of the educational approach of Gordonstoun school has criticised an article in today’s Telegraph which wrongly states that outdoor lessons don’t help their prospects.
Author of the research, Dr Simon Beames from the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh, said:
“It is disappointing that the Telegraph has chosen to present the findings of my research in a misleading way. This was a unique study designed to help educators better understand the participant outcomes of out-of-classroom experiences and specific aspects of them that are especially powerful.
"The key findings from a survey of over 1,174 alumni are remarkable in that 94% of former pupils reported that out-of-classroom experiences had a positive influence on their personal growth and development, and 74% felt that they had a positive influence on their career.
"A significant majority (57%) of students reported that out of classroom learning enhanced their academic studies, with 26% saying it had no effect and just a small minority (16%) stating it had detracted. Notably, 81% of parents felt that it had had a positive effect.
"Instead of reporting the conclusions of the research, the article seems to be based on one line within the report and cherry-picks one quote which was included to show the extreme end of a wide spectrum of alumni views”.
The Principal of Gordonstoun, Lisa Kerr, said:
“The article in today’s Telegraph is inaccurate and significantly misleading. This research was published a year ago and the findings were overwhelmingly positive about the lifelong benefits of learning experiences outside the classroom. This was reported in the press at the time.
"We have been experts in character education for over 80 years and Dr Beames’ research backs up what we have seen with our own eyes - that education is about more than just exam results and our students become resilient, confident and responsible young adults.”
Below is a graph from the research which shows the breakdown of responses of former pupils when asked how out-of-classroom activities impacted their academic studies, and which shows that almost ten times as many students reported definite enhancement as reported definite detraction.
Further copies of the research and interviews with Dr Simon Beames or Lisa Kerr are available on request.