Skip to main content Accessibility information

BA (Hons) Outdoor Learning in Early Years and Primary Education

Discover how teaching in the environment helps children to thrive.

Well-established links with schools and outdoor education settings across the South West

2020 entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above.

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above.

Or Access 23-45 level 3 credits at D or M.

And GCSE English Language grade 4 or grade C or above.

DBS enhanced clearance required.

UCAS points 96


Duration Three years full-time or up to six years part-time

How to apply for this course

Course Summary

With our BA (Hons) Outdoor Learning in Early Years and Primary Education you'll discover how to create a teaching environment that helps children to thrive. If you want to understand early years or primary education in the natural environment, then this course is for you! Discover what it is like to teach children and get robust practical experience with a placement in every year of the course. Explore how people learn about themselves, others and the environment by working outdoors in nature as well as in school and early years settings.

Fieldwork experiences are fundamental to BA (Hons) Outdoor Learning in Early Years and Primary Education; you'll be in the woods at Forest School, in the grounds of a primary school, local park or on Dartmoor, or exploring educational opportunities at the beach. 

Why this course at Marjon?

Learn from an experience and passionate academic team with a diverse range of expertise.

Placement projects available each year, working with a tutor in a school, early years setting, or an outdoor setting.

Our close links to hundreds of schools and early years settings help you develop your professional network.

Your classroom will include nature reserves, Dartmoor National Park, beautiful coasts and estuaries.

A wide range of international opportunities.

Well-established links with schools and outdoor education settings across the South West.

This course is perfect if you're curious about

So why do schools educate indoors?

What makes for an adventure and where does it start?

How do you want to change the world?

Do you really have a comfort zone?

Bear Grylls: is he good or bad for outdoor education?

Are there really any limits to what we can teach through learning outdoors?

What might you become?

Many students go on to a primary teaching qualification through Schools Direct or PGCE, this course fully prepares you for those routes, including helping you to review what type of teacher you might become. Other opportunities include Early Years Teacher Training, community education, youth work, in outdoor and informal educational settings. 

Modules for this course


1st Year

Introduction to outdoor experiential learning
Explore some beautiful locations whilst learning experientially outdoors. You'll be introduced to the foundations of holistic outdoor learning including concepts of 'self, others and nature', academic, physical and emotional challenges and the associated risks.
Learning at Marjon
You'll develop the academic skills you need to produce your best work and start on career planning.
Introduction to education studies
You'll explore education studies and the nature of education, including curriculum, history of education and the impact of a wide range of other factors on education.
Engaging with practice
This is the first placement module. You will prepare, plan and evaluate your experience, developing your skills as a reflective practitioner and exploring how theory and practice are linked.
Creative and inclusive practice
Explore how ALL children can be best supported.
Dartmoor for outdoor learning
Dartmoor National Park is a stunning wild location - full of stories, history and geography. It's an inspiring place to learn and a stimulating environment in which to connect authentically with each other and the planet!

2nd Year

Forest and Beach schools
Principles and practice are explored in our on-campus woodland classroom and on local beaches. Fire lighting, shelter building, knives and axes all feature in this wood-smoked exploration of the theories of outdoor learning.
Inclusive outdoor learning
Is Outdoor learning inclusive and accessible for all? You'll consider the range and scope of disability and explore practical considerations necessary in order to include all learners in best practice.
Pedagogical paradigms*
Many key thinkers have influenced educational practice. We consider the ideas of a number of these.
Global childhoods*
How is childhood different depending on where you live in the world? You'll develop an understanding of children and their experience of childhood locally and globally and how play impacts children's development.
Educational research
What are the impacts of research within education? You'll explore issues of ethics and values, as well as the inter-relationship between theory and methods of research.
Experiential placement
You'll get more hands-on experience at a work placement of your choosing.
Residential education
You'll explore the development of residential outdoor education and examine the potential for residential visits to create powerful learning opportunities for young people. You'll consider how outdoor learning experiences create step changes in an individual’s personal development and confidence.

3rd Year

Education project
You'll undertake an independent piece of research on a topic of interest to you. You'll critically appraise published literature relevant to the topic and design, conduct and analyse your own research.
Outdoor learning and school placement*
This is a practical applied module with specific focus on outdoor learning planning and actualising the learning outcomes through experiential educational approaches.
Developing a personal philosophy of education*
You'll consider the tension between policy and practice, and develop your own philosophy of education.
Critical pedagogy and the Early Years Foundation Stage
How is this important time in a child's life best supported through rich learning experiences?
Place based outdoor education
Develop curiosity about 'place' and develop a process to apply this in a variety of settings. You'll enjoy an introduction to the contribution that fieldwork on, or adjacent to the water, makes to place based outdoor education.
Leadership and quality in education*
How do we make sure that the settings we work in are quality settings? How do we lead staff to be the best they can be?
Outdoor food: Communities, cultures and practice*
You'll explore the centrality of food and its relevance to participants and outdoor programmes. You'll get the opportunity to enhance your own cooking skills and this may include a variety of outdoor contexts and stove type.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250

Fees for International students: £12,000

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Includes lectures, seminars, workshops, active learning activities, group work, self-directed study and work placements.

How will you be assessed?

Includes essays, presentations, observations and project work.

Course leader

Su Porter

Su is an experienced lecturer with a wealth of experience in teaching and promoting the benefits of outdoor learning, she and the teaching team are passionate about developing skilled practitioners who will champion the benefits of rich outdoor learning opportunities for children.

View full profile


Jayne Garcia

Associate Lecturer

View profile

Jayne is an experienced Early Years Teacher and Pre-School Manager with additional insight into primary education, including school governance. She teaches Child Development and Early Years Initial Teacher Training with a focus on Attachment, Transitions and Children's Emotional Development, as well as Leadership in Early Years.

Jan Gourd

Senior Lecturer

View profile

Jan was previously a primary head teacher in the South West and she now leads a teaching team at Marjon who together draw on decades of classroom experience and wide-ranging research specialisms to deliver Education courses.

Hannah Holdgate

Lecturer in Education

View profile

Hannah is a former SureStart Children's Centre Manager, Nursery Manager and Early Years Professional, assessor and mentor. She is particularly interested in Early Years, Play, Inclusion and Leadership.

Dr Mark Leather

Associate Professor - Education and Outdoor Learning

View profile

Mark is an all-rounder in outdoor activities and is known for his research on Forest Schools, Outdoor Learning and Place Based Outdoor Education. He teaches paddling, sailing, hill walking and expeditions. He is an experienced tutor who is internationally known through his publications, research and conference presentations. He draws on previous experience as an Adventure Centre Manager, Sailing Instructor, Head of Science and as Director of the Counsellor in Training program for Camp America.

Fiona Nicholls

Senior Lecturer

View profile

Fiona, is a qualified teacher and RYA qualified powerboat and senior sailing instructor, BCU Coach Inland kayak and Sea, Mountain Leader and Rock Climbing Instructor; teaching across the programme on the moor, crag and sea. She brings infectious enthusiasm as well as a wide networks of contacts from many years managing Plymouth City Council’s outdoor education provision before joining team Marjon.

Su Porter

Senior Lecturer

View profile

Su, a qualified teacher and AMI qualified mountaineering instructor knows Dartmoor better than anyone. She has taught climbing, mountain leader courses, and navigation training and assessments for many years. Su is competitive and a talented orienteer and an experienced adventure racer in mountain marathons. She is also a volunteer leader at a local scout group.

Miles Smith


View profile

Miles’ Master’s is in English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics and he has twenty years of experience teaching, including to adults and children.

Dr Sue Wayman

Senior Lecturer

View profile

Sue teaches primarily in Education Studies but has a multidisciplinary understanding with experience of teaching Development Studies and Geography here. She is working on research projects both nationally and internationally.

Virtual open day registration

Providing some details will help us to get you the right information, and let us keep you updated with more details or changes.

Select an Open Day:

All postgraduate courses


  • Applied Sport Psychology - MSc
  • Coaching and Mentoring - PG Cert
  • Communication Disorders - MRes
  • Counselling and Psychotherapy for Children and Young People – MSc
  • Early Years - MA
  • Early Years with Initial Teacher Training - PG Dip
  • Education - Coaching, Mentoring and Leadership - MA
  • Education - Disability - MA
  • Education - Leadership - MA
  • Education - MA (Plymouth and Truro Campuses)
  • Literature for Children and Young Adults - MA
  • Management for a Sustainable Future - MSc (Open Distance)
  • Master of Research (MRes Courses) Framework
  • Primary Education (PGCE) including School Direct and Teacher Apprenticeships - PGCE
  • Professional Education Practice - MA (Open Distance)
  • Psychology - MSc
  • Psychology of Leadership - MSc
  • Public Health - MPH
  • Secondary Education (PGCE) including School Direct and Teaching Apprenticeships - PGCE
  • Social Policy - MA
  • Sport and Exercise Science - MSc
  • Sport Rehabilitation - MSc
  • Youth and Community Practice: Research and Leadership - MA
  • Youth and Community Work - MA

School of Sport, Health & Wellbeing  Marjon Business


  • Business (BSc Hons)
  • Business and Law (BA Hons)
  • Football Development and Coaching (BA Hons)
  • Football Science (BSc Hons)
  • Health and Wellbeing Practitioner (BSc Hons)
  • Leadership and Management for Business (BA Hons)
  • Osteopathic Medicine (MOst)
  • Physical Education (BA Hons) (non QTS)
  • Physical Education with Dance (BA Hons)
  • Psychology (BSc Hons)
  • Psychotherapy and Counselling (BSc Hons)
  • Speech and Language Therapy (BSc Hons)
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology (BSc Hons)
  • Sport and Exercise Science (BSc Hons)
  • Sport Business Management (BSc Hons)
  • Sport Coaching and Physical Education (BA Hons)
  • Sport Development and Coaching (BA Hons)
  • Sport Development and Coaching (FdA)
  • Sport Rehabilitation and Conditioning (BSc Hons)
  • Sports Therapy (BSc Hons)

School of Education, Marjon Teacher Education Partnership and School of Arts and Humanities


  • Acting (BA Hons)
  • Childhood Practice (BA Hons)
  • Criminology (BA Hons)
  • Criminology and Law (BA Hons)
  • Criminology and Psychology (BA Hons)
  • Early Years (FdA)
  • Education Studies (BA Hons)
  • Education Studies and Psychology (BA Hons)
  • English (BA Hons)
  • English Language and Communication (BSc Hons)
  • Forensic Investigation (BSc Hons)
  • History - BA (Hons)
  • Journalism (Sport Journalism) (BA Hons)
  • Journalism (BA Hons)
  • Journalism with Photography (BA Hons)
  • Learning and Teaching (FdA)
  • Musical Theatre (BA Hons)
  • Outdoor Adventure Education (BA Hons)
  • Outdoor Learning in Early Years and Primary Education (BA Hons)
  • Performing Arts Education (BA Hons)
  • Physical Education in Secondary Education (11-16 with enhancement) (with QTS) (BEd Hons)
  • Primary Education (BA Hons)
  • Primary Education (Early Years) (with QTS) (BEd Hons)
  • Primary Education (with QTS) (BEd Hons)
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability Studies (BA Hons)
  • Youth and Community Work (BA Hons)
Personal details

Or manually enter address

Date of birth (Required)

For example, 02 01 1974

I'm interested in the following course(s):
Please let us know if you have any vision, hearing, learning difficulties or motor skills which could affect your participation in live sessions
Other options (optional):

How this data will be used

We will use the information you have given us here to complete this request. After this, we may use this information in order to compare initial enquiries to application and enrol data, and to understand the effectiveness of different marketing activities. You can find out more about this in the University’s privacy statement here.

Further information

You may wish to receive further information on subjects or events that we think will interest you. Please let us know if you would like to receive this. (You can change this request at any time).

Yes, I would like to receive ongoing information about Plymouth Marjon University:

We will use this information to contact you in this way for a maximum period of two years. After this we may use the data to analyse the effectiveness of different types of communication. You can unsubscribe from this type of communication, or request we delete your details at any time and contact details are in our privacy policy.

Share this page on