FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Supporting all Young People to Experience Environmental Education

FSC’s charitable funds support all young people access environmental education opportunities. Supported by membership and donations FSC provides three schemes to support disadvantaged young people to access FSC learning opportunities.

FSC Kids Fund – Set up by FSC Tutors to give disadvantaged groups an opportunity to have an outdoor education experience.

FSC Young Environmentalists Fund – Supports young people in need to attend specific FSC courses to develop environmental skills and understanding at a time when they are making career and life choices.

FSC Bursary Fund – Supports students from the 10% most deprived areas of the UK to attend a FSC curriculum course with the rest of their school class.

Since 2012 the FSC Bursary Fund has granted over £290,000 to support disadvantaged young people in accessing environmental education courses. The fund has supported over 3,000 individuals; however, many schools tell us that without the support for some students the trip would not go ahead with a part cohort, in total 9,866 young people have experienced environmental education with FSC as part of a bursary funded group.

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“The bursary grant was very significant in our decision to attend the FSC! Our intake consists of students living in conditions considered to be the most deprived in the UK. Without the bursary those who received it would not have been able to attend. If we had not been given the bursary the trip couldn’t have gone ahead as we would not have just taken those who could afford to.” Chelsea Academy, Kensington

Supporting GCSE Geography Students Through the FSC Bursary Fund

GCSE groups are the largest beneficiary of the FSC bursary fund, comprising 48% of the grant amount. The increased requirement for fieldwork in the geography GCSE in the 2016 specifications (to two compulsory occasions in contrasting areas for all GCSE students) has prompted an increase in the number of GCSE Geography groups applying to the fund – since 2016 1,082 GCSE students have received grants from the fund.

Post-visit, teachers of groups benefitting from the fund put together a short report focussing on the benefits of the visit, a study of reports following GCSE Geography visits identified both academic and social benefits;

One-third of teachers said that the field trip helped improve learner engagement and self-confidence post-trip.

“I am of no doubt that our excellent results are in no small part to the work that we do over the three-day trip. Students commit to geography when they return to school and show much more passion to the subject in
their lessons.”
St Edmunds Catholic Academy, Wolverhampton

Two-thirds of teachers said that the field trip provided an opportunity for students to develop social and teamwork skills.

“The pupils were given the opportunity to act as a team of geography pupils not just as separate year groups. Social barriers were broken down and it was really rewarding seeing a year 9 pupil sitting with a year 11 pupil at breakfast discussing the day of activities ahead of them.”
Cymer Afan Comprehensive School, Port Talbot

68% of teachers said that the visit enabled their students to visit a type of landscape that they had not previously experienced and a quarter of teachers said that the visit was the first night away from home for some of their students.

“Most of our pupils have never been into the countryside, so apart from the academic benefit in support of their GCSE Geography exam, it also contributes to their personal and social development.”
Tile Cross Academy, Birmingham

81% of teachers said that the field trip helped enhance students understanding by applying their learning to a new context. Seeing real-life examples helped students understanding concepts that they found difficult in the classroom.

“Being outside to learn is always a huge advantage for geography. Some pupils find being in a classroom restrictive but actually doing things helped them to understand relationships a bit more.  The over-riding impression I got from my students was that the actual experience of looking at the physical landscape and carrying out the investigations helped them make sense of what they were studying.”
The Hereford Academy, Herefordshire

The visits supported by the FSC Bursary Fund also have benefits for visiting staff

Teachers and students are able to interact in a different setting, building relationships with students that help them back at school. For teachers new to the profession or those teaching outside of their subject specialism the FSC visit provides an opportunity for teachers to develop their own knowledge and skills.

“It’s so nice to be able to sit back and let someone else lead the teaching, it allows us to get on and help students with their learning/understanding. It allows us time to see the students outside the classroom environment and realise a bigger picture of them, what they struggle with, how they react to situations, what their resilience is like and so on. That bigger picture is invaluable to developing the relationships needed to encourage students to develop and progress and it’s only with the FSC you can have the confidence to sit back and know the content/teaching/leading is good enough to let that happen.”
Bluecoat Beechdale Academy, Nottingham

FSC funds are supported by membership and charitable donations, to find out more contact FSC’s Grants Officer Jennie Comerford.

Monday, September 2, 2019