Research carried out by the ATL after the introduction of the foundation stage, outlined that good outdoor play in schools developed children's learning and social skills and their self-confidence. It also identified that teachers found implementing outdoor play as their greatest problem.
Commenting on the survey's findings, Nansi Ellis, primary advisor for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said:
'Outdoor play should be more than just children going outside to let off steam. Heaps of learning goes on through outdoor play, with small children especially getting to practice big movements, develop their social skills and to learn to take risks in safe environments.
'ATL recommends that school staff must be given financial support, advice and time to review the outdoor areas and how they are used, so that children's play in school can be stimulating and enjoyable, and provide opportunities for development that are not found in any other context.'
1. Following the introduction of the new foundation stage in September 2000, ATL recognised the need for further information about how it is working in practice. 550 ATL members were quizzed in Autumn 2001 about the foundation stage and its implementation. Of those, 95% are teachers, with the largest proportion, 55% working in reception class. 25% work in nursery and almost 20% work in mixed age classes, often reception and year 1, occasionally reception, year 1 and year 2 and some with nursery included as well. More than two-thirds of respondents have been working in early years for more than 6 years, with almost half of respondents working for longer than 11 years.
2. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 160,000 teachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom.
3. ATL exists to protect and improve the status of teachers, lecturers and other professionals involved in delivering education to further their legitimate professional interests.
4. ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC). It is unaffiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.
5. ATL members receive a regular magazine (Report) reflecting ATL policy and other issues affecting the education sector.
6. Further information and all press releases are available on ATL's website: www.askatl.org.uk