Best Practice

Addressing inequalities via outdoor and nature-based learning

Nothing sums up inequality in the UK as the extent to which pupils have access to green spaces and nature. Dr Alexia Barrable says one way to address disadvantage is via nature-based learning


Most of us are aware of the very high level of income inequality in the UK – one of the highest among developed countries (Equality Trust, 2022). Yet there is another type of inequality that is worth acknowledging, one which can have an impact on our physical and psychological health.

Regular access to natural spaces has been shown again and again to have a wide range of benefits. In as little as 120 minutes per week we can see a significant improvement to our health and wellbeing, according to a large 2019 study (White et al, 2019). This can come in several short sessions, say daily for 15 to 20 minutes, or a longer session once a week. Moreover, spending time in natural spaces has been shown to induce the relaxation response – reducing heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension, and lessening the production of stress hormones. This in turn can have a positive effect on our immune response as well as our mood and wellbeing.

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