How much is going on?

Approximately 7 million pupil visits already take place every year meaning that thousands of pupils are going on visits every week.
From a geography field trip to a week at a residential activity centre, out of classroom education can help bring a subject to life. The Government wants education outside the classroom to be an important part of all young people’s education.
DfES Press notice: 15 February 2005

There are probably 3 million school children who are involved in adventure activities each year, and 7 – 10 million days of school visits.
Marcus H. Bailie: Head of Inspection Services, Adventure Activities Licensing Authority

2.5 million people  have visited its Field Study Council centres since 1943.
Field Studies Council

The Real World Learning campaign partners host visits for 1.5 million school children each year, but this is well below capacity and numbers have fallen by 10% in the last five years.
Real World Learning Campaign

We agree with the Committee that there is a wealth of good practice and many committed teachers, Heads and providers who value the benefits of learning outside the classroom and who make sure pupils experience a range of safe and stimulating activities. We believe these experiences should be widely acknowledged as an essential part of children’s education at all stages.
We also agree that evidence from different sources, sometimes contradictory, provides a patchy picture. Evidence direct from schools appears generally more positive than that from other sources.
In July 2004 MORI research on study support (out of school hours activity) found that 67% of secondary schools provided field trips; the 2003-4 survey of school sport partnerships showed that 68% of the 6500 schools taking part in the survey offered outdoor and adventurous activities (which are part of the PE curriculum).
In Autumn 2004, we commissioned the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards (DoE) and The Scouts Association (SA) to do a survey of school visits for 7 to 16 year olds in 900 secondary & primary schools. The draft report shows 86% of primary and 99% of secondary schools offer pupils at least one residential opportunity during their time in the school.
Extract from the Government’s response to the Second ‘Education Outside the Classroom’ Report from the Education and Skills Committee, Session 2004-05

The survey mentioned in the report above is Research into residential opportunities available for young people through schools, by The Scout Association, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and DFES,2004  A summary is avaiable at: Research into residential opportunities available for young people through schools
Out-of-school learning: the uneven distribution  of school provision and local authority support by Taylor, C., Power, S. and Rees, G. (2010), British Educational Research Journal, 36(6), 1017-1036.  This paper reports on two studies: one on provision by local authority centres and the other on provision and participation in out of school learning in UK secondary schools.