School operations

Outdoor Education Schools


The purpose of this policy is to:

  • support the Department’s outdoor education schools in the planning and delivery of outdoor education
  • provide information about the benefits of outdoor education and how other Victorian government schools can access programs at the Department’s outdoor education schools.


Outdoor education engages students to develop positive relationships with self, others and with outdoor environments through interaction with the natural world. Distinct from outdoor learning, which is a broad term used to describe any learning outside the classroom, outdoor education usually involves residential or journey-based experiences to impart personal, social and critical thinking capabilities, physical skills, and subject-specific knowledge.

Outdoor education is reflected in the Victorian Curriculum:

  • Outdoor learning is included in F–10 Health and Physical Education in the content descriptions and also as a Focus area (Challenge and adventure activities).
  • At the VCE level, students can undertake VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies.
  • For VCE VET students, the revised VCE VET Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation is in its first full year of delivery in 2021.

The Department funds and operates outdoor education schools, which are government schools that deliver residential outdoor education for government primary and secondary school students state-wide.

The outdoor education schools that are funded and operated by the Department are:

  • The Alpine School
  • Outdoor School
  • Rubicon Outdoor School
  • Somers School Camp
  • Blackwood Special Schools Outdoor Education Centre (a campus of Frankston Special Developmental School).

There are a range of planning and delivery requirements that are unique to outdoor education settings. Outdoor education schools must refer to the guidance for information and advice on:

  • curriculum planning and delivery
  • allocation of places
  • staff experience and qualifications.

All Victorian government schools are strongly encouraged to utilise the Department’s outdoor education schools to facilitate and enhance the delivery of outdoor education curriculum to their students. Further information about the outdoor education schools, how to access their programs and the benefit of outdoor education is contained in the Guidance tab.

Relevant legislation

Policy supporting the Department’s outdoor education schools in the planning and delivery of outdoor education

Reviewed 11 January 2024

Policy last updated

4 November 2021


  • Schools


Arts, Humanities and Capabilities Unit

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