Outdoor education

Learn about the Outdoor education course and find course documents, sample scope and sequences, teaching resources, assessment material and professional learning.


Outdoor education develops in each student the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to understand and identify with the surrounding wilderness environments and conduct themselves in a safe manner in the outdoors.

Course structure

Students may undertake either 100 or 200 hours of study in Outdoor Education in Stage 5. Courses are structured in the following ways:

  • a 100-hour course consisting of Core and a minimum of three options
  • a 200-hour course consisting of Core and a minimum of seven options.

Professional learning

Advice for leaders on whole school considerations, key information and further support for Outdoor Education

Syllabus information for leaders

Whole school considerations

Outdoor education is based on experiential learning where students explore and gain a deeper understanding of their surroundings. Students learn through planning and participating in outdoor experiences and reflecting on their involvement.

The course has links with NSW Stage 5 HSIE, science and PDHPE curriculum.

The course will provide students with a pathway into 3 proposed Stage 6 courses:

  • Course a – Outdoor and environmental studies (ATAR).
  • Course b – Outdoor education general course.
  • Course c – Certificate II in outdoor recreation.

School-based outdoor education programs should have a strong focus on practical application, movement and experiential learning in outdoor environments.

When selecting practical applications, schools are encouraged to provide students with:

  • the opportunity to explore a broad range of outdoor education experiences to identify with activities which they may pursue beyond school
  • the opportunity to transfer knowledge and build personal and social skills across contexts and appreciate the variety of benefits from connecting with the natural environment to support lifelong health, wellbeing and relationships
  • new experiences and challenges beyond those offered through the mandatory PDHPE Years 7-10 course
  • experiences and activities that are relevant and suitably challenging for students, and that can be supported by school and community resources.

Some students with disability may require adjustments, including the use of adaptive equipment and/or additional support in order to engage in practical and/or theoretical applications.

In addition, schools should be aware of department policies in relation to the safe conduct of particular activities and reflect on their capacity to meet these requirements when selecting the areas of emphasis in their course.

Outdoor education is a new course in 2022. The content is organised in modules reflective of five focus areas:

  • outdoor activity and exploration skills
  • environmental awareness, conservation and sustainability
  • personal and social skills, growth and development
  • connecting with the natural environment
  • health, safety and wellbeing in the outdoors.

Students may undertake either 100 or 200 hours of study in Outdoor education in Stage 5. Courses are structured in the following ways:

  • 100-hour course comprises the core and a minimum of 3 options
  • 200-hour course comprises the core and a minimum of 7 options

Schools are required to complete the core module with all students. It should precede any options and be taught in full. Schools develop programs by selecting option modules and/or integrating content from option modules. Option modules can be studied in any order.

A comprehensive overview of the outcomes, content and requirements for satisfactory completion of the course.


In order to comply with the Curriculum planning and programming, assessing and reporting to parents K-12 Policy and associated policy standards, schools must use the course document to develop educational programs for students.

Illustrative examples of how to sequence the core and options topics.

Scope and sequences

Scope and sequences are flexible documents and may vary according to local school contexts and student cohorts, provided they comply with the course documents.

A range of teaching and learning activities and resources that may be used to deliver the course content.

Teaching resources

Assessment advice and examples aligning to course content


Department approved elective courses are not eligible for credentialing on the Record of School Achievement (RoSA). Assessment activities should reflect the school's organisation of the course and provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning.

Support for department-approved elective courses


Lyndal Bimson

Teaching and Learning Advisor


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