Learning Away residentials – how they are changing our school

Key features

  • Progressive programme
  • Flexible approach with student leadership
  • Impact across the whole school

In this film case study Tony McDaid, the then headteacher of Calderglen High School, talks about how the Learning Away initiative was an active ingredient in transforming the life of the school.

He describes how inclusive residentials for year groups in S1 and S2 lead to a more flexible approach higher up the school based around student interest. Residentials and their impact on school life evolve with each year, interest or subject group. The programme, he claims, is now embedded. Students suggest new possibilities as new links grow between the courses taught, the life of the school and its relationship with the community.

Watch the film below to find out more.

Progression

After five years of development a flexible structure has emerged that is providing continuity and progression. A student in P7 may take part in a residential with students from the High School as part of their transition. Early in S1, and again in S2, students get to know their year group and their teachers on a residential that includes as many young people and staff as possible. To make this possible the programmes are developed and provided in partnership with providers such as Scottish Outdoor Education Centres and the YMCA Lakeside centre. This provides the specialist activities, the bed space and the extra staff necessary for such large groups. The focus is on adventure activities that develop close relationships, give staff new insights into students and transferable study skills for the classroom.

From S3 upwards residential become more flexible and diverse. They range from subject specific camps such as PE and Drama suggested by staff, The Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions, leadership experiences such as the voyage with the Ocean Youth Trust, masterclasses supported by programmes such as the John Muir Award and intensive revision retreats suggested by students. S5 and S6 students recently organised a trip to their partner school in South Africa to share PE skills and equipment; the ultimate in a student led and constructed residential experience.

The importance of Learning Away, as Tony McDaid points out in the film, is that this programme has not only affected students and staff, it has also integrated with and impacted on the ethos of the school, its partners and the wider community. Brilliant residentials have played a significant part in raising attainment and aspiration, encouraging cohesion within and beyond the school, and transforming teaching and learning in and outside of the classroom.