Learning Away residential cost models: Using a holiday cottage mid-week

Key features

  • Use of a self catering holiday cottage
  • Staffed by school team of family support workers
  • Contrasting setting, but close to the school

Running three residentials in quick succession with individual families with an average of five members each visit sounds expensive. Yet the SMILE Trust Partnership found a way to work that was close to the average cost of all Learning Away residentials coming in at £44.90 per person per night (pppn).

Using a holiday cottage

cost models_cottage

The solution was to block book a holiday cottage in the Peak District for weekdays during term time. This not only managed a key cost, it also provided an ideal setting for the ‘home from home’ family support approach the schools involved wanted to take. A long-term contract with the owners also gave both them and the schools security over this price. Whilst the cottage was in a rural setting in marked contrast to the urban community in which the school is set, it was less than a hour’s travel away by school minibus keeping travel costs to a minimum.

In addition all the staffing came from the school team of family support workers and others. Teachers were rarely used, so supply cover costs were not an issue. Self-catering, again an important part of the approach of these residentials, also helped to keep prices down. Funding came from the school and Pupil Premium. Up to ten families a year were involved in the programme, each averaging nine nights away.

Read more about this innovative Learning Away programme here.