Planning for sustainability – collaborating with other schools and organisations

Key features

  • An annual residential that will become fully 'cost-neutral'
  • Keeping costs as low as possible for all children and parents
  • Working with other schools to develop and enhance the model

The residential model and approach that has been developed at Hanover Primary School is designed to be self-sustaining. The costs per pupil for a week’s camping are very low, and we cover much of these through parental contribution. However there is a small shortfall thus far which we are addressing through a flexible dissemination and sustainability plan which is discussed in this case study.

Our ‘back to basics’ camping residential has been designed to become ‘cost-neutral’ to the school in the coming years. Following some capital spend on tents and other camping equipment, the costs of taking our children camping are low. However, there is still currently the need to use some Pupil Premium and some School Fund, particularly to cover supply costs for those staff who volunteer to attend the residential.

In summer 2014, we implemented the first part of our plan to redress this imbalance in our finances. This plan will also address another key issue for us – the maintenance of camping equipment. We have neither the time or expertise, nor the space to carry this out effectively at school.

On our residential in 2014 were volunteers from two other schools and two adventure-play leaders. These volunteers helped to keep our cover costs down this year, but it is a reciprocal relationship from which they will also benefit.

One volunteer was from a school local to ours that wants to adopt our model. We trained a member of their staff this year, and they will use our equipment next year. In return for their use of the equipment, they will arrange maintenance of it. This would be costly for us, but will be necessary next year due to wear and tear, so will work well for Hanover. The member of staff who attended this year will lead their residential next year, thus disseminating the model.

The second school is in Oxford, and employs an innovative teacher of outdoor learning. He is an experienced camp leader and wanted to see how a primary school might create a camp that both fitted in with the curriculum and provided adventurous, but safe, learning for younger children. He is planning a similar residential in Oxfordshire, and is hoping to set up a cluster of schools that might collaborate to purchase the necessary equipment.

The two adventure play-workers attended with a view to setting up similar projects, although their plans are at an earlier stage of development. They brought a huge number of skills to our camp that will have a lasting legacy with staff at Hanover. We will adapt our programme for next year in light of some of the activities that they led and we feel that their presence brought a huge amount to the experience for our children.

Residential experiences cost money. However, we feel that at Hanover, we are refining an already cost-effective model and are confident that we can make it even more efficient. Through flexible working with a range of other agencies, we are working towards a camp where there is no direct cost to the school.