An increasing number of residential provider organisations have reviewed and developed their offer to schools as a result of the findings of the Learning Away initiative and the concept of ‘brilliant residentials’. They realise they have a significant role to play in helping and supporting schools to provide teacher-led and designed, affordable and inclusive high quality residential experiences for young people of all ages. This case study highlights the opportunities provided by Scout Adventures.
Many of the Learning Away schools developed camping residentials, on their school grounds, locally and further afield. They discovered that not only were they an excellent lower-cost option, enabling them to offer their students a number of residential experiences, but that they also provided additional benefits and learning opportunities. To help schools source camping equipment and suitable sites, the Scouts have created a number of ‘tented villages’ for school groups within the woodlands and fields at their National Centres.
Each tented village is designed to make camping comfortable – giving an authentic adventurous experience while saving schools much of the time and effort required to source and transport equipment. With space for around 40 pupils in each village, young people sleep in sturdy canvas bell tents on comfortable foam mattresses. Each tent also has rugged storage boxes and an electric lantern. But knowing that camping is about much more than just sleeping, each tented village also has a camp fire area, and a large dining tent equipped with lights, tables and benches.
The Scouts describe these tented villages as
“… an ideal space for pupils to develop tangible skills that are useful both in the natural world and, importantly, back in the classroom. Whether working as a team to cook a meal over an open fire, or helping to keep the tent organised and sharing a midnight feast by lantern light – this is the essence of what Scouting and school residentials are all about.”
If needed, Scout Adventures can also provide visiting schools with a range of instructed activity packages, along with planning and lesson resources. The ‘Original Outdoor Experience’ package, for example, focuses on learning tangible skills – giving pupils the opportunity to take responsibility and work collaboratively. The programme includes activities such as archery, fire lighting, backwoods cooking, pioneering and raft building. While the ‘Adventure 50:50’ package is a co-constructed and deigned experience which splits the time between self-led sessions and instructed activities, thus enabling schools to ensure that the planned residential programme meets the learning objectives and needs of specific groups of students.