During the initial phase of Learning Away, all partner schools reported consistently high levels of student engagement during their residentials. Longer term, there is also evidence of sustained engagement back at school – and of improved achievement as a result.

There are also clear signs that residential experiences promote deep engagement, and engage previously disaffected students and those with challenging behaviour.

Students’ evaluation survey responses clearly demonstrated that they also believe their attendance and behaviour improves as a result of going on the residential. The majority of students felt that their behaviour in school would be better (58% of all students) as a result of the residential, they would try harder to be on time for school (72% of secondary students) and their attendance would be better (54% of all students). 23% of parents felt that their children’ attendance had improved post-residential.

Students identified that they were not sent out of class as much as they were prior to the residential, and that they were trying to behave better in class and concentrate more in lessons. Attitudinal changes seen on the residential were sustained back in the classroom and, because they understood and were more engaged with their learning, their behaviour in class had improved.

“I probably did more hours of work in that one week than I did in the whole of this term. I just got so much inspiration from it.”

Year 10 student, The Canterbury Academy

Our research suggests that students are engaged because they:

  • enjoy the student-centred collaborative approaches (e.g. co-designing residentials and being involved in problem-solving tasks) and learning ‘by doing’
  • are involved in experiences that are different and removed from everyday life, yet with real-world relevance
  • undertake challenging activities that provide new opportunities to experience success
  • feel supported by their teachers and peers, with whom they enjoy better relationships.



Be inspired by our case studies from Learning Away schools.

Explore Getting Started and access free resources to help you plan your own brilliant residentials.

Have a look at our theory about how change happens on brilliant residentials.

Read our recommendations for schools, providers, policy makers and researchers. 

Read our independent evaluation report.