Knowledge, understanding and skills

Many Learning Away schools have reported progress in their students’ performance in a range of curriculum and skill areas as a result of their residential programmes.

York Consulting’s evaluation of the first phase of Learning Away found that primary and secondary teachers share common views about the contribution of their residentials to developing students’ knowledge, skills and understanding.  Both students and teachers reported that their residentials supported students in:

  • becoming more independent learners, as well as learning how to work as a team (both primary – 75% – and secondary students – 84%)
  • developing a deeper and better understanding of the subject, for example, in maths or developing specific subject-related skills, such as in music or sports coaching (75% of secondary students)
  • developing study and research skills (both primary – 42% – and secondary students – 69%), for example, how to approach problem solving and how to ‘sense check’ and review their work
  • improving creativity: residentials provided inspiration and helped to enrich students’ work in a range of subject areas (both primary and secondary students)
  • developing vocabulary and speaking and listening skills (particularly for primary pupils).

For some secondary school students, their knowledge, understanding and skills increased before they even went on the residential as a result of planning for the residential themselves. Through planning, students have developed:

  • numeracy skills through budget planning and costings (e.g. venue and transport)
  • communication skills, including the art of compromise through negotiations with venue and activity providers
  • an ability to solve real problems (e.g. ensuring that food costs stay within agreed budget)
  • shared responsibility for risk management.

Teachers also noted how their students became more independent learners, both during the residential and afterwards back in the classroom. They took on more responsibility for their learning, they asked more searching questions and initiated their own research to find answers rather than expecting teachers to answer their questions.

Visit the Learning Away partnership school profile pages, or scroll down for recommended case studies.

“Since we’ve been doing Maths and English here I’ve got a lot more confident. I didn’t think I’d learn that much, but I’ve actually learned loads. The stuff we were doing yesterday – I didn’t know any of that – but I can do it without any help.”

Year 10 student, Canterbury Academy


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.