Seeking primary schools to take part in a new research project

The University of Cumbria and the Brathay Trust are seeking primary schools to take part in a research project that will measure the impact of residential experiences on pupil progress and attainment. The University of Cumbria and the Brathay Trust are conducting this project on behalf of the Learning Away Consortium.

We are seeking:

Either: Residential centres providing residentials for year 6 pupils in a two form entry primary school. The residentials need to be split so that half the school take part before SATs and half afterwards. It would also be helpful but not essential if the residential had a curriculum focus related to literacy, numeracy and/or a STEM subject.

And: Two form entry primary schools willing or planning to undertake residentials as described above.

And: Residential providers willing to support the project with a free or discounted residential experience to help a primary school take part and to help the Learning Away Consortium to evidence the benefits of residentials to policy makers in support of the field.


Whilst there is much research evidence that residential experiences have a range of significant impacts on pupils, including on attainment, the studies are small scale. This makes it hard for schools and residential providers to make robust claims about the value of some aspects of their provision. The next step in building a robust case for an impact on attainment is to undertake a comparative study. The Learning Away Consortium have asked the University of Cumbria and The Brathay Trust to carry out such a study. This project is part of the continuing efforts of the Learning Away consortium to champion the value of Brilliant Residentials as part of educational experiences for all.

The Study
We are seeking to recruit primary schools that either are two form entry or can be matched with similar primary schools in their area. These schools will all be offering residential experiences to year six pupils. For the purposes of a comparative case study one class/school will have a residential experience before SATS and the other class/school will have a residential after SATS.

What the study will involve
The study will take place during the 2017/2018 academic year. We will work with you to collect progress and attainment data, including SATS results, in numeracy, literacy and a STEM subject for all your year six pupils during term two and three with the last data collected being ideally after the final residential experience has taken place. This will give us an indication of whether those students who took part in a residential make better progress after the residential than the comparative group. In addition, we will be able to assess whether they also achieve better results in the SATS.

To help us understand what pupils and teachers perceive as the factors that made a difference we will also conduct focus groups with a selection of staff and pupils before and after the residentials/SATS.

We will share the results of the study with you so that it can inform your teaching strategies in future years. All the results will be anonymous. No pupil, staff member, residential provider or school will be identified in the report. The report will be made available to the members of the Learning Away Consortium. The results may also be published in professional and academic journals. We hope the outcome will provide support for the benefit of residential experiences. If this is so, the findings will also be used to promote residential experiences to schools and to policy makers.

For more information and offers of help please contact:

Dr Chris Loynes
Project lead
University of Cumbria