Brilliant residentials need time and money, but not necessarily as much as you think – and Learning Away action research make the case that the benefits are worth the cost.

Finding the right approach for funding its residential programme is highly contextual from one school to another. Each needs to find its own workable solution. Schools are drawing on a range of sources to fund their work, including:

  • Parental contributions: Learning Away schools believe that brilliant residentials are an entitlement for all children and young people, but parental contributions often still need to be an important part of the funding mix. Several of the schools involved in Learning Away’s action research have set up savings schemes to spread the cost out for parents over the course of one or more years. One school gives ‘better off’ parents the option to make an additional donation on top of their own contribution. It is important for schools to consider where they can reduce costs, and to put in place additional targeted support to enable young people whose families can’t afford the full cost to participate.
  • Using school funds: many schools are using school funds to reduce the contribution parents need to find. This can be justified when residentials form an integral part of the curriculum, and can even lead to increased or more timely parental contributions. The Christ Church partnership of schools in Merseyside is trialling a promising ‘match funding’ savings scheme, where parents are incentivised to pay early – if they do, they will pay less overall because their contribution is ‘topped up’ by school funds.
  • Using pupil premium: more than half of the school partnerships in the initial action research programme used pupil premium to subsidise residential costs. Learning Away is publishing a growing body of evidence to demonstrate the impact on student progress and engagement that brilliant residentials can have when their objectives are carefully planned by teachers. Read our latest research.
  • Sharing resources with other local schools, such as campsites on school grounds, transport and camping equipment is also proving cost effective – and can have added benefits for staff and young people. Find more ideas for reducing the cost of brilliant residentials here.

Learning Away has published a set of cost model case studies that describe how different school partnerships in the first phase of Learning Away developed and funded their residentials.

You can also find other tools and information to help parents, senior leaders and governors value residentials more highly, so that they become a part of the school tradition, here.

Find out more about Fundraising.

In this short film, the Learning Away coordinator at Canterbury Academy describes how they fund their GCSE attainment residentials to ensure that they are both inclusive and affordable for all their students.


Be inspired by our case studies from Learning Away schools.

Access free resources to help you plan your own brilliant residentials, including our resource specifically about lower-cost models.

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.