DIY or using providers?

It isn’t always necessary, possible, or even sometimes preferable, to run your brilliant residential through a residential provider. Providers don’t always have the room, can cost more, and are not always willing to develop programmes that suit the needs of the students. So can DIY be best?

Planning and delivering teacher-led residentials may use more of your own scarce resources, but the experience of Learning Away schools is that the benefits of doing so can far outweigh the costs.

Teachers are well placed to develop experiences that integrate with the curriculum, address students’ specific needs and work within the values and aims of the school, its families and community. At the same time teachers’ knowledge of young people is enhanced, relationships between staff and students can be transformed, and residentials can provide great opportunities to further develop teaching skills.

A brilliant residential activity doesn’t have to be an adventure activity. As staff confidence and experience has increased, several Learning Away schools in the first phase of the project went wholly DIY with their residentials, planning and delivering all activities themselves.

Others have developed a ‘middle way’ with providers.  School and centre staff work together to plan bespoke, progressive residential programmes. Each delivers part of the programme, drawing on their expertise. This way of working requires the school to set aside some planning time with the centre, but there are clear benefits from this approach including stronger school-centre relationships and a better learning experience for students.

Learn more about working with providers here.


Be inspired by our case studies from Learning Away schools.

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.