Planning a residential

There are many ways of planning a residential and many factors to consider.  You can read more about our theory about how change happens as a result of residentials, and about how school partnerships in the first phase of Learning Away planned their residentials here (getting started) and here (in-depth Planning tools resource). There are also many organisations beyond Learning Away that aim to help teachers planning residentials.  This page is designed to help point you in the right direction when you are searching for help with planning.

Making the case

We are convinced, by wider research, our own evaluation data and a wealth of on-the-ground experience shared with us by many school staff and young people, that residentials can be highly worthwhile and impactful ways of teaching and learning. We also understand that not everyone is as convinced as we are, so making the case for residential learning in schools can sometimes be a challenge.  The evidence to help you do so is out there, and our website provides you with the starting points here.

Achieving aims: developing a focused plan

Learning Away partnerships have developed ways of planning residentials that really focus on meeting students’ needs by planning clear aims and outcomes, then designing activities and cultivating an environment that enables students to achieve these.  This clarity has helped with: making the case for residentials within school; ensuring stronger links between the residential and in-school curriculum; and improving progression between residentials when they are part of a programme.  Below is a list of organisations that can help with this approach to planning, sometimes referred to as Theory of Change or Logic Models.

  • Charities Evaluation Services: Making Connections: Using a Theory of Change to Develop Planning and Evaluation – an introduction to the model, and practical support for developing a theory of change for your own programme.
  • The Institute for Research and Reform in Education: You Can Get There From Here – an article discussing how a logic model approach to planning can and has been used to support interventions in US districts.
  • The Center for Theory of Change is a non-profit organisation established to promote quality standards and best practice for the development and implementation of Theory of Change, with a particular focus on its use and application in the areas of international development, sustainability, education, human rights and social change.
  • The Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit – the EEF is a funder that particularly focuses on testing and evaluating interventions to improve the attainment of disadvantaged students. Its growing toolkit ranks a number of teaching and learning strategies against cost and impact on attainment. Some of these strategies are commonly used on residentials.

Logistics

There are many organisations that can help with planning the where, when, what, who and how of residentials, whether you’re staying locally or travelling abroad.  These are some you might find useful.

  • The Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC) is a membership organisation for outdoor education providers of both residential and non-residential centres. Their website shows membership centres region by region. Most of their members hold senior positions in outdoor centres across the UK.
  • The National Association of Field Studies Officers (NAFSO) is a special interest group attached to the Institute for Outdoor Learning.  NAFSO is a UK-wide membership organisation representing professionals employed in teaching, developing and promoting field studies.
  • The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) supports all staff in schools taking young people outdoors to engage and enhance learning. OEAP members offer practical help, advice and support to staff taking children off site, to different environments including visits to local areas, museums, places of worship, residentials, visits abroad and adventure activities. Most Local Authorities are represented in the Panel. Search for your local adviser here.
  • The Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) encourages outdoor learning by developing quality, safety and opportunity to experience outdoor activity provision and by supporting and enhancing the good practice of those who work in the outdoors.  Their website provides teachers of all subjects and all ages with guidance on health and safety, curriculum links and opportunities for professional development.
  • The Field Studies Council (FSC) is an environmental education charity committed to helping people understand and be inspired by the natural environment. It publishes extensive resources and runs day and residential fieldwork activities and courses for teachers, young people and families at 17 field studies centres across the UK.
  • Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment  People enjoy the natural environment in many different ways. These include visiting the countryside, enjoying green spaces in towns and cities, watching wildlife and volunteering to help protect the natural environment. The Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey, funded by Natural England, with support from Defra and the Forestry Commission, provides trend data on how people use the natural environment in England.
  • The Expedition Providers Association (EPA) is a membership organisation for the overseas youth expedition sector and  is made up of UK-based expedition providers catering for young people under 25 in full-time education.  EPA provides guidance on overseas travel, adventurous activities and cultural experiences.
  • Scout Activity Centres is a residential provider with centres across the UK, however it also offers a range of free tools and resources that teachers can download. These include suggested kitlists, the basics for a number of essential outdoor skills (simple knots, using axes and saws safely), and activity ideas.
  • The School Travel Forum (STF) is a not for profit organisation of leading school tour operators that promotes good practice and safety in school travel. Their website enables  lists all their ‘Assured Members‘.
  • The British Activity Providers Association (BAPA) is the trade association for private sector providers of residentials, activity holidays and courses in the UK.
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides information, advice and consular services for those planning residentials outside the UK .
  • The Association of British Travel Agents provides useful for checking a travel agent’s membership to ensure bookings are covered for complaints, disputes and financial loss if the travel company fails.

Managing risk

Risk management is always a significant part of planning residentials.  We have found that, with good management, Learning Away school partnerships have safely run activities that would be considered high risk.  Some misunderstandings have developed about managing risks on residentials, and the websites below help clarify the issues.

  • Health and Safety Executive: School trips and outdoor learning activities – tackling the health and safety myths  To support and encourage schools, the Health & Safety Executive has published a myth-busting statement explaining what teachers should consider when organising learning outside the classroom experiences.
  • Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel: National Guidance for the Management of Outdoor Learning, Off-Site Visits and Learning Outside the Classroom  Guidance written by the OEAP for employers to adopt as their policy, and as guidance for their staff to use. Employees must be sure that their employer has adopted the guidance before using it.
  • English Outdoor Council (EOC): Nothing Ventured  The EOC is an umbrella body for those involved in outdoor education, training and recreation. Their website includes articles and literature surveys of research on the benefits of outdoor education and links to member bodies.  This report concentrates specifically on five myths that surround risk management on residentials.
  • The Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) encourages outdoor learning by developing quality, safety and opportunity to experience outdoor activity provision and by supporting and enhancing the good practice of those who work in the outdoors.  Their website provides teachers of all subjects and all ages with guidance on health and safety, curriculum links and opportunities for professional development. This page focuses on outdoor learning and safety.
  • Creative Star Learning blog: Health and Safety  The Creative Star Learning website contains many ideas about learning and playing outdoors.  This blog on Health and Safety is useful for myth-busting around what you can and can’t do with children whilst learning outdoors.

Funding and fundraising

Finding the funding to run residentials can be a challenge in schools where they are seen as curriculum enrichment rather than entitlement.  You can read about how Learning Away partnerships in the first phase of the project have tackled this issue here (funding) and here (fundraising).   The following websites will also help you with funding and fundraising ideas.

  • Open Futures: fundraising tool-kit for schools Open Futures is a skills and enquiry-based curriculum development programme, and has developed a fundraising tool-kit for schools including guidance on how to ‘make the case’ for your project, useful templates, and a list of funders broken down by geographical area.
  • Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC): Funding  CLOtC is the national voice for learning outside the classroom.  Their funding section is a news feed that shares opportunities for funding these activities.
  • Field Studies Council (FSC): FSC is an environmental education charity dedicated solely to providing informative and enjoyable opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to discover, explore, be inspired by, and understand the natural environment. The FSC website’s Bursary Fund and Kids Fund sections include details about how to apply for help with both curriculum-focussed and non-statutory enrichment residential activities that are focussed on the natural environment.
  • Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL): Funding  IOL  encourages outdoor learning by developing quality, safety and opportunity to experience outdoor activity provision and by supporting and enhancing the good practice of those who work in the outdoors.  Their website provides teachers of all subjects and all ages with guidance on health and safety, curriculum links and opportunities for professional development.  Their funding page has news and links to other useful organisations.
  • Creative Star Learning: List of grants for schools and youth groups  The Creative Star Learning website contains many ideas about learning and playing outdoors, and a section on grants that are available for schools and youth groups.
  • Parent Teacher Association Plus (PTA+): The PTA+ website acts as a host of resources aimed at bringing PTAs together and sharing success stories.  There are various sections with plenty of Fundraising ideas for schools.

 

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.