Involving parents and carers in residentials

In some Learning Away school partnerships, parents and carers have played a direct part in schools’ residential experiences.

Two partnerships in the first phase of the project, the SMILE Trust in Manchester and the South Hetton partnership in County Durham, focus on taking families away, so parents/carers are involved as participants in the residential. The SMILE Trust’s Family Residential Programme uses a family-based learning approach, with cooking and the arts as the lead into parenting and family learning. Children in the targeted families are supported to gradually take on responsibility for planning the catering, chores and activities. Three months after the start of the programme, the whole family go away together. Learn more about these programmes on the schools’ profile pages, and in our free Families resource.

Other school partnerships have asked parents/carers to attend residentials as additional adults.  Care has been taken when this happens to make sure that the parent/carer is not directly responsible for their child on the residential, so that the child can experience the sense of independence a residential offers.  A few schools have involved parents as experts who come to the residential to lead activities.

The key to involving parents/carers as additional adults or experts successfully has been careful preparation. Time for this preparation needs to be built in to residential planning. Find more tips and suggestions for staffing your brilliant residential 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.