Central to gaining the permission of those parents and carers who are reluctant to send their children on Learning Away residentials is reassuring them about the wellbeing of their child whilst they are away from home.
This reassurance is particularly important for residentials that involve very young children, those who are more vulnerable, and in general for those resdientials that involve camping.
Learning Away schools find that making sure that parents and carers have enough, and the right sort of, information about residentials is very important. They produce booklets and hold parent/carer meetings about residentials to give information and to allow time for discussion about anything that parents/carers are worried about (find more strategies for gaining permission here). For most parents/carers this provides enough reassurance.
For those parents/carers who are still worried, individual, high trust relationships between them and school staff are a key factor in a child’s participation in a residential. Where these relationsihps exist, parents/carers feel comfortable to voice their fears and discuss them, rather than just saying a flat ‘no’ to the residential. Once this discussion has happened, parents/carers often feel reassured enough to give permission for their child to attend. In primary school discussions tend to happen in the playground, while for secondary and special schools these happen through phone calls and home visits.
It is crucial that time for these discussions is built in when planning a residential, and that the significance of the staff-parent/carer relationship is recognised: it can have a direct impact on whether a student participates in a residential or not.
In the vast majority of cases, school staff have found that parents’/carers’ specific worries for their child – usually concerning food and sleep habits – do not emerge on residentials. The new environment and being part of a different group of people seems to enable old patterns to be broken and new ones made.
A minority of parents/carers still require reassurance whilst their child is away from home – strategies for this are discussed 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.