Working with providers

The UK has a long history of residential centres, widely used to provide overnight stays and specialist programmes for primary and secondary schools.

Many centres provide excellent staff and facilities in great locations. They also make the organisation of a trip relatively straightforward. However, they can be expensive both to travel to and stay in. Their programmes can also lead to less involvement of school staff and reduced integration of learning on the residential with the school curriculum.

Learning Away schools have found providers who are willing to work in partnership with them to develop more tailored programmes – and the schools continue to find these providers great value for large groups and special occasions. They are also finding ways to reduce the cost of residentials by co-staffing, or negotiating access to facilities but with activities led entirely by trained school staff.

Students often value the relaxed style and role models of the centre staff. School staff have also found some of the approaches to leading activities taken by centre staff helpful in developing their own practice. Some providers have found new ways of working with schools rewarding and have begun suggesting more flexible offers to other clients.

This section of our site explores some of these more creative approaches.

“We’ve changed our approach to other schools after these visits. We’re now encouraging other teachers to lead activities either on day visits or when they are staying with us. We’ll train them up if that helps, but they often have skills and we can induct them into our systems. It makes the place busier and reaches more people.”

Director, residential provider


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.