Evaluation themes

Learning Away’s initial evaluation strategy (2009-11) resulted in a set of hypotheses that we explored further with our partner schools during 2011-14 (read more about this research phase here).

The initial strategy introduced four self-evaluation tools to support Learning Away schools to gather evidence and evaluate their own practice. This toolkit was designed, and the data collected and analysed, by the Centre for the Use of Research & Evidence in Education (CUREE). In December 2012 CUREE mapped this data against nine themes/hypotheses, highlighting key areas where Learning Away residentials showed early signs of positive impact and that warranted further research.

These hypotheses are outlined below, and the nine full reports from CUREE can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

High quality residential learning programmes can:

One

a) significantly boost GCSE progress and attainment in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science particularly for students otherwise predicted to achieve grades of C and below

b) significantly boost SATs progress and attainment in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science.

 Two

a) significantly improve student knowledge, understanding and skills in a wide range of curriculum areas at the primary phase

b) significantly improve student knowledge, understanding and skills in a wide range of curriculum areas at the secondary phase.

Three 

significantly improve students’ engagement with their learning and this can be sustained beyond the residentials to bring about improved achievement for students in the longer-term, leading to better school attendance and behaviour. This improvement can be achieved for the most disengaged students and also for those who are compliant in school but do not feel high levels of ownership and responsibility for their own learning. 

Four 

a) foster deeper student-teacher/adult relationships that can be sustained back in schools and result in improved learner engagement and achievement

b) foster deeper student-student relationships that can be sustained back in schools and result in improved learner engagement and achievement.

Five 

a) enable teachers in primary schools to significantly widen and develop their pedagogical skills and repertoire and apply these back in schools to positive and sustained effect

b) enable teachers in secondary schools to significantly widen and develop their pedagogical skills and repertoire and apply these back in schools to positive and sustained effect.

Six 

significantly improve students’ transition experiences, particularly between phases, and improve student progression at times of transition from one key stage to the next (particularly where incorporating cross-age/phase peer mentoring and collaborative learning).

“Pupils built many positive relationships with each other and with the staff and developed a range of valuable skills.”

CUREE thematic report, Hypothesis 3: Transition

Seven 

a) offer rich opportunities for student leadership and facilitation of learning that can be extended and sustained back in school to positive effect

b) offer rich opportunities for student co-design and facilitation of learning that can be extended and sustained back in school to positive effect.

Eight 

significantly boost cohesion, interpersonal relationships and a sense of belonging across a cohort of students or whole school community.

Nine 

significantly improve students’ resilience, self-confidence, and sense of wellbeing.

 

Read more about evaluating residentials here.

 

Be inspired by our case studies from Learning Away schools.

Explore Getting Started and 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.