Planning for specific learning goals

During the first phase of Learning Away, partnership schools developed a way of thinking about residentials that meant they began to plan them differently.

Rather than start from the residential’s venue or the specific activities on offer, staff began to treat residentials as they would lessons. They started from the point of the learning aims and outcomes they wanted for students and planned backwards from there, choosing a setting and activities that gave the best chance of achieving them.

Planning in this way means that residentials are naturally integrated with the curriculum and involve teams of staff from schools, providers – and often students – planning collaboratively. Learning Away’s research has shown that residentials planned in this way have a greater impact on learning.  This is because learning on the residential can be embedded and reinforced back in school, plus staff gain a greater understanding of students’ learning and what works for them in terms of teaching styles.

Staff found that planning for an extended period of learning time in this way was helped by using a theory of change, which is a way of defining and planning for all of the ‘building blocks’ needed to achieve a specific goal.  You can read more about where to start with planning residentials in this way here, and more about the theory of change, its benefits, and how to use it for planning a residential in our free planning tools resource.


Be inspired by our case studies from Learning Away schools.

Read our recommendations for schools, providers, policy makers and researchers. 

Read our independent evaluation report.