During the action research phase of Learning Away, the schools worked with our external evaluators, York Consulting, to evaluate the impact of their brilliant residentials, as well as the impact of the Learning Away programme as a whole. The surveys, survey questions and focus group activities (developed by York Consulting and the Learning Away team) are available in this library of learning resources, which also includes links to case studies and a downloadable evaluation planning template.
Planning template ^
You may find it useful to use this simple 8-step planning template to plan your evaluation.
Additional surveys and survey questions ^
In this section you will find a wide range of possible surveys and survey questions for students, staff and parents. You will find questions for pre- and post-residential surveys, as well as those for longer term follow-up surveys (ideally carried out two to three terms after the residential has taken place).
Carrying out a longer-term follow-up survey will help you find out whether the impacts of the residential, measured in the post-residential survey, have been sustained. You will also learn something about the importance of reinforcing and embedding the teaching and learning from the residential.
Key Stage 2
Key Stages 3 and 4
Focus group activities ^
This information explains in detail (with examples taken from the original Learning Away evaluation focus groups) how to use a range of different activities to generate discussion during your focus groups. It suggests activities that can be downloaded, printed and used with Key Stage 2 pupils and secondary students.
Learning Away case studies ^
The Learning Away schools have discovered a huge amount about devising, delivering and evaluating residentials. Look at the bottom of this page for selected case studies that tell you more about the ways in which some of these schools evaluated and/or examined the impact of their residentials. Reading these case studies may help you plan your evaluation.
The Walney partnership schools produced an evaluation of their Year 6 to 7 transition residential programme. Their evaluation report, which includes comments from staff and students who co-constructed the residential, recommendations for further transition support and key questions to develop teaching and learning, can be downloaded here.
Further reading ^
The following three guides/toolkits are useful for anyone looking for additional ideas to develop their evaluation (or research) plans. They are suitable for organisations and individuals providing residential experiences for young people/schools, as well as for those working in schools.
The Education Endowment Fund’s DIY Evaluation Guide is an accessible resource for teachers that introduces the key principles of educational evaluation and provides guidance on how to conduct small-scale evaluations in schools.
Evaluating the outdoor learning experience – a toolkit for practitioners is a practical toolkit designed to help outdoor education or interpretation practitioners to evaluate the outdoor learning experiences they offer.
The National Trust’s Friendly Evaluation Toolkit is another practical toolkit, designed to help LOtC practitioners evaluate their learning activities. It outlines different types of evaluation and gives guidance for identifying what you are trying to evaluate and how, using examples from other projects.