Brilliant residentials need time and money, but not necessarily as much as you think – and Learning Away is working to make the case that the benefits are worth the cost. Learning Away schools have drawn on a range of sources to fund their residentials, including the use of the Pupil Premium.

More than half of the Learning Away partnerships are using the Pupil Premium to subsidise the costs of their residentials. The Pupil Premium gives schools extra funding to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils from Reception to Year 11 and is available for children eligible for free school meals (at any point in the past six years), as well as looked after children and those adopted from care.

Ofsted also recognise that schools are using the Pupil Premium to fund residentials. In their report ‘The Pupil Premium: How schools are using the Pupil Premium funding to raise achievement for disadvantaged pupils’ (published in 2012), they state that:

“One third of school leaders said that they had used the Pupil Premium to subsidise or fully fund educational trips and/or residential visits for specific pupils.”

The Pupil Premium is paid directly to schools as they are best placed to assess what additional provision their pupils need and Ofsted inspections report on how schools’ use of the funding affects the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils. So schools do need to be able to justify how and why they have used the Pupil Premium to subsidise the costs of their residential experiences.

However to assist with this sort of decision-making, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has produced a toolkit to help schools effectively use the Pupil Premium to support disadvantaged pupils. The section in the toolkit on the impact of what is described as ‘outdoor adventure learning’, demonstrates that residential experiences and the activities associated with them:

… show positive benefits on academic learning, and wider outcomes such as self-confidence. On average, pupils who participate in adventure learning interventions appear to make approximately three additional months’ progress.” 

Read more about what the EEF toolkit has to say about these experiences and their impact on learning here.

Also in this section of the toolkit is a short, filmed interview (a ‘toolkit talk’) with Professor Steve Higgins, Director of Research at the Durham University School of Education, in which he gives more insight into the impact of these types of experiences and how they can be reinforced and embedded on return to school.

Both the toolkit and the film should therefore provide encouragement to schools, helping them to justify the use of the Pupil Premium, plan these experiences to ensure they impact on learning, and develop evaluation strategies (in partnership with a provider) to demonstrate this impact.

Find out more about how residentials can be funded and what some Learning Away schools are doing to make them less expensive on the Learning Away website here.

The Learning Away schools found that to maximise the impact of their brilliant residentials and to ensure that they meet the needs of their students, their residential programmes had to be thoroughly planned as learning experiences and, as a result, some used a ‘theory of change’ approach. Find out more about this approach, the benefits of planning in this way and discover how Learning Away schools have used theory of change to plan and evaluate their brilliant residentials by going to our Planning Tools resource.

The Learning Away website also provides additional guidance on how to evaluate the impact of your residentials – being able to demonstrate the impact of the experience on your pupils will ensure that a school can to justify its use of the Pupil Premium. Find our more here.