With the expertise of researchers from the University of Cumbria and the support of the Brathay Trust, Learning Away are embarking on a small scale comparative study with the aim of investigating to what extent residential experiences impact on progress and attainment in final year (Year 6) primary school pupils.

The research will compare the progress and attainment data of approximately 240 Year 6 pupils from Greater Manchester, who will all experience a residential at Hinning House or Low Bank Ground which are Wigan Council’s Outdoor Education Centres in the Lake District, managed on behalf of the Council by Brathay. There will be eight Year 6 classes (four pairs) involved in the study. Four classes will attend a residential before their Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) and four will attend after their SATs.  The evidence gathered from SATs results will be coupled with focus groups about the residential experience and baseline personal attitudes pupil surveys conducted at the beginning and end of the 2018 academic year.  The study will ascertain whether links can be made between the personal development possible through residential experiences and academic progress and attainment in school.

The study is being led by Dr Jane Dudman of the University of Cumbria and overseen by Dr Chris Loynes (who was one of the core team on the original Learning Away action research programme).  Speaking about the complexities of the study Dr Jane Dudman said:

“The four pairs of primary schools have, as far as possible, been carefully matched, so we are able to measure the impact of a residential experience on SATs results as well personal attitudes. School matches have been made based on location, socioeconomic background and attainment statistics. No children involved in the study will miss out on a residential at Brathay Hall, they will simply experience the residential at a different time in the academic year, half going before SATs in May and half going after May when the SATs are over.”

The results of the study will be available in October 2018. If you have any questions or wish to know more about the study please contact jane.dudman@cumbria.ac.uk and follow Learning Away on Twitter and Facebook for interim updates.