Action Research Phase (2009-2015)
During its first ‘action research’ phase, Learning Away worked closely with over 60 primary, secondary and special schools in 13 partnerships across the UK, in order to enhance young people’s learning, achievement and wellbeing by developing, piloting and evaluating the impact of residential experiences as an integral part of the curriculum.
The main aim of Learning Away is to encourage schools to make a significant shift in their commitment to providing high-quality residential learning experiences for their students. We have tried to achieve this by:
- working with schools to develop exemplary practice
- collecting and disseminating compelling evidence of positive impact
- making the case to school leaders for increasing the amount of high-quality residential learning that takes place
- engaging increasing numbers of schools in the development of their residential practice
- building and sharing a bank of tools, resources and case studies
- maximising the impact of our activities by working in partnership with key organisations like residential providers and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
Residential models developed by the Learning Away school partnerships have included a variety of camping scenarios (on school sites, locally or further afield, ranging from ‘back to basics’ to ‘glamping’), youth hostelling, partnering with outdoor education and heritage providers, and school exchanges.
Each partnership of schools had a distinct identity and focused on the challenges and themes relevant to their particular context, including the Key Stage 2/3 transition; GCSE and core subject attainment; resilience, confidence and well-being; community cohesion; pupil leadership; curriculum development (or redesign); raising aspiration; family support; and cultural diversity.
To support schools and residential providers wanting to design their own brilliant residential learning programmes, Learning Away has now:
- tested, gathered and documented compelling evidence of positive outcomes and impact for young people, teachers and schools – read the final evaluation report and findings here
- produced a diverse range of informative case studies that illustrate the new and often innovative residential models and processes developed and piloted by our Learning Away schools – search for and read these case studies here
- published eight practical, teacher-developed tools and resources to enable schools nationwide to plan and deliver their own brilliant residentials – access and download these free resources here
- produced a useful diagram that sets out and summarises our theory about the changes that happen to learning through brilliant residentials – read and download this diagram here
- developed a number of key recommendations for schools and providers, based on the findings of the final evaluation report and our work with the Learning Away schools – read these recommendations here.
Campaigning Phase (2016 – present)
Now it its second ‘campaigning’ phase, Learning Away is managed by a consortium of organisations, led by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC). These organisation are united in their commitment to ensure more young people have access to high-quality brilliant residential learning experiences. The consortium is supported by a further two years of ‘legacy’ funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The main objectives of the consortium are:
- To continue to make the case for and build the evidence base for brilliant residentials;
- To share learning of what we know works including a proactive campaign to take the research from the initial ‘action research’ phase to schools, providers and the wider public policy debate;
- To measure the success of the campaign against a series of outputs, having first established a baseline and monitoring framework;
- To create more resources to support schools to run brilliant residentials including access to CPD, practical tools and improving offers from providers;
- To create more resources to support providers to run brilliant residentials (including the development of new, cheaper or easier to access, models of provision).
Watch this short film to learn more about the Brilliant Residentials story and campaign.