Running three residentials in quick succession with individual families with an average of five members each visit sounds expensive. Yet the SMILE Trust Partnership found a way to work that was close to the average cost of all Learning Away residentials coming in at £44.90 per person per night (pppn).
Using a holiday cottage
The solution was to block book a holiday cottage in the Peak District for weekdays during term time. This not only managed a key cost, it also provided an ideal setting for the ‘home from home’ family support approach the schools involved wanted to take. A long-term contract with the owners also gave both them and the schools security over this price. Whilst the cottage was in a rural setting in marked contrast to the urban community in which the school is set, it was less than a hour’s travel away by school minibus keeping travel costs to a minimum.
In addition all the staffing came from the school team of family support workers and others. Teachers were rarely used, so supply cover costs were not an issue. Self-catering, again an important part of the approach of these residentials, also helped to keep prices down. Funding came from the school and Pupil Premium. Up to ten families a year were involved in the programme, each averaging nine nights away.
Read more about this innovative Learning Away programme here.