Working regularly with a residential provider makes it possible for school staff to develop different curriculum themes and teaching strategies in collaboration with the centre that also include both the outdoors and the classroom. As the skills and confidence of the teachers develop so it becomes possible to negotiate more new ways of working with some providers.

Approaches developed by schools involved in Learning Away’s first phase of action research included:

  • negotiating the content of the programme so that the activities offered by the provider are adapted to suit the curriculum outcomes the school is looking for
  • buying in specialist centre staff for key sessions, while most other sessions are led by school staff (or, in some cases, student leaders)
  • negotiating school staff-led access to special habitats (such as woodland) or facilities (such as climbing walls) once school staff have learned to use them
  • suggesting developments to the centre infrastructure to make visits more practical, comfortable and affordable
  • developing new programmes together.

The Christ Church partnership of three primary schools has built a very effective partnership with a local trust –  this partnership has supported them to fully and creatively integrate their residentials into their curriculum.

An unexpected benefit from these developing relationships, observed across a number of Learning Away school partnerships, is what happens when students become familiar with the centre. This familiarity empowers children and young people to get more involved in co-constructing the curriculum, making suggestions for how the provider might be used to explore themes they have suggested.

Giving children and young people an opportunity to become familiar with a particular site also offers rich opportunities for schools to train them as student leaders, adding another dimension to the benefits of the residential. Learn more about student leadership on residentials in relation to staffing here and about how Learning Away schools have developed student leadership programmes on residentials in our free resource.

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