There is no point undertaking evaluation if you are not going to use it in some way. This section of the toolkit suggests six different ways you should consider using the evidence you collect.

Use your evaluation evidence to tell you if you achieved your aims

Has the residential been effective and achieved its purpose? Has it had a positive impact on learning? What impacts and benefits has the residential had on the students and staff involved? What impact is your programme of residentials having on the school as a whole?

Make the case to senior leaders, governors and parents/carers

Justify the experience and gather support for future (or an increased number of) residentials by illustrating to others what has been achieved. Use what you’ve found out to demonstrate that you have used your resources – people, time and money – effectively.

You can also use your evaluation to ‘sell’ the experience to other students, especially those perhaps reluctant to take part.

Review and help plan future residentials

Use your evaluation to review the residential experience, identify strengths and weaknesses, identify improvements and plan for future residentials. Are there things you could do better or differently? What worked? What didn’t work? Does your evaluation evidence suggest a different year group, venue, programme of activities or time of year, for example?

Do your residentials meet some or all of Learning Away’s brilliant residentials criteria? As a result how could you/will you develop your school’s programme of residentials? How might you make them more progressive and/or more affordable and inclusive, for example?

Give feedback to providers

If you’ve used a provider organisation to help you deliver your residential, share your evaluation evidence with them. What went well? What didn’t go so well? How might you plan your next residential more effectively together? How might the provider improve its offer to better support your residential’s aims in future?

Demonstrate effective use of Pupil Premium e.g. evidence for Ofsted

Ofsted’s school inspections report on the attainment and progress of disadvantaged students who attract the Pupil Premium. Your evaluation evidence of impact could provide powerful evidence to Ofsted if, like many schools, you’ve used Pupil Premium to fund residentials to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

This evidence could also aid any school in the process of carrying out a Pupil Premium Review

Use as evidence of need and impact in funding applications

Evaluation can also provide powerful evidence of the educational value of the experience to a range of potential funding providers, such as your school’s PTA as well as external grant-making charities, trusts and awarding bodies. Funders often ask to see evidence of need and/or impact.

Evaluation can also be used by the students, for example, as promotional material to support their own fundraising schemes.