Bulwell Education Action Zone (EAZ) is a cluster of seven schools (one secondary and six feeder primaries) in Bulwell, north Nottingham. We’ve collaborated for many years, providing residential as well as other opportunities for our young people. The Learning Away initiative encouraged us to develop lower-cost residential opportunities as we feel these are easier to sustain in the long term and are more affordable for our families.
Our children’s residential experiences begin in Year 2 with a term-time overnight camp within a walled garden at Wollaton Hall, a stately home ten minutes’ drive from Bulwell.
- A camp commander oversees the camp
- Most of the activities are delivered by school staff and / or Sports Leaders from Bulwell Academy, the secondary school in our partnership
- Meals are delivered to the camp from a nearby school.
Following this, in Years 3/4, the residential is based on the Bulwell Academy site, where two schools from the partnership join together.
- This camp is led by school staff with the support of Sports Leaders from the Academy
- A range of activities is provided, all led internally
- Members of Bulwell Academy’s staff provide meals and 24-hour security.
In Year 5, young people have a two-night stay at Newstead Abbey, in far more rustic surroundings but still within half an hour’s drive of Bulwell.
- Schools have the option to cook their own food (although not all do)
- School staff and the camp commander lead most of the activities, which all take place on site.
Our main strategies for developing low-cost residentials are to:
- Use local sites and camp to cut down on accommodation costs
- Stay on-site for activities to cut down on travel costs
- Develop a bank of activities that can be led by staff from within the partnership
- Incorporate the use of Sports Leaders to help lead activities
- Purchase a bank of equipment e.g. tents, torches, sleeping bags, etc. owned and shared by all the partnership schools
- Develop self-catering facilities (and equipment) that can be shared across the partnership.
Linda Abbott, Bulwell’s Learning Away coordinator outlines the key features of their low-cost camping model in this short filmed interview.