The top five benefits of 'off-peak' school residentials
There’s nothing quite like a school trip to celebrate the end of a school year; particularly for Year 6 groups. A ‘rewarding farewell’ residential adventure is often seen as both a wonderful ‘send-off’ and rite of passage into secondary school; it’s a regular fixture in many school calendars. As life-changing as our experiences are, for personal development and character education (part of Ofsted’s 2019 Inspection Framework), the benefits of such trips aren’t often realised by the schools themselves within an academic year.
Findings from a report published by York Consulting in 2015- which looked into the benefits of residential experiences – showed that students who participated in a residential experience fostered deeper relationships with students and their teachers; the value of this was worth ‘half a term’, so worthwhile investing earlier in an academic year. ‘84% of secondary students and 71% of KS2 pupils said that because of a residential, they got on better with the other pupils in class’.
A residential can also impact students’ engagement with learning overall, and would therefore be even more beneficial if taken earlier. Interestingly, a case study within the report showed that 61% of students gained higher than predicted grades compared to the 21% who did not attend.
The research, commissioned by Learning Away (formerly the Paul Hamlyn Foundation), also found a significant link between academic attainment and residential experiences. Teachers reported;
· Increased progress in learning
· Improved confidence and motivation
· Students having better awareness of their strengths and where they needed to improve
All-in-all worthwhile doing, but why book your school’s trip out of ‘summer-term season’?
1) Set the tone for the school year
Residentials give schools the opportunity to demonstrate values like trust, manners and respect for others which can ‘set the tone’ from the very start.
2) Foster relationships early-on
There are just endless possibilities for teambuilding moments at Skern Lodge, and chances to bolster relationships with classmates and teachers. Often a new-found appreciation of a classmate can make a really positive difference for those students back in the classroom, and throughout the year ahead.
3) Have more time to nurture students’ characters
Resilience and confidence are hugely important life skills that will help students succeed both in school and life in general. Highlighted in Ofsted’s Inspection Framework, schools have a requirement to nurture self-discovery, confidence and resilience as part of a ‘whole person learning journey’ that goes far beyond academic achievements. Residential experiences offer unparalleled character-building moments in a safe and structured setting. There are so many opportunities for young people to identify their own character whilst navigating new environments. Abseiling down our high tower is just the beginning; if you can do that you can do anything, right?
4) Support transition
Transition and change can be daunting for every year group, particularly for secondary school joiners. A residential creates a nurturing environment whereby every student quickly learns to adapt to a new setting, together; transferable skills when back in a new school or class. Young people are encouraged to come together and bond from the very beginning, by overcoming activity challenges as a team – and nothing beats reminiscing together by the campfire in the evenings.
5) Encourage students to enjoy new things
Residentials are all about stepping out of your comfort zone in a safe environment. There are so many self-esteem and confidence building benefits, and having this boost early-on could only help students achieve more throughout a school year. ‘78% of KS2 and 87% of secondary students had felt more confident to try new things they would not have done before the residential’ (York Consulting report, 2015)
Inspired? Make an enquiry about an ‘off-peak’ school trip here