I don't really need convincing. I am (and always have been) a big believer in the power of the outdoor and residential education to develop skills and discover abilities in young people.
At a time of massive cut backs it is important that we protect these experiences and continue to offer them as part of our school curriculums. It is important to remember that outdoor learning and residential education doesn't have to be expensive. I am always surprised at how many schools opt to go abroad rather than at first exploring their own back yard or local area.
At my school in Kingussie we have a nice programme of Residential Education. S1 (year 7) take part in a local experience within the Cairngorms National Park, S2 (year 8) have the opportunity to go to London for a more urban experience while S3 (year 9) can opt into the Social Subjects Trip to the Battlefields in France. We have thrown lots of other things into the mix as well. The school now has a thriving Duke of Edinburgh Award Programme, an established ski trip and there is an opportunity every other year for a senior group of pupils to visit our partner school in Muloza, Malawi. Plans to introduce experiences to China and Iceland are also slowly ticking along in the background.
As I have already said, I don't need convincing about this particular agenda.
But, for those that do, this recent report from Learning Away titled, 'Brilliant residentials and their impact on children, young people and schools: Making the case for high-quality residential learning' might help.
Learning Away is a £2.25 million special initiative of Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
The report and its recommendations are well worth a read and make a strong case for the transformational power of residential learning opportunities:
"The evidence collected throughout the initiative shows that Learning Away residentials: foster deeper relationships between peers and between students and teachers; improve students’ resilience, self-confidence and wellbeing; boost cohesion and a sense of belonging; improve students’ engagement with learning; improve students’ knowledge, skills and understanding; support students’ achievement; smooth students’ transition experiences; provide opportunities for student leadership, co-design and facilitation; and widen and develop pedagogical skills."
For me, Sir Tim Brighouse (old friend) and former London Schools Commissioner sums it up pretty well in his forward
“80% of a child's waking time is outside of school, but when they are on a residential they are with you 100% of the time. You can cut yourself into a key to reach them in a way you cannot in everyday life.”
Couldn't agree more...