A new study by Cumbria University looking at the impact of residentials based on Brathay data has just been published by the Learning Away Consortium.
The study used data collected from group visits by year six pupils to two of our outdoor centres and looked at whether residential trips had an impact on their progress and attainment back in school.
The study results included the following:
- The residential experiences had a significant impact on children’s self-efficacy and their belief they have control over their lives
- When residential experiences explicitly addressed curriculum content there was a significant impact on their progression and attainment at school
- Participants developed a learning community that had an impact on their social skills, maturity and learning in the classroom after the residential ended
- School staff used residential experiences to learn about the interests and capabilities of their pupils. They also observed new learning strategies and after the residential capitalised on changes in peer relations and in pupil-staff relationships
- Staff could assess pupil progress in a wide range of cognitive, non-cognitive and character development areas not easily assessed at school.
The Brathay ‘ethos’ was touched on by several of the school staff interviewed for the study. This is described as a series of expectations of the children including: a positive mind set for the activities and other new experiences; an expectation of a helpful and collaborative approach; being on time with the right clothes and personal equipment; doing domestic chores. Centre staff role model this approach in their support for the children. They also use every opportunity to link activities with a broad range of curriculum content.
Comments from teachers included:
‘I like the opportunities we get to find different ways of working and different interests and capabilities amongst the kids. I’d like to work more like this at school, but we don’t have any outdoor space here’.
‘One high achieving pupil has been very shy and lonely in class. He came out of his shell on the residential speaking up a bit more. Some of the others asked him to join in with them and now has friends in class’.
‘A pupil who was an elective mute made friends with the instructor’s dog and, at first with the dog, and then with the instructor and other pupils, started to talk again’.
‘Our most badly behaved, low achieving and poorly attending pupil told the chef at the outdoor centre that he loved cooking. He spent most of each day preparing, cooking and serving the meals for everyone else. Most days, he helps prepare and serve the food in school’.