I have been leading school residential trips for the last 12 years across both secondary and primary settings. So many colleagues ask me "why?". The answer is simple:  
I do it because, like so many other teachers and outdoor professionals, I see the never-ending benefits for any child attending. Some people fear taking large groups away but - just think - the more children we are able to support in attending a residential, the more children we can encourage, inspire, improve relationships and develop the social interactions with pupils. 
"... trying something new doesn't have to be daunting and can result in great success." 


As a school, we value the importance of residentials and the importance of providing the opportunity for pupils to be challenged; gaining independence, courage and confidence. Sandwell's residential centres provide a place where our pupils learn that trying something new doesn’t have to be daunting and can result in great success. 


The key for a successful trip, as with planning a successful lesson, is careful planning. For our school: 
Launch Early. Each residential is launched to pupils five months before it is due to take place. For your school it might be longer, particularly with the current demand on household incomes.  
Invite parents in. During the same week that we launch it to pupils, we also invite parents in to school and launch it with them before finally sharing it on our school dojo pages. 
We have found that this ensures that everyone is then open to the same information and creates an equal opportunity for everyone and anyone to attend if they wish to. Beginning this process so early, particularly since covid, has enabled parents to pay over a longer period of time and at their own pace. Some like to pay weekly, some like to pay it in one go but by allowing them plenty of time, the choice is theirs.  


As staff, we are then able to look at the families attending and support where necessary those who want these opportunities for their children but maybe are not in a financial position to fully pay.  
We are also able to target families and children who may not have thought these opportunities would be possible for them and support them in attending. 
Are there additional funding streams available to you, such as PE and Sport Premium or Pupil Premium, or local trusts and foundations that you could apply to? Can the children fundraise toward their own experience? Some schools find that fundraising can bring the children together before the visit; helping to develop entrepreneurial skills, an understanding of basic financial concepts, and sense of community.  


For the last few years, we have planned a residential for Year 2, Year 4 and Year 6 so that our parents are aware in advance that such an opportunity will become available once their child reaches that year group respectively.  
Thankfully, due to our forward planning, we can proudly say that each residential we have carried out so far this year we have done so with all the places filled. 
Good luck with yours!  




Hannah Bleakley has been organising and leading residential visits for 12 years, and is a Teacher and PE Coordinator at Tameside Primary Academy. 


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