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All East Ayrshire pupils entitled to a life changing Brilliant Residential

News Release
10 May 2017

All East Ayrshire pupils entitled to a life changing Brilliant Residential 

East Ayrshire Council has announced that all pupils from all backgrounds across their 54 schools will be entitled to a high-quality residential learning experience during their time at school. The announcement comes shortly after the launch of a new #BrilliantResidentials campaign in Scotland, which disseminates the overwhelming evidence gathered from the Learning Away programme about the numerous positive impacts a residential experience can have on pupils, staff and the wider school community. East Ayrshire is the first council in Scotland to make this commitment.

Through its action research, spanning five years, and involving 60 schools across the UK, the Learning Away programme developed 10 guiding principles which can transform residentials into highly effective, brilliant residentials. These principles include: residentials being led by teachers; co-designed with students; fully integrated into the curriculum; and affordable for all. If delivered in this way, residentials can have a huge impact on schools, teachers and on children and young people of all ages, improving their: resilience; achievement; relationships; and engagement with learning.

Alan Ward, Head of Education at East Ayrshire Council said that residential experiences were an integral part of enabling their pupils to learn in real life settings and developing deeper relationships, contributing to improved engagement with learning.

“When you break down the barriers of the school timetable and the school walls and take learning on an overnight visit somewhere new, you see children flourish in different ways. Their confidence increases, they push themselves in new ways and they take that positive attitude back to the classroom with a new sense of belonging with their teachers and classmates. We know that residentials are much more than an enrichment activity, which is why we are committed to ensuring that every pupil in East Ayrshire is entitled to a high-quality, low-cost, brilliant residential experience.”

The announcement was made on 10 May at the annual ‘O Factor’ exhibition, an event which celebrates Outdoor Learning in East Ayrshire, held at St Joseph’s Campus, Kilmarnock.

The celebrations included the award of the most Brilliant Residential, which went to Park School in Kilmarnock. Park School caters for more than 100 students aged from five to 18 who have a range of learning and physical disabilities. Their Brilliant Residential was an adventurous six night sailing trip around the Isles of Bute, Arran and Cumbrae. The residential was made affordable through fundraising and was inclusive for all. The students slept aboard their boats in challenging conditions as part of their Duke of Edinburgh practice which also integrated the school curriculum and ethos. The six night educational experience on boats was planned by teachers and students so that the learning was embedded and reinforced back in school.  The award to Park School included 50% towards the cost of a residential trip with SYHA Hostelling Scotland which is part of the SYHA Youth Active Grant fund.  SYHA Youth Active grants support disadvantaged young people to take part in school and youth group residential trips and aim to ensure trips are affordable and accessible for all young people.

East Ayrshire Council’s, Learning Outdoor Support Team (LOST) have been instrumental in driving forward outdoor learning and residential experiences for pupils across East Ayrshire. They will continue to support the schools of East Ayrshire to ensure residentials are an entitlement for all.

Kim Somerville who coordinates the #BrilliantResidentials campaign said the announcement was a huge step forward in meeting the vision of the many organisations behind the Learning Away Consortium (including Education Scotland).

“We want more children and young people of all ages and from all backgrounds to benefit from the life changing experience a school visit with an overnight stay can bring.  We highly applaud the promise made by East Ayrshire Council to make residentials an entitlement for all their pupils and we urge other local authorities and academy chains to make the same commitment.”

The Learning Away website www.learningaway.org.uk hosts over 100 good practice case studies, alongside material to help ‘make the case’ for residential experiences to school leaders, governors, parents and education policy makers. This includes a series of practical free resources developed with partner schools from the Learning Away programme for teachers and visit leaders, including planning information, activity ideas, downloadable templates, presentations and films. Talks and workshops will also be running across the UK.

To join the campaign and pledge your support to work with others to provide more #BrilliantResidentials visit www.learningaway.org.uk , follow @LearningAway on twitter and tag #BrilliantResidentials



1. Chloe Carton from Park School Kilmarnock on an award winning Brilliant Residential

2. East Aryshire Council representative (Left to right): Willie White (Education Officer); Councillor Claire Maitland; Alan Ward (Head of Education); and Alex McPhee (Deputy Chief Exec)

Kim Somerville | Campaign Coordinator
T: 07834167648

E: kim.somerville@lotc.org.uk

Editors’ Notes

About Learning Away

In 2009, set up as a special initiative by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Learning Away began working closely with 60 primary, secondary and special schools to demonstrate the positive impact that high-quality residential learning can have on learner engagement and achievement, on peer and teacher-student relationships, and on the powerful professional development opportunities it can provide for staff.

The impact of the Learning Away experience has been robustly evaluated over a five year period by independent evaluators, York Consulting, using extensive survey and focus group data. In June 2015 York Consulting published a compelling final report about the positive impacts of Learning Away, for participating students, staff and the wider school community. This evidence showed that Learning Away residentials:

  • Improve students’ engagement with learning
  • Improve students’ knowledge, skills and understanding
  • Support students’ achievement
  • Foster deeper relationships
  • Improve students’ resilience, self-confidence and well-being
  • Boost cohesion and a sense of belonging
  • Provide opportunities for student leadership, co-design and facilitation
  • Smooth students’ transition experiences
  • Widen and develop teachers’ pedagogical skills

Read the summary report by Learning Away and the full report by York Consulting here: https://learningaway.org.uk/residentials/evidence/independent-evaluation-of-learning-away/ 

The Learning Away website www.learningaway.org.uk now hosts 100 good practice case studies, alongside material to help ‘make the case’ for residential experiences to school leaders, governors, parents and Ofsted. This includes a series of practical resources for teachers and visit leaders, including planning information, activity ideas, downloadable templates, presentations and films.

Brilliant Residentials Guiding Principles

Through the Learning Away programme a clear picture of what makes a high-quality residential learning experience has been developed, and Learning Away have coined the phrase ‘brilliant residentials’ to describe these experiences. Brilliant residentials are school trips with at least one overnight stay, which are:

www.learningaway.org.uk offers information on how to develop a brilliant residential.

Learning Away Consortium 

In December 2015, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation agreed to provide a further two years of ‘legacy’ funding to Learning Away.  The funding has been awarded to a newly developed Learning Away Consortium, led by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC). The funding will enable the consortium to deliver a campaign which will aim to increase the number of young people taking part in residentials and improve the quality of residential provision. Members and advisors of the Consortium are:

  • Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) – the lead organisation
  • Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC)
  • Brathay Trust
  • British Activity Providers Association (BAPA)
  • Education Scotland
  • English Outdoor Council (EOC)
  • Field Studies Council (FSC)
  • Girl Guiding
  • Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL)
  • Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (OEAP)
  • Royal Geographical Society (RGS)
  • Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT)
  • The Scout Association
  • Youth Hostels Association (YHA)

About the Paul Hamlyn Foundation 

Learning Away was founded and initially developed by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation is an independent funder working to help people realise their potential and lead more creative, fulfilling, and enjoyable lives.  The Foundation was established by Paul Hamlyn in 1987. Upon his death in 2001, he left most of his estate to the Foundation, creating one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK.

Its mission is to help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation has a particular interest in supporting young people and a strong belief in the importance of the arts.

Find out more at: www.phf.org.uk