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    Four girls sitting at climbing wall in helmets.

    Why you should be insisting on LOtC for your school residential trips

    The benefits of learning outdoors and connecting with nature on school residential trips are widely documented, and outdoor learning is now firmly embedded in the curriculum. Ofsted’s recommendation is for schools to evaluate the quality of their outdoor education provision to ensure maximum impact on young people’s achievement, wellbeing and personal development, so school leaders and educators quite rightly take their outdoor education provision very seriously.

    For the thousands of UK schools with limited outdoor provision onsite, their residential trips provide a key opportunity to ensure young people can get maximum benefit from the great outdoors, so choosing a school residential trip provider that can deliver this experience in a safe and enjoyable way is an important, and often daunting, task.

    Why look for the Learning Outside the Classroom badge?

    The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is a national charity established over 20 years ago to promote outdoor learning and to support educators and organisations looking for high quality outdoor education opportunities for young people. School leaders, parents and children’s activity organisers have come to recognise the LOtC badge as a mark of quality and reassurance when planning activities and booking school residential trips, and these are just a few reasons why…

    1. The LOtC quality badge is a national award assessing educational provision and the quality of risk management of a wide range of providers UK wide from museums and castles to outdoor centres and school residential trip providers. Reputable outdoor education providers will have met the six LOtC quality indicators (covering areas including learner needs and experience, accuracy of information provided, carrying out reviews and acting on feedback) required to be awarded the quality badge.
    2. The LOtC badge is recognised by the Department of Education as a mark of quality, and their health and safety guidance specifically recommends schools look for the LOtC quality badge when choosing educational visit providers.
    3. To be awarded LOtC accreditation, providers are assessed by awarding bodies (overseen by LOtC) who are experts in their field. Assessment procedures work to a consistent set of quality indicators specific to each sector, ensuring the same high standards apply to orgqanisations across every sector covered by the LOtC.
    4. As a national charity the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is governed by Trustees with combined experience in the fields of education, the travel sector and local government, who share a passion for promoting safe, high quality outdoor education and adventure for students.
    5. The charity’s resources are focused on maintaining and developing its quality accreditation process, supporting its members, providing CPD and training for providers and educators, and influencing the government agenda on outdoor education provision in the UK. So regardless of the size and location of your chosen LOtC accredited provider, you know their staff have had access to the same high quality level of training and support.
    6. LOtC quality badge holders benefit from inspiration, guidance and online CPD sessions to ensure school leaders, teachers and providers responsible for providing outdoor learning opportunities for young people can do so confidently, supported by a robust network of industry experts.
    7. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) annual conference brings together quality badge holders with headteachers, leaders and providers from across the industry, ensuring members are kept informed, and giving school leaders with an interest in outdoor education access to uptodate information and advice, as well as the opportunity to engage with providers.
    8. As well as benefiting from online CPD opportunities provided by the CLOtC, quality badge holders also have access to training and events to support staff training and development, including first aid training, Level 3 Certification training and virtual events to share best practice across providers. This is invaluable for the smaller outdoor education providers to help offer affordable, high-quality training and development opportunities for staff.
    9. The robust assessment process required for LOtC accreditation means headteachers researching school residential trip providers do not have to be limited to expensive, large organisations to guarantee quality and safety for students – hundreds of local organisations providing inspirational outdoor educational opportunities for students are LOtC accredited. The LOtC Quality Badge is endorsed by local authority outdoor education advisers and who accept it in place of some of their checks, reducing paperwork for schools. So schools have greater flexibility in choosing providers offering experiences at the right location to meet their budget and itinerary requirements, as well as saving valuable time that would otherwise be spent on research and risk assessments.
    10. LOtC quality badge holders undergo a rigorous re-assessment process every two years, and in order to achieve reaccreditation, providers will have undertaken uptodate risk assessments, demonstrated effective processes and experiences responding to learner needs, carried out a review of their facilities and experiences, and responded to feedback received as a result.

    The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom supports schools and educational organisations by helping them save precious time and resources, with the ultimate goal of making outdoor learning accessible to young people across the UK. With hundreds of quality badge holders covering the breadth of the UK as well as some overseas, across a wide range of sectors, school leaders can use the handy search function on the CLOtC website to find LOtC Quality Badge holders in their required location.

    What Learning Outside the Classroom Quality looks like

    If you choose a school residential trip provider awarded the LOtC Quality Badge for your primary or secondary school residential trip, you can expect:

    • Comprehensive and uptodate risk management policies and procedures in place.
    • Competent, experienced and highly trained staff able to engage confidently with young people, and expert in their field.
    • A high quality outdoor education experience reviewed and improved regularly in response to evolving guidance, practices and customer feedback.
    • Outdoor education activities designed to support and enhance the national curriculum

    LOtC Quality Residential trips at Wildchild Adventure

    At Wildchild Adventure we are proud to have been awarded the LOtC Quality Badge for our school residential trips at both our Hertfordshire and Surrey activity centres, combining outdoor adventure and bushcraft activities in a natural woodland setting. We welcome primary and secondary school pupils from schools UK wide, who choose us because we like to do things a little differently to the big residential trip providers many of our schools have opted to move away from.

    For us, a Wildchild Adventure is about more than getting children from one activity to another – our ultimate aim for every school residential trip is to help young people form a positive connection with the great outdoors. We intersperse outdoor adventure with team games, bushcraft activities and plenty of time to sit back and relax in our comfortable sheltered outdoor area, enjoying the outdoor games equipment. Our residential trips for schools are led by our fantastic team of instructors, all passionate about outdoor adventure and education themselves, highly qualified in their respective specialisms with years of experience working with children of all ages.

    Our school residential trips combining education, challenge and play, can be adapted to suit all age groups. We’re just as happy building bug hotels with our early years groups, as we are helping Year 7s identify species in the wild, and navigate the challenging high and low ropes courses on a fun packed teambuilding challenge.

    Visit our website to find out more and to book your next LOtC quality endorsed school residential trip.


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