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At Wildchild we are proud to support the Learning Away campaign for Brilliant Residentials

The importance of Outdoor Education - Brilliant Residentials Research

Set up as a special initiative by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Learning Away’s Brilliant Residentials campaign highlights 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 Paul Hamlyn Foundation partnered with Learning Away to independently evaluate five years of research carried out across Primary, Secondary and Special Schools in the UK, on the impact of residential learning. The research draws on data taken pre and post residential from students and teachers, and the results highlight the transformative benefits of school residentials. As a result of this research, the term ‘Brilliant Residentials’ was coined to describe residential trips that are inclusive, affordable and lead to significant benefits to learning and to the curriculum.

Learning Away Report statistics:

Prior to the residential only 40% of secondary students felt that they could be role models to others; after the residential this figure rose to 67%.

Post residential, 67% of KS2 pupils said they found it easier to make new friends because of the residential.

78% of staff involved felt that Learning Away had a ‘significant’ or ‘transformative’ impact on their understanding of their students’ strengths
and limitations.

In long-term follow-up surveys, 79% of 7-11 year old pupils said, because of the trip, they knew teachers better; 65% of secondary students said their teachers had a better understanding of how they liked to learn.


Learning Away have outlined the following criteria that classify residential trips as ‘brilliant residentials’, and at Wildchild we are proud to be able to tick each and every box:

  • Trips that are fully integrated with the school curriculum and ethos
  • Designed and led by teachers and, where appropriate, students
  • Inclusive and affordable
  • Collaboratively planned to meet students’ specific learning needs, and to embed and reinforce learning back in school
  • Designed to include a wide range of new and memorable experiences
  • Designed to allow space for students to develop collaborative relationships with both peers and staff
  • Evaluated rigorously
  • Supported by senior leadership and school governors.


The Learning Away report gives a number of key elements you should expect to find on a Brilliant residential. We’re delighted to say these can be found on every Wildchild Adventure, and here’s how…

  • An overnight stay that offers an intense experience, a collaborative community environment, new routines, unstructured time and fewer distractions.
    • Our canvas bell tents provide an authentic ‘under canvas’ camping experience. Set in spacious woodland, our adventures provide an easily accessible haven away from screens and deadlines, with much-needed reflection and downtime built into each day.
  • A Brilliant Residential breaks down existing barriers and power relationships, enables students and teachers to work collaboratively, and works as a leveller for students and teachers, in an environment where the teacher is not automatically the expert.
    • On a Wildchild Adventure our well-trained, experienced staff take responsibility for pupils throughout their activities, leaving teachers free to engage in teambuilding and confidence-building activities with their students.
  • Different and varied opportunities to experience success.
    • Our combination of teambuilding, survival skills building and outdoor adventure activities means achievement on a Wildchild Adventure is about much more than simply who climbed highest and who reached furthest. We recognise and celebrate teamwork, resilience the willingness to try new things and perseverance in overcoming personal challenges.
  • New ways of learning that allow increased levels of student responsibility
    • By immersing students in the great outdoors and introducing them to invaluable survival skills like fire-lighting, water filtration and navigation, children learn independence, resilience, and respect and appreciation of the great outdoors.


In 2017, Brilliant Residentials launched an extension of their campaign, highlighting the unique benefits of winter residentials.  The campaign is a culmination of overwhelming evidence and case studies showing that residential trips have a transformative impact on classroom learning and behaviour, the earlier they take place in the school year.


In the long term a Brilliant Residential leads to improved achievement, progress and attainment, as well as improved relationships, behaviour and attendance.

The research is clear – the benefits of a residential are far-reaching and long term, making these invaluable experiences an integral part of every child’s education, regardless of their socio-economic background.

We are proud to support the Brilliant Residentials campaign, and will continue to work in partnership with schools to deliver inspirational experiences for the benefit of your teachers and pupils.

  • "We cannot fault the professionalism, skill and enthusiasm of the staff. Every single member of the team worked very hard and we could not ask for more. They have the right balance of respect, discipline and keeping the fun element for the children."

  • "We had a brilliant three days – a real highlight of the year for children and adults! One teacher summed it up as “the highlight of my career”. The children loved it and are already excited about the next trip""

  • "The trip met our objectives and surpassed them. It gets better every year. We love the instructors as they are awesome role models."

  • "A fabulously engaging and inspiring visit for our children who would not get to experience these activities elsewhere."

  • "We were impressed with the practical nature of tasks rather than all about thrill-seeking. We loved the relaxed nature of our time, smooth transitions and patient, caring staff"

  • "Wildchild’s ethos matches our own – teamwork, challenge and encouragement to face difficulties."