Start the school year with an autumn term residential

"I cannot recommend more highly the value your teachers and children will get from coming away at the beginning of their school year."

At Rock UK, we have long believed in the value of taking a class away on an activity residential at the beginning of the school year. We support Learning Away and their #WinterResidentials campaign, which shows the transforming impact winter residential have on schools and why schools should plan a residential in the first half of the school year.

Research has found that a residential trip at the start of the school year fosters deeper relationships between pupils and teachers, which develop back in the classroom. Residentials improve pupils’ resilience, self-confidence and wellbeing; they are more willing to try something new, ask for help and push themselves. Watch their newfound confidence grow throughout the year. Residentials also improve engagement with learning, including positive changes in behaviour and attendance.  Going on a winter residential will give them a passion for learning which can live on throughout the year. Last of all, you can often make greater savings with low season discounts!

We interviewed Samantha Sear, Assistant Head, at Chestnuts Primary School about their recent residential to our Frontier Centre in October.


When do you usually go on a residential trip?

We’ve been coming to Rock UK for many years now and love every minute of our time in the great outdoors. Traditionally we’ve come away in July at the end of year 6 as a treat for the kids after their SATS but this year we decided to try something different.

Why did you decide to take your pupils away in the autumn term?

Rather than taking the class away at the end of their time with us, we decided to come to Rock UK at the beginning of the school year in October. That way our year group would get to know each other better away from the class and we would build a culture of teamwork and unity.

Did you make the right decision and what were the benefits?

We were not disappointed! By the end of our first day, it was clear that we had made the right decision. Coming away at the beginning of year 6 has given us a real insight into the children themselves. Different characters have emerged, which are opposite from what we see in the classroom. The loudest most boisterous of the group actually turned out to be the most vulnerable, they were the hardest to talk down the abseil tower and needed the greatest boost to their confidence and self-esteem. On the other hand, the quietest amongst the group, who struggled academically, excelled at the activities they tried. They came out of their shell and surprised themselves. We were even surprised by how nice the weather could be in October!

Has it improved your relationship with pupils and between peers?

The team has gelled and the relationship the teachers have with the kids is so much stronger than in previous years. The children are more likely now to come to the teacher and talk if they have a problem. Barriers have been broken down and the children seem happier in school.

Would you recommend an autumn term residential?

It was so valuable to get a different insight, away from school, into our new year 6 children at the beginning of the year.  In years gone by we would invest all of this time and effort into our children in July when we were about to lose them to secondary school. I cannot recommend more highly the value your teachers and children will get from coming away at the beginning of their school year. We’ve seen the difference already!

Thanks to Mrs Samantha Sear, Assistant Head, Chestnuts Primary School

Find out more about primary school trips https://rockuk.org/schools/#primary-school-trips