Spring into action: Top tips for planning a residential

Mar 20 2023

Canoeing at Calshot

Planning a residential trip can feel a little daunting as there are many different things to consider. Thinking ahead and planning your trip can not only help the staff involved feel more prepared but can also put the parent’s and children’s minds at ease. It may seem early to book your residential for the next academic year in the springtime, but it’s a great time to gather parents’ feedback before the summer holidays. We’ve created a list of our top tips for planning a residential to guide you along your planning process. Our welcoming team is always on hand to answer any queries along the way and you can make an enquiry for your next trip here.

Create links with the classroom

Share your learning objectives with us so that we can create a programme that’s tailored to your pupils needs. Think about what you’d like to achieve during the visit, whether that’s developing students’ confidence, practising teamwork, or trying new challenges – we’ve got plenty of activities to create the right programme for your students. This information helps us to add focus to the delivery of the visit and can help you to introduce these themes to your classroom learning before the trip. Our environmental activities also link to the national curriculum, so if there’s a particular topic you’d like to explore with outdoor learning, let us know.

Students in a classroom at Calshot

Keep parents updated

Keeping parents informed during the stages of planning a residential keeps them feeling safe and secure with the itinerary planned. We’ve laid out all parents need to know to help them prepare their child for their time away from home, including more about our facilities and a kit list for each centre. Make a note of the different items that each centre can provide, to keep parents from spending money on unnecessary kit.

Let the students take the lead

Encouraging students to take the lead creates excitement and a sense of ownership for the trip. Why not give students roles, for example, someone from each dorm could be responsible for checking the wellbeing of their group, another student could check that everyone’s filled up their water bottle and applied suncream for the day. There are plenty of ways to ensure students feel involved in the planning and organisation of their residential, and this can support teachers to ensure the smaller jobs are covered. Students could also keep a diary to share their favourite memories and key learnings of the day. This not only keeps them busy during quieter moments but is a great way to encourage sharing and bonding over specific moments.

Students getting ready to climb The Wall at Calshot

Book in advance

It’s never too early to plan a residential. If you’re looking to book a trip during a peak period contact us well in advance to find out the availability for activities and accommodation. Centre visits are also available for teachers to get a lay of the land and ask the questions you need for your trip. There are also a lot of documents sent out including the joining instructions and a risk summary. By booking early you can give yourself plenty of time to collect the information needed.

Create an action plan

There are many different elements to planning a residential trip, which can get overwhelming at times. Creating an action plan guarantees that every aspect of planning is covered, and no important documentation is missed. A few key areas to cover are:

  • Dietary information for students
  • Medical information for students (we will provide templates for this)
  • A room plan if staying in our accommodation
  • Fully informed (parental for under 18s) consent for the group members

Remember to provide the centre with this information well in advance so that we can distribute and prepare adequately. All party leaders should also read through the documentation sent out, especially the joining instructions and risk statement as these contain important information on how we run our group visits, manage risks, and the supervision we provide. For further guidance on planning a trip we advise you consult the Outdoors Education Advisers’ Panel.

Students getting ready to ski at Calshot

Our centres host a wide range of both environmental and adventure activities on land and water. We can tailor a program to suit whatever adventure you’d like to plan for your students. To learn more about what each activity involves, the skills they help to develop, and more about our centres, see our website for more information. When you’re ready to make the most of your school trip we’re here to help. We can arrange a video conference call, an in-school visit, or a centre visit to show you all that we can offer. Make an enquiry about your next adventure now!