School trips Land & Wave

Accessible Adventure: Pupil Premium and the Great Outdoors

Schools Manager, Richard Lloyd, looks at how Pupil Premium funding plays an important role in enabling children to access the great outdoors.

7 minute read...

Schools Manager, Richard Lloyd, looks at how Pupil Premium funding plays an important role in enabling children to access the great outdoors.

We’re firm believers that adventure should be accessible to everyone. We have lots of schools who successfully use Pupil Premium funding to fund or part-fund Land & Wave school residentials for their pupils.

Education Endowment Trust research suggests that, on average, pupils who regularly participate in outdoor learning appear to make approximately four months’ additional academic progress as a result of these benefits. That’s amazing!

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I’ve had lots of conversations with school teachers visiting Land & Wave this Autumn, who really rate the amazing impact an outdoor adventure trip has on their students. These benefits (improved communication skills, stronger friendships and collaboration, more focussed children, better attainment) seem to last throughout the remainder of the school year - a huge bonus for teaching staff and students alike.

In a recent four-year research study involving children in 125 schools in the south of England, Natural England found that 92% of pupils enjoyed their lessons more when outdoors, with 90% feeling happier and healthier as a result.

So how can Pupil Premium help students and teachers?

Pupil Premium funding is currently set at £1320pp for primary school children and £935pp for secondary school children. Every eligible child registered for free school meals should receive this. Additional funding is also available for service children and looked-after children.

Schools are accountable for the effective use of the funding. The Department for Education states “We believe that schools should be able to decide how best to do this, including how to determine and describe the impact”.

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Is Outdoor Adventure worth spending Pupil Premium Funding on?

There have been loads of studies that support the theory that outdoor education has a positive effect on children’s learning and behaviour.

Fuller, Powell and Fox (2016) found that outdoor residential experiences for those children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds have a significant effect on students’ sense of confidence, efficacy and has a significant impact on formal exam results. A number of researchers have also highlighted that outdoor learning has a positive effect on attainment as well as self confidence (Hirch 2007; Standford, Armoura and Warnington, 2006).

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So what about Ofsted? Can a school tick all the Ofsted boxes and use Pupil Premium spending effectively?

Ofsted’s report ‘How schools are using the Pupil Premium funding to raise achievement for disadvantaged pupils’ (2012) explains “A third of schools had used Pupil Premium to subsidise or pay for educational trips and residential trips” and “Some schools provided financial assistance in those circumstances where money might be a barrier to equality of access”.

Ofsted also found that that one third of primary school’s governors or committee had no specific focus on Pupil Premium spending.

It’s clear that when schools set clear objectives for their Pupil Premium funding, student success is much more likely. Ofsted applauds schools with a focussed plan for the use of Pupil Premium Funding to improve attainment.

Here are some snippets from Ofsted inspections, which praise the effective use of Pupil Premium funding for school trips and outdoor education;

Benwick Primary School (Fenland, Cambridgeshire) 28 April 2014 “Pupil premium Funding is also used to make sure that all pupils can take part in all school events, which demonstrates the school’s commitment to equal opportunities. Several pupils happily described the pleasure they had in taking part in residential visits. These actions have resulted in these pupils closing the gaps between themselves and their peers.”

West Earlham Junior School (Norwich) 28–29 November 2013 “Good use is made of pupil premium funding through, for example, additional one-to one and small group support and the funding of school trips to provide eligible pupils with the same opportunities as other pupils. As a result, they are achieving well.”

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Looking to use Pupil Premium effectively?

We’ll be honest. We’re a business. Of COURSE we’d love you to join us for your next school trip or adventure day and use Pupil Premium allocation to enable all your students to visit us.

But that’s not what this is about.

We are also MASSIVE advocates for getting kids outdoors by any means necessary. Whether it’s a 5-day adventure camp with Land & Wave in Dorset or simply setting up camp on the school field for a night... it’s all great stuff.

Any opportunities you can create to expand students’ horizons outside of the classroom are wonderful and we applaud the forward-thinking teachers that go the extra mile makes these moments happen.

Pupil Premium is a brilliant asset to help schools to help students. But it takes brilliant headteachers and senior leaders to take the reins and steer it to be a valuable force for good.

Get in touch

If you want to discuss school trips or activity days for your school, please get in touch with Rich and the Land & Wave schools team:

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Fuller, C., Powell, D. and Fox, S. (2017) Making gains: the impact of outdoor residential experiences on students’ examination grades and self ­efficacy. Educational Review, 69 (2)

Hirch, D. 2007. Experiences of poverty and educational disadvantage: reviewing the evidence. Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Standford, R.; Armoura, K., and Warnington, P. 2006. Re-engaging disaffected youth through physical activities programmes, “British Educational Research Journal”. Vol. 32, No. 2, pp 251-271

How schools are using the Pupil Premium funding to raise achievement for disadvantaged pupils. Published: September 2012. Reference no: 120197.

by Rosie Tanner

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