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Benefits of School Residential Trips: Social Interaction

Alongside our commitment to providing high quality school residential trips full of adventures, activities and fun for all, we actively believe that there are incomparable benefits of school residential trips. 

In order to evidence this belief, we have looked into a wide range of quantitative research on the subject.  It is clear that school residential trips can foster improved social interaction and help build classroom relationships. 

School residential trips require pupils to take part in residential activities and live together throughout the trip. Even during a short period of time this can result in improvements in pupils’ social abilities. We have found there are three key outcomes as a result of pupils taking a school residential trip: improved teamwork and communication; enhanced relationships and community spirit. These are all transferrable skills to the classroom that will assist with pupils’ learning.  

Want to know what the research specifically says? Read on…

Teamwork & Communication 

Many of the activities undertaken on a COGO Primary school residential trip require teamwork to complete successfully. It is within teamwork, that pupils can learn to listen to their peers, ask questions to make sense of their own understanding, help others, be more accepting of each other, provide reasons for their ideas and share knowledge. These skills later used in the classroom environment can enable pupils to increasingly focus their own learning and learn from their peers as well as teachers.

In addition to this, as we are aware, part of the primary school national curriculum is to ‘prepare pupils (…) for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences in later life’. Obviously there is much debate on the importance that this should take over learning for learning’s sake (there is an interesting article in The Telegraph on this topic: “What’s wrong with education for education’s sake?”). Nonetheless, teamwork and strong communication skills are undoubtedly a vital requirement for later life, especially in the competitive work environment that young pupils will one day be entering. Therefore, school residential trips in the process of improving pupils’ teamwork and communication, will also help contribute towards meeting the national curriculum through providing skills valuable for experiences later in life.

Enhanced Relationships

As a consequence of the teamwork and improved communication skills developed on a school residential break, the relationships between pupils and teachers can be strengthened. Firstly, a longitudinal study from The Royal Geographical Society on school residential trips reports that 84% of pupils said they got on better with their peers in class after the trip. With this in mind, positive social relationships between peers has been acknowledged to contribute to children’s overall well-being and grounding for later in life which can of course aid their learning journey.

However, perhaps the most significant impact on relationships is between teachers and pupils. Andy Leader’s book: ‘Tips for Trips’ states that: ‘in trips, relationships between teachers and students can flourish and subsequently there are huge dividends back in school.’ Here, at COGO Primary, we believe that secure and positive pupil-teacher relationships can benefit pupils’ learning now and in the future. Research papers based on student-teacher relationships and academic success suggest that a trusting relationship with an adult is important to a student’s self-perception. Research also suggests that the pupils who are most likely to benefit from these relationships are those from low-income families. As a comparison, they are less likely to have a strong support network at home. Therefore they place greater emphasis on relationships within school. Consequently, the relationships within school have the ability to contribute towards greater self-worth and self-belief in pupils’ learning abilities.

Having a positive relationship with a teacher also provides increased motivation for pupils to learn. This is something that can be compared to the work environment; if you have a positive relationship with your boss in whom you trust, you are a more motivated employee. This principal can therefore apply to the pupils in the classroom.

Community Spirit 

The final most prevalent social outcome from school residential trips is community spirit. One of the key findings of a study from University of Exeter on ‘The Lasting Impact of School Trips’ is that trips can develop a sense of ‘community spirit’. A strong community spirit is vital for a harmonious environment not only in school but can also develop behavioural improvements in pupils at home. This is a result of pupils finding security, stability and confidence within their school community.

Community spirit also evokes a sense of belonging for pupils. Psychologists view belonging as another vital part of well-being in children and adults alike, with a proven impact on education. A  report carried out by The Department for Education discusses the links between wellbeing and student attainment. It concludes that better emotional wellbeing is a key factor in academic progression for pupils in primary schools.

Furthermore, once part of a community, pupils are likely to feel more responsibility. Therefore, once returned from a school residential break, it is possible that pupils will take more responsibility for educational success within their school. This also means that pupils can take steps towards becoming more independent learners which can raise educational attainment.

All research indicates that school residential trips have a positive impact on social development which contributes towards classroom success and learning opportunities. We believe this highlights just how important school residential breaks are to the successful development of pupils in and outside of the classroom and how important the benefits of school residential trips are. These benefits are something that we hope all schools who take a residential trip with COGO Primary are able to discover!