Why book a residential stay?

Date Posted: 28/05/2015

We chatted to Sue, one of the managers at Dunfield House about what a school can get out of a residential stay at the Herefordshire accommodation centre.

In 1965 Dunfield House, set in a valley in the north west of Herefordshire, was purchased by a charity to turn it into a group accommodation centre that was specifically for young people to visit for residential trips.

50 years on and still celebrating, Dunfield sleeping from 22 – 93 guests, is available for schools who want to run their own programme or who would like a bespoke programme planned.

Sue and Paul the managers have been associated with the centre for the last 50 years and have an 85 per cent return rate of schools each year. Some schools bring children whose grandparents went to their school and came to Dunfield on their trips.  

What do the students get out their stay?

Sue: Often the first time away from home, (we have between five and eight infant schools visit each year), children learn how to make beds, wait on tables, try new foods, stretch themselves, learn to take turns, try new activities, learn more about the world around them, learn that they can achieve more than they thought possible, become team players and go home exhausted, muddy and well fed.

What do you as a group leader and teaching staff get out of your stay?

Sue: We look after teachers at Dunfield and aim to give you a great time away from home.  In return you will see your students in a different environment and see the greater potential of who they can become from a few days on residential.

Complex children shine and all children show a different side of their personalities and abilities. And at the end of the day our cheese and biscuit supper provides a welcome time to reflect and plan for the next day’s activities.

How do you deal with catering for schools?

Sue: Self, part or a fully catered option is available for small groups of 15 to 22 in our stables accommodation which is an ideal venue for children with special needs.

Dunfield House offers a fully catered, home cooked menu for groups 25-35 (low season) and 40 – 95 (high season) offering three meals a day, hot chocolate and snacks for young people and our cheese and biscuit supper for staff.

Unlimited tea/coffee, squash, and biscuits/cookies are available 24/7. Special diets are catered for, and we are happy to chat directly with parents for complex needs to ensure all children/young people can visit.

Can you tell me more about the management of the site?

Sue: Our established staff team ensure that the house is managed efficiently; there are senior staff onsite at all times to offer background support/maintenance, leaving you and your team to concentrate on the young people in your care.

Their knowledge of the area and service providers helps from booking coaches, gentle walks in the area to adrenaline pumping experiences on high ropes courses offsite.

Documentation for planning can be found on Dunfield's website, which includes risk assessments, bedroom planners and so on.

If you would like to discuss your aims and objectives for residential trips and/or would like to visit to find out more about Dunfield House and Stables call 01544-230563 or e-mail info@dunfieldhouse.org.uk.

School Travel Organiser's Guide