Butlin’s has entered the educational market by offering tailor-made, residential beachside breaks to schools.
The leisure company has partnered with outdoor educational specialists Adventure Central to offer learning breaks based on the National Curriculum.
Butlin’s Learning Adventures (BLA’s) have been designed by educational experts to provide teachers with customised and affordable ‘breakfast to bedtime’ breaks.
The company has carried out extensive research with teachers, parents and students to ensure that the experience brings out the best in pupils away from the school environment.
Butlin’s managing director, Dermot King, explained, “We’re delighted to be able to offer schools high-quality educational breaks in secure environments near the sea, national parks and nature reserves complete with a full range of sports and leisure activities..
“We have recently extensively renovated our resorts following our £100 million investment and our ambition is to be a key player in the market, but more than anything, we want to offer a better experience for teachers, students and parents than anyone else. We’re working hard to change the notion that Butlin’s is a holiday camp when in reality it’s a good quality resort.
“For those who can’t envisage middle-class families or private schools swapping the Swiss Alps for Skegness, we say that they should try it. They will be surprised at what they’re missing. Butlin’s is a safe environment, not just for schools but for everyone. What’s more, everything is located in one place: the accommodation, the activities and the restaurants.”
The company has provided residential educational offerings in the past. Butlin’s was once the number one provider of overnight school breaks when operating under previous owners . During its School Venture Weeks in the 1970s and 1980s up to 2,000 students spent time at the parks.
The return of these school residential breaks in 2016 will coincide with Butlin’s 80th birthday celebrations.
Butlins Caistor May 2015
Managing director of Adventure Central, Janie Burt, said, “From arriving on site till they leave, the children will go through a continuous learning process. All our activity is based on the National Curriculum and has been developed based on full circle feedback. It’s an extension of the curriculum, not a substitute for it, and will be delivered by our trained and accredited team.
“The focus is on life skills – working as a team, building confidence and encouraging independence. Schools can pick the activities that best suit them. And because we have indoor venues and can continue the programme throughout the evening, we can offer a space for talent shows, plays, quizzes and even debates.”
Some evening entertainment on offer includes giant Cluedo, evening shows, cinema and a silent disco, whereas some examples of daytime activities include beach walks, abseiling, fencing, body zorbing, learning survival skills and an attempt at a high ropes course, among others.
Janie Burt continued, “We’ll also be able to offer fantastic downtime activities like the fairground, a waterpark and west-end style shows, but this is not about taking children away for a week’s holiday. BLAs will add value to an educational experience. And the excellent feedback we have had so far from the pilot programmes has confirmed our belief that we can offer schools something unique.”
Earlier this year, a Year 6 class from Caistor CE and Methodist Primary School in Lincolnshire took part in a pilot break in Skegness to test out Butlin’s new offering.
“The entire experience was excellent and there wasn’t a soggy tent in sight,” said Matt Allison, a teacher from Caistor CE and Methodist Primary School “The instructors we had stayed with us for the duration of our visit and the activities they ran provided great opportunities for the children to build their confidence and develop their team-working skills”.
Head teacher, Zoe Hyams said; “I was part of the focus group that took part in the Butlin’s research. I’d never considered Butlin’s as a provider for residential adventurous activities before but having seen what was on offer, I immediately wanted to book our pupils’ annual trip there. The exciting physical activities, excellent programme of events and amazing staff really helped encourage relationship building amongst our pupils. We have already booked again for next year.”
For more information visit www.adventure-central.co.uk/butlins-learning-adventures.