Jamie Walls, Product Development Manager of Youth Hostel Association (YHA) shares with us his top tips for getting the most out of your next school trip.

Research has found that when residential experiences are integrated with the curriculum, are inclusive, progressive and involve staff and students in planning and following up, the sense of cohesion and of belonging to a community is enhanced throughout the whole school.

According to Jamie Walls, a former teacher and Product Development Manager at YHA (England and Wales), planning is key to a successful residential school trip. 

Jamie gives us his top tips for making the most of your next residential school trip, including what YHA can do to help you achieve them.

Book early to avoid disappointment. Residentials can be extremely popular so it is important to book early. YHA has more than 130 youth hostels throughout England and Wales in a huge variety of locations and properties, including coastal, rural and town centres. 

Apply for support. If you have members of the class who may face social challenges, it is important to address this. YHA has an Educational Breaks Programme that offers support to members of the group who are eligible for Pupil Premium.

Arrange your pre-visit. A pre-visit is the perfect opportunity for group leaders to talk to staff, gain assistance with completing paperwork and get first-hand experience of the activities available. 

Jamie Walls

Pictured: Jamie Walls, YHA.

Decide on what kind of residential trip you want. Do you want it to be self-led or an available activity package? YHA packages cover a range of National Curriculum-linked topics that will bring real outdoor adventures to your residential experience.   

Fill your days. Get the most out of the experience by adding activities. YHA offers bolt on activities as half day or full day options.

Book your catering in advance. To keep tummies from grumbling operators can work with your meal times to fit in with your itinerary. Make sure you give advance notice of any special dietary requests.

Plan your sleeping arrangements. Groups staying with YHA will always be given dedicated rooms with private leader rooms, and hostels may also be available for sole use. 

Have a fantastic time. Now you've planned your perfect school trip all that's left to do is for staff and pupils to have an amazing time. Enjoy!

For more information abotu YHA, visit www.groups.yha.org.uk or call 0800 0195 465.