He’s head of Scout Adventures, and the new chairman of the Learning Away Consortium. Asa Gurden tells us how he got involved and why the Brilliant Residentials campaign is so important.
I was recently asked “so you’re the new chair of the Learning Away Consortium, what’s that all about?” It got me thinking about how I got here and about why Scout Adventures remains committed to the Consortium and the Brilliant Residentials Campaign.
The answers to the above are closely linked. How I got here in itself is routed in some amazing teachers who saw the value of residential experiences and, of course the experiences I had in the Scouts. Like so many of you, without these early experiences in my youth and into adulthood I would certainly not be able to communicate as effectively, be as confident and resilient and have developed the necessary social skills that have allowed me to thrive in my career, in volunteer roles and in life generally.
So then I got to thinking why do we at Scout Adventures feel that this campaign is so important and therefore commit some of our time and energy to it? It’s simple really, we all believe that all students should have access to Brilliant Residentials. We want to help people go on the journey either by starting to use residentials or improving their current practice and making these experiences accessible to all.
So why do we believe this campaign is so important? Firstly it’s clearly aligned to the work of The Scouts. Our recently launched strategy is all about getting more young people from all backgrounds to Do more, Learn more, Be more and gain these all important skills for life but this isn’t new the seeds of our organisation came from a “Brilliant Residential” over 100 years ago.
Most people realise that great things can happen in the outdoors and especially in the residential setting. The great thing about the Brilliant Residentials campaign is that it’s backed by research and the results speak for themselves.
It raises attainment: 75% of Secondary students said “I have a better understanding of what I’m trying to learn”. It raises engagement: 71% of Secondary students said “since the residential I feel more strongly motivated to learn”. It improves relationships: 86% of Secondary students said “because of the residential I get on better with my teachers”. And it does boost confidence: 67% of Secondary students said “I am less likely to give up with I find things hard at school.”
And it doesn’t have to be expensive either, there are lots of ways to make sure your residentials are progressive and accessible to all. Move your year 9 residential earlier in the year and deliver part of the programme yourselves? The evidence shows the outcomes are better when teachers take a more active role in delivering the programme, and you don’t’ have to do all the work, the research also showed better results where the students were engaged in the planning of the experience as well.
Pledge your support for the campaign at www.learningaway.org.uk and take a look at all the great free resources and case studies to plan your next or first Brilliant Residential.