Dear parents, carers, children and other interested parties,


'When I think about the outdoors, I don't just see woodlands, rivers and mountains; I see the world's biggest classroom. That is why I believe that every children has the right to an adventure.' (Bear Grylls) 

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An adventure to remember, a taste of independence, a stronger sense of belonging, a rush of adrenaline, a development of transferable skills and attributes, a breath of fresh air, a sense of achievement, a commitment to active conservation, a taste of the wild and making memories that last a lifetime. That’s what the Clavering Residential Programme is all about!

Children at Clavering Primary School have the opportunity to attend at least THREE residentials during their time at Clavering:

  • a two-day / one-night residential in Year 4 (for which preparation begins in Year 3);
  • a three-day / two-night residential in Year 5;
  • a five-day / four-night residential in Year 6 (as part of our John Muir Award Programme).

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British children are spending more and more time in front of screens and as much as twenty hours a week online. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that children's physical, emotional and social development is hampered by the increasing restrictions on their ability to explore the world around them and to process their discoveries on their own. Children who do not learn to take risks become adults who do not take risks, to the detriment of society as a whole. As our society becomes increasingly risk-adverse and litigious, we are in danger of suffocating our children in rules, regulations and cotton wool. At Clavering Primary School, we believe that life is full of challenges and we owe it to our children to equip them with the skills to recognise risks, assess them sensibly and react positively. After all, being brave isn’t the absence of fear; being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it. 

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 'Unless you're outside your comfort zone, you can't grow.' (Bear Grylls) 

The Clavering Residential Programme provides the opportunity and experience of living with others which transforms relationships and develops a strong sense of community and belonging between the staff and pupils involved. This sense of community supports a wide range of positive social and learning outcomes long after they return to school.


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 'To me, adventure has always been the connections and bonds you create with people when you’re there.' (Bear Grylls) 

In planning our three progressively challenging residentials, we have identified ten key learning outcomes for the Clavering Residential Programme:


Outcome: to be able to work constructively as a team member


Outcome: to be able to communicate effectively with others during outdoor and adventurous activities

Problem solving

Outcome: to be able to devise a plan, execute it and review its effectiveness in solving a problem.


Outcome: to be able to demonstrate resilience through exposure to failures or setbacks.


Outcome: to be able to perform as an enthusiastic and motivated group member

Leading and supporting

Outcome: to be able to use clear communication skills and language as a group leader or supporter to others

Self-confidence and trust

Outcome: to be able to demonstrate self-confidence in themselves and show trust and support for others

Challenge and risk

Outcome: to be able to react positively to challenges and manage appropriate risk-taking

Learning a new skill

Outcome: to be able to demonstrate a new skill or competence

Environmental awareness

Outcome: to be able to show an understanding of how their behaviour affects the environment (local or global)

Please click here to learn more about our key learning outcomes. 


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'Our planet is an incredible place and life is best lived as a great adventure, so let's get out there and explore!' (Bear Grylls) 

The below model  (adapted from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation) illustrates the changes that can happen to learning through outstanding residential experiences:

Residentials bring...

Overnight stays and an intensity of experience: extended time away from home; a new environment and routines; fewer distractions; opportunities to work intensively and be immersed in learning; a collaborative community environment; unstructured time.

A new context for relationships: opportunities to break down existing barriers, hierarchies and power relationships; pupils and teachers work more collaboratively in unfamiliar surroundings on unfamiliar tasks; the teacher is not automatically the expert; residentials are a leveller for pupils and staff; opportunities to develop and practise key social skills.

Different and varied opportunities to experience success: a wide range of practical and physical challenges; opportunities for everyone to be successful at something; opportunities to overcome fears; immediate opportunities to revisit and build on learning experiences.

New ways of learning: a safe space to explore new ways of teaching and learning; a focus on real-life activities and experiences; increased levels of pupil responsibility.

...which in the short and medium term lead to...

Enhanced relationships: pupils and staff trust each other; pupils feel more able to ask staff for help; pupils feel more comfortable with each other; pupils are more able to empathise; the sense of community is sustained.

Improved engagement and confidence in learning: increased motivation and engagement; improved behaviour and attendance; increased participation in lessons; more enjoyment of learning; enhanced confidence, resilience and wellbeing; increased ability to overcome challenges and try new activities.

New and developing skills and  understanding: new learning continues to develop, including skills in: independent learning, study and research, self management, communication, team working and problem solving; deeper and better understanding of specific subjects/topics; developing vocabulary; improving creativity; meaningful opportunities to develop and practise leadership skills; increased ability to apply learning and skills in new contexts.

...which in the longer term lead to:

improved achievement, progress and attainment;

improved knowledge, skills and understanding;

improved relationships;

improved engagement;

improved behaviour and attendance;

mores successful transition experiences;

raised aspirations;

greater cohesion and a sense of belonging;

enhanced trajectories to further study and employment.


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 'Life is an adventure that is best lived boldly.' (Bear Grylls) 

In summary, although they are "only" an optional part of our extra-curricular offer, we believe that brilliant residential experiences are a fundamental part of a well-rounded education (playing an important part in our pupils' personal, spiritual, moral, social, physical and academic development) and that the 'Clavering Residential Programme' creates life-changing experiences that have an impact back in school and influences the futures of well over a hundred of our pupils every academic year. 

The memories Clavering children take away from our residentials stay with them forever!

Best wishes, 

Mr McAvoy

Deputy Headteacher and Clavering Residentials Programme Leader


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