At All Saints Academy Trust, we strive to give children experiences that they will treasure for life. A large part of the children’s experiences in KS2 are residential trips. These offer children a chance to experience an overnight experience with their friends.
Currently, all children in LKS2 and UKS2 are invited to join us at the Bilberry Hill Residential Centre in the Lickey Hills, Birmingham. Each year alternates between learning about a significant historical period through the Arts and a science focus.
The children are thrown into scenarios which bring learning alive for them. For the history topics, children travel back in time to experience life during a critical past social situation. In the past this has included focussing on social class on the Titanic, Suffragettes and women’s rights in the 1920’s, going to Prom during the American civil rights movement and visiting Narnia during WW2.
For the science topics, children are given opportunities to try out experiments that aren’t possible in the classroom and explore topics in a hands-on way.
Alongside the curriculum focuses, children spend a large part of their visit exploring the Lickey Hills. This includes muddy walks, exploring woods, jumping in streams and climbing trees. They have a fantastic time and often surprise themselves by how far they want to walk.
Our ‘Bilberry’ residentials are a great way of covering many different aspects of the National Curriculum as well as developing the children’s social and emotional learning. Each residential has a different theme and we encourage the children to attend each year.
Often the biggest experience for the children (and parents) is sleeping away from home. The children stay in girls and boys dormitories with an adult sleeping in an adjacent room. The children know the adult is available to them at any point in the night and will be around to help settle at bedtime. Although this can seem like a daunting experience, the children have a great time sharing a room with their friends. They thrive in taking responsibility for themselves and feel incredibly grown up and proud of themselves for having a few nights away from home.
Overall the biggest benefit of the trips away are the relationships that are built. Not only do children have a chance to get to know their peers better, they also get to know their teachers better too. This has a huge impact on classroom learning after the trip as the class community has grown stronger through shared experience.