Survey results ahead of LOtC Week (27 June – 1 July 2016)

What percentage of teachers have been engaged in at least one LOtC project during the past year? What is the most popular type of LOtC? What do teachers aim to achieve through offering LOtC? What factors limit the amount of LOtC that teachers can offer?

These are just a few of the questions that we, as sponsors of LOtC Week 2016, asked primary and secondary school teachers across the UK in a recent survey. And now we have the answers.

You can find the full Learning Outside the Classroom report which contains analyses of the survey results at www.learningoutside.info/index.php/lotc-survey-results.

However, in this email I would like to give particular focus to the question ‘What factors limit the amount of LOtC that teachers can offer?’. Clearly if we can offer a solution, more students and pupils will be able to reap the various and numerous benefits that LOtC offers.

In the survey both primary and secondary school teachers stated that transport was the main issue (50% secondary, 34% primary). Or more specifically, the cost of transport.

So how can this be overcome?

You might want to get your school involved with LOtC Week which is running from the 27 June to the 1 July 2016 as in doing so you will be privy to a wealth of information about how to overcome this issue, including transport costs, restrictions, legalities and regulations.

This information has been supplied by Benchmark Leasing – a company which specialises in the leasing of school minibuses and without whom, LOtC Week and the research conducted ahead of the Week’s launch would not be possible.

I do hope you will take a look at the LOtC Week website (www.learningoutside.info) and take advantage of all it has to offer.

And, if your school is looking to acquire a minibus, you can find more information about our school minibus leasing packages by visiting our website. Or, if you’d prefer, you can call us on 01753 859944 or email us at minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk.

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

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What is the most effective way of reducing the impact of depreciation of a brand new school minibus?

There is one thing that infuriates vehicle owners more than anything else (other than fuel prices, which rather frustratingly seem to be on the rise again). That is depreciation.

Drive a brand new vehicle out of the garage. Depreciation.

Own the vehicle for six months. Depreciation. A year. Depreciation. Two years……

Get a couple of Advisory Notices on your MOT. Depreciation.

……………………….. Depreciation.

…………………………….Depreciation.

………………………………. Depreciation.

Of course, the most effective way of reducing the impact of depreciation of a vehicle would be to buy it second-hand (when it has already had its fair share of depreciation), but when it comes to the school minibus you want to be sure that it is safe – which can (usually) be guaranteed by buying a brand new school minibus.

So the question remains, what is the most effective way of reducing the impact of depreciation of a brand new school minibus?

One word; leasing.

Indeed, many steer away from leasing because there is a common misconception that leasing is more expensive than buying a minibus outright or on finance. However, we’ve done the figures and have found that this is simply not the case, particularly when you take depreciation into consideration and lease from a company such as Benchmark Leasing.

Benchmark Leasing have for some time been working hard to create minibus leasing packages tailored especially for schools – evolving the arrangement through feedback from administrators, school managers, site managers…

Thus, our leasing arrangements offer substantial discounts so the impact of depreciation is much less than if you were to purchase a school minibus outright. Furthermore, the leasing rentals make the lowered depreciation easier to budget for as it is spread over the term in monthly payments.

You’ll also be glad to know that if the used vehicle marketplace worsens, our rentals are fixed so the school is protected.

For more information about the minibus leasing packages that we offer, please do visit www.minibusleasing.co.uk or call us on 01753 859944.

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

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Overcoming the obstacles to LOtC

How can you overcome the overwhelming number of obstacles to LOtC?

Because LOtC offers so many benefits, most educators would like to spend more time teaching their students outside the typical classroom setting. However, many can’t offer LOtC to their students as often as they would like because of the various obstacles in the way.

Just one of these obstacles is the issue of school transport – and, more specifically, the bureaucracy, legalities, paperwork, and costs that come with acquiring a school minibus (reported to be the most desired LOtC transport option).

Which is why, as a company which supplies school minibuses, we are sponsoring LOtC Week – to support schools in overcoming at least one of the obstacles to offering regular LOtC, in the hope that your students will be able to enjoy more LOtC in the future.

As sponsors of LOtC Week we have put together a wealth of information on acquiring a school minibus (including information about the practicalities, legalities, paperwork, and costs involved) which is easy to navigate and even easier to understand:

  1. Who can drive
  2. Operator’s Licence – what types are there and do you need one?
  3. Seatbelts – the rules
  4. Taking a minibus abroad
  5. Towing with a minibus
  6. Tachographs – what are they and do you need one?
  7. Signage for School minibuses
  8. Safety inspections and MOT’s – what are the rules and recommendations?
  9. Driver training
  10. Additional reading and information sources

To see this information all in one place, please do visit www.learningoutside.info.

On the LOtC Week website (www.learningoutside.info) you will also find information on the benefits of LOtC, as well as how your school can get involved with LOtC Week which is set to take place between 27th June and 1st July 2016.

Furthermore, the team here at Benchmark Leasing have for some time been working hard to create the most convenient minibus leasing packages especially for schools – evolving the arrangement through feedback, primarily from administrators and school managers.

To see these minibus leasing packages, please do visit www.minibusleasing.co.uk or call us on 01753 859944.

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Help us outside

Learning Outside the Classroom Week is from
27 June to 1 July.  But first we’d love you to
help us with our survey.

Our survey on Learning Outside the Classroom will help us get a snapshot view of what is happening in schools in terms of LOtC, and I promise it will take no more than two minutes to complete.

We’ll then publish the result on the Learning Outside the Classroom Week website.  Indeed we already have a lot of information on the website, and you’ll be given the option to view the site at the end of the questionnaire.

If you are working in a secondary school or sixth form college, please click here for the survey.

If you are working in a primary school, prep school or middle school please click here.

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

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A child… or a maximum-security prisoner?

Who spends more time outside, a child… or a maximum-security prisoner?

Following the results of a survey which found that most children spend less time outside during the day than maximum security prisoners, Persil, the detergent manufacturer, is encouraging UK schools to take part in ‘Empty Classroom Day’ – a worldwide campaign.

The survey, which was conducted by Persil and completed by 1000 parents and 1000 children (aged six to 11), revealed that 74% of children in the UK play outside for less than one hour a day.

Furthermore, it was found that almost a third of children (in ten countries) play outside for 30 minutes or less each day and 20% of children don’t play outside at all on an average day.

In fact, separate research revealed that children spend twice as much time playing video games, watching TV, and playing/surfing on the internet as they do playing outside.

Indeed, following on from the notion of Persil’s worldwide ‘Empty Classroom Day’ campaign, there is no doubt that more schools would provide pupils with more learning-outside-the-classroom opportunities if they had cost-effective school transport readily available to them.

Therefore, the team here at Benchmark Leasing have for some time been working hard to create the most convenient minibus leasing packages especially for schools – evolving the arrangement through feedback, primarily from administrators and school managers.

Here are the three most popular school minibus leasing arrangements that we have put together to date: 

The New Ford Transit Minibus

Key features: Daytime running lights, Bluetooth, power side step, curve control, tinted glass, and remote central locking. The Trend in addition (for a modest rental increase) includes such items as metallic paint, power heated and folding mirrors, heated front windscreen, and parking sensors.

12 Seater
2 years, 20,000 Total Miles gives Monthly Rentals of £299 + VAT* (Can be driven on a regular driving license).
15 Seater
2 years, 20,000 Total Miles gives Monthly Rentals of £317 + VAT*

 

17 Seater
2 years, 20,000 Total Miles gives Monthly Rentals of £368 + VAT*

 

Renault Trafic Minibus
Key features: 62 mph speed limiter, electronic stability control, digital tachograph, two 2kg fully compliant water/foam fire extinguishers, first aid kit with VOSA approved content, electric side step, individual spot lights and air vents for passengers and rear safety doors.

9 Seat Minibus

2 years, 20,000 Total Miles gives Monthly Rentals of £318 + VAT*

Vauxhall Movano
Key features: Padded head restraints, dual front passenger bench seat, individual saloon lighting, optional air conditioning, illuminated rear passenger walkway, overhead storage and coat racks, retracting side step, and standard Electronic Stability Programme (ESP).

17 Seat Minibus

3 years, 30,000 Total Miles gives Monthly Rentals of £470 + VAT*

Prices include a Full Maintenance package consisting of tyre replacement, servicing, Road Tax, MOT’s, and 6 Monthly Safety Inspections. Based on an initial payment equivalent to 3 monthly rentals.

You can find more information about Benchmark Leasing’s school minibus packages by visiting our website. Or, if you’d prefer, you can call us on 01753 859944 or email us at minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk 

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

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Putting LOtC to the test

Putting LOtC to the test to obtain tangible evidence of its benefits.

There is no doubt that Learning Outside the Classroom is beneficial to pupils’ emotional, social, (sometimes physical), and academic development; yet there is little tangible evidence to prove this – and tangible evidence is something that Ofsted is rather keen on.

However. an article in TES has reported that two schools have signed up to be part of a King’s College project in which they will relocate their lessons from the typical classroom setting to a museum.

The King’s College project aims to test the theory that LOtC is beneficial to pupils’ development and also to find out exactly what the long-term benefits of LOtC are, as well as the extent to which LOtC is beneficial to pupils’ development.

Director of the Cultural Institute at King’s College London, Katherine Bond, commented: “It seems such an obvious thing to do.

“There is a long tradition of school trips to museums, but we’ve never come across anyone taking the entire curriculum and moving it all into a museum.”

Nonetheless, until the results of this study materialise, theory and human observation is all we have to go on, which is better than nothing at all.

And, of course, if you are planning to take your pupils to the museum, or anywhere else, and need a cost-effective transport solution, Benchmark Leasing can certainly help.

Benchmark Leasing specialises in leasing minibuses to schools and, as part of the leasing arrangement, we will also take care of the maintenance of the vehicle and thus assume responsibility for keeping it fully operational at all times.

A minibus which is leased is simply paid for on a monthly basis through a small monthly deduction from the school’s income. Thus schools are finding that it is possible to fund a minibus without taking anything from the school’s capital account.

In cases where trips are paid for by contributions from parents, it is possible to allocate a part of those payments towards the cost of the minibus.

And in other cases, the PTA has agreed to make a monthly contribution, particularly if it means that pupils will have more opportunities to undertake Learning Outside the Classroom and will enhance the breadth and scope of the school’s vision.

If you are interested in leasing a school minibus with us, please do call us on 01753 859944 or click here to see what we can offer.

If you are looking for LOtC ideas, please take a look at our Facebook & Twitter pages.

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The seven benefits of learning-outside-the-classroom

Learning-outside-the-classroom raises your school’s profile

Schools that regularly undertake learning-outside-the-classroom in their local area are able to form stronger links with groups and individuals in their community. And schools that regularly undertake learning-outside-the-classroom further afield are visible within the community through the school’s branding (uniforms, logos on the school minibus, etc.)

Your school thus has the opportunity to showcase its efforts and achievements and to communicate the school values which could lead to positive media coverage, impressing Ofsted and encouraging prospective parents to send their child to your school.

Reward, motivation and to boost morale

Not every school trip has to be based around learning. Sometimes, if there is time left at the end of term and the budget permits (or parents are willing to pay for it), the school might decide to plan a school trip as a reward for the work pupils have done, or to boost morale and further motivate them to future learning.

To ignite or re-ignite a passion for a subject

Benefit two links in nicely with benefit three. Learning-outside-the-classroom can be beneficial for pupils who are new to the school as it can ignite a passion for a subject which they may not have been introduced to before.

It can also be beneficial to existing pupils to re-ignite a passion for a subject, particularly after a period of exams, for example.

Improves pupils’ understanding of the world and where they (could) fit in

Learning-outside-the-classroom can also be highly beneficial to students when it comes to deciding which career they would like to pursue. School trips enable students to experience activities and events that they don’t have the opportunity to experience in the classroom, thus giving them a better understanding of where, in society, they (could) fit in.

Trust, independence and responsibility

With learning-outside-the-classroom comes an element of trust in terms of pupils’ behaviour as many school rules aren’t applicable when pupils are outside the school’s grounds. This thus devolves increased responsibility on to your pupils and encourages increased independence, which is of course a vital life skill.

Learning-outside-the-classroom can encourage diversity

Given that the demographics of pupils in a school are representative of the demographics of the people in the local area, schools located in an area where ethnic and cultural diversity is lacking naturally find it more difficult to fulfil Ofsted’s diversity requirements.

Therefore, by undertaking regular learning-outside-the-classroom activities (depending on where your pupils go, what your pupils do, and whom your pupils encounter) the school can offer good evidence to Ofsted that your school is encouraging diversity.

To cement the learning that they have done in the classroom

This is perhaps the most beneficial outcome of learning-outside-the-classroom. And there is not just one reason, but three that we can think of, for learning-outside-the-classroom being remembered more readily by pupils than learning-inside-the-classroom.

Firstly, learning-outside-the-classroom provides real-life applications of concepts learnt in the classroom which not only provides a greater understanding of these concepts, but also highlights to pupils why what they are learning matters.

Secondly, learning-outside-the-classroom often takes on a different type of learning style, steering more towards kinaesthetic learning than visual and auditory learning – styles which are used most commonly in the classroom. This therefore gives pupils, who learn best through movements and experience, the opportunity to learn in their preferred style.

Thirdly, some learning-outside-the-classroom can provoke an emotional response from your pupils which cannot be provoked in the classroom. Connecting their learning with emotion will ensure that the information they have learnt will be remembered more readily. This type of learning-outside-the-classroom might be a visit to a WW1 memorial or to a theatre production, for example.

Of course, as school minibus leasing is our area of specialty, if your school requires a (new) school minibus in order to undertake learning-outside-the-classroom, you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944 or email minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk for more information.

And to get notifications of school trip activity and location ideas and how learning-outside-the-classroom can be used to benefit your students learning and development, follow us on Twitter @MinibusLeasing or like our Facebook page – Benchmark Minibus.

Why learning outside the classroom is twice as powerful

In a series of experiments undertaken several years ago, adults were asked to recall events from their primary school days. Over 50% of the events recalled were what might be called special off-site events – such as a visit to the local theatre, a trip to a historic building or an art gallery, swimming lessons at a nearby pool, and so on.

This is interesting because out of the 1000 days most people spend at primary school, for many children only about 10 involve being outside the classroom.

Put another way, only around 1% of school days involved being outside the classroom, and yet these were the days most remembered by adults looking back.

Which probably means that the headline about learning outside the classroom being twice as powerful is an understatement.

When a questionnaire was sent to schools asking why they didn’t do more learning outside the classroom, the replies often cited public transport as the problem.

Fortunately, however, the days of that particular problem are now over, as increasing numbers of schools are leasing minibuses.  You can find out more here www.minibusleasing.co.uk

 

Survey reveals that 75% of schools say they’d benefit from having at least one more minibus.

A survey conducted by Benchmark Leasing has revealed that a significant rise in the number of schools that are leasing rather than buying their minibuses; yet one third of respondents say that they have looked into leasing, but decided against it.

It’s suggested that the reason for this is because there are few minibus leasing contracts on offer which meet the specific and varied needs of schools. Thus we’ve put a great deal of time into creating such contracts – see our top five school minibus leasing arrangements.

Furthermore, despite over half of survey respondents reporting that their secondary school already operates two or three minibuses and a quarter reporting that their school operates more than three, 75% said that their school would benefit from having at least one more.

On a final point, the survey also found that three out of four school minibuses on the road are over five years old, so are becoming increasingly at risk of breaking down or failing their MOT.

Minibuses leased from us are brand new, and with our leasing packages we offer full maintenance which covers tyre replacement, servicing, Road Tax, MOT’s, and 6 monthly (or more often to suit) safety inspections if required.

For more information about Benchmark Leasing you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944, or email minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk.

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

What describes a perfect school trip?

What describes a perfect school trip?

Teaching Times has reported on research carried out by Merlin Learning Experiences aimed at finding out how both primary and secondary school teachers would assess the perfect school trip.

In interviews with teachers, Merlin Learning Experiences was able to identify the priority that teachers placed on the various aspects and outcomes of school trips, including:

·         Enjoyment ·         Environmental opportunities
·         Forming relationships ·         Safety
·         Team working ·         Organisation
·         Links to the curriculum ·         Cost
·         Development of social skills ·         Logistics
·         Improving confidence ·         Risk assessments
·         Facing new challenges  

Out of these, teachers cited “links to the curriculum”, “organisation” and “cost” as the least important aspects of schools trips, with many reporting that they saw “enjoyment” and “forming relationship” as core aspects.

However, teachers clearly cited “safety” on school trips as the highest priority of all, both in terms of securing sign-off for the trip and undertaking a risk assessment.

Which naturally means that the job of maintaining the school’s minibus in top condition (for example) has to be of the highest priority.

But there is a problem. Because not only is this an issue of the utmost importance, but it can also take up a significant amount of time. And it is not a job that can be put off until tomorrow.

Of course, if the person nominated to be in charge of the School’s Transport Policy always has time at the moment when the maintenance is due, then there is no problem. But if this is not the case, it can mean that the vehicle is either being used outside its safety parameters or has to be taken off the road.

However there is a solution.

For if you lease a minibus with Benchmark we will arrange for the vehicle to receive regular maintenance and servicing checks by qualified engineers, giving you the comfort of knowing that the school minibus is fully operational and safe.

What’s more, our leasing option means that you can benefit from improved budgeting and cash flow, as there will be no unexpected bills suddenly to be paid.

It is an arrangement which very often makes it possible for schools to fund the minibus through a small payment each month. And in some cases, where trips are paid for by contributions from parents and the PTA, it is possible to allocate a part of those payments towards the cost of the minibus.

You can find more information on our website or give us a call on 01753 859944.

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

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