Outdoor learning report

Outdoor learning helps children develop and improve social skills, says new report

A Kent environmental education centre that works with schools across the UK and Europe has been praised for improving children’s self-esteem, confidence, and social skills through its residential trips.

According to a new report assessing the effectiveness of outdoor learning at Rippledown, in Ringwould near Deal, the centre’s residential programmes allow children to “gain a sense of their own individual interests, strengths and abilities” as well as “nature connection, hope and dietary awareness”.

The report follows a study by Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) and leading environmental education charity The Bay Trust, which runs Rippledown, on the impact and influence of the centre’s programme on children’s learning and wellbeing.

Three primary schools took part in the study, one from a rural part of Kent and two from an urban and suburban area of London. Some 50 children aged between 9 and 10 participated in team activities such as shelter building, using navigational tools such as map and compass, a walk to the beach, treasure hunting, and mini beast hunting.

Data gathered from an anonymous questionnaire, which was completed a week before, a week after, and a month after the children’s residential stay, suggests that their experience enabled them to gain a greater sense of their own competence, connection to nature, hope, and resilience, as well as developing a healthier dietary awareness.

Using hand-written journals created with natural objects, youngsters were also encouraged to give their opinions of Rippledown and describe their feelings inspired by photographs set in a natural environment.

The findings highlight how children view and interact with the outdoors, with responses including “being outdoors makes me happy” and “my actions will make the natural world different”. They also demonstrate the children’s positive coping skills while away from home.

If you are looking for LOtC ideas, please take a look at our Facebook & Twitter pages. But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

Email: minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk
Tel: 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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How to … reduce your school’s expenditure on school trips

How to reduce your school’s expenditure on school trips without reducing your students’ LOtC opportunities?

A Kent environmental education centre that works with schools across the UK and Europe has been praised for improving children’s self-esteem, confidence, and social skills through its residential trips.

Unfortunately, however, a high proportion of schools can’t offer their pupils such Learning Outside the Classroom experiences as often as they might like, for the very simple reason that the budget doesn’t allow for it.

But there is a solution – a growing number of schools are finding that by sharing their school minibus with a nearby school that is in the same cluster, trust or council as they are, the transport costs are halved, and thus, their overall expenditure on school outings is reduced.

Moreover, a growing number of primary schools are finding that by sharing a leased school minibus (meaning that there is no initial large payment required – just a monthly lease fee) as opposed to one which has been purchased outright, their costs are further reduced.

Better still, in leasing a school minibus with Benchmark, any repairs, servicing and the like are included in the arrangement, and the costs are conveniently built into the lease.

If you haven’t leased a minibus or thought about of sharing one, please do give me a call on 01753 859944 and I can talk you through how it all works.

But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

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Acquiring a brand-new school minibus for half the cost

A growing number of schools are finding that by sharing their minibus with a nearby school, they can halve the running costs of the minibus and thus reduce their expenditure on school trips and away games by a considerable amount.

Moreover, a growing number of schools are finding that by sharing a leased school minibus (meaning that there is no initial large payment required – just a monthly lease fee) as opposed to one which has been purchased outright, their costs are further reduced.

Better still, in leasing a school minibus with Benchmark, any repairs, servicing and the like are included in the arrangement and the costs are conveniently built into the lease.

If you haven’t leased a minibus or thought about sharing one, please do give me a call on 01753 859944 and I can talk you through how it all works.

But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

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How can your school afford an unaffordable necessity?

 School minibuses are becoming an unaffordable necessity, but this doesn’t mean your school can’t have one.

A combination of the rise in pupil population and the drive to get more children learning outside the classroom has meant that many schools are finding that they need an additional minibus. But there is a problem – minibuses are expensive to buy.

However schools are often surprised to learn that leasing a minibus with Benchmark can work out much cheaper than buying a minibus outright (especially if one takes into account the re-sale value at the end of its working life), or indeed, hiring a coach each time.

And with leasing there is no initial large payment required – just a monthly lease fee.

Better still, there is no issue about the cost of repairs, servicing and the like, since leased minibuses come with all the arrangements and all the costs of servicing and repairs built into the lease.

What’s more, to further reduce costs, a growing number of schools are sharing their leased minibus part time with one or two other schools.

There are many ways in which this can be done, but sharing with a local feeder primary school is one of the most popular. This way, the cost of running the minibus is shared, and each school knows exactly when it has the extra bus and arranges events around it.

If you have not leased a minibus before, or not thought of sharing one before, the best way forward is to give me a call and I can talk you through how it works – not least because a fair number of schools are now involved in shared minibus leasing projects, so we have a lot of experience in helping to set up such a project.

But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

Email: minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk
Tel: 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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What are schools sharing in the bid to save money?

On-site facilities are not all that schools are sharing
in the bid to save money

Schools have reported that they are saving a considerable amount of money by sharing their facilities (an IT suite, play area, school hall…) with neighbouring schools, and vice versa.

But on-site facilities are not all that schools are sharing in the bid to save money.

Indeed, a growing numbers of schools are leasing an extra minibus (meaning that there is no initial large payment required – just a monthly lease fee) and then sharing it part time with one or two other schools or groups.

In this way, the cost of running the minibus is shared, and each school knows exactly when it has the extra bus and arranges events around it.

Better still, there is no issue about the cost of repairs, servicing and the like, since leased minibuses come with all the arrangements and all the costs of servicing and repairs built into the lease.

If you haven’t before leased a minibus, or thought about of sharing one, please do give me a call on 01753 859944 and I can talk you through how it all works.

But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

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How half a minibus can be an absolute bonus – and a perfectly practical idea

Much of the world comes in unbreakable units.  You can’t really have half a person (unless you work in a mortuary and really need to do the odd bit of dissecting).  You can’t have half a football either – or at least not meaningfully.

And you might imagine that the same applies to half a minibus?  But strangely enough, the notion of half a minibus is not only practical, but it is one that hundreds of schools now utilise.

Not surprisingly large numbers of schools have a situation in which their minibus is booked to overflowing, meaning that some sports events, such as away fixtures and the like, become hugely difficult operations to arrange.

You know you can’t possibly justify another minibus, because you only have this problem a few times a week, but you also know that if you could have a minibus for these additional occasions life would be so much easier.

However, there is a solution.

Growing numbers of secondary schools are leasing an extra minibus (meaning that there is no initial large payment required – just a monthly lease fee) and then sharing it part time with one or two other schools.  There are many ways in which this can be done, but sharing with a local feeder primary school is one of the most popular.

In this way the cost of running the minibus is shared, and each school knows exactly when it has the extra bus and arranges events around it.

Better still, there is no issue about the cost of repairs, servicing and the like, since leased minibuses come with all the arrangements and all the costs of servicing and repairs built into the lease.

If you have not leased a minibus before, or not thought of sharing one before, probably the best way forward is to give me a call and I can talk you through how it works – not least because a fair number of schools are now involved in shared minibus leasing projects, so we have a lot of experience in helping to set up such a project.

But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

Email: minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

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Operating a minibus – the legal requirements

There is one barrier to LOtC in particular that Benchmark Leasing are trying to remove, not least because it is something that 34% of primary schools and 50% of secondary schools report to be the main reason for them not offering as much LOtC as they would like.

This barrier is school transport – from the costs and legalities, to everything in between.

Thus Benchmark Leasing has provided schools with a wealth of information about school minibuses ahead of Learning outside the Classroom Week (27 June to 1 July) which can be found on the Learning Outside the Classroom website.

Our guide to the legal requirements of operating a minibus can be found at www.learningoutside.info/index.php/operating-a-minibus-legal-stuff, or if you’d prefer to go straight to a specific topic in this area, you can do so by clicking through the links below.

  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

If you would like to get your school involved with Learning Outside the Classroom Week, please visit: http://www.learningoutside.info/.

Alternatively, if you are looking to lease a minibus, you can have a look at the different minibus leasing arrangements that we offer by visiting: http://www.minibusleasing.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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Learning Outside the Classroom Week (27 June to 1 July 2016)

As a mode of teaching and learning LOtC is probably the most powerful system that we have.

Our aim in setting up Learning Outside the Classroom Week is very simple – we want to encourage educators in schools across the UK who don’t engage in LOtC to do it. And we want those who do it occasionally to do it more.

Why? Because learning outside the classroom works. Indeed, as a mode of teaching and learning LOtC is probably the most powerful system that we have.

In believing this, the team behind Learning Outside the Classroom Week has been searching for the answers to two simple questions:

  1. What is it that encourages educators to become involved in LOtC?
  2. What is it that stops some educators in schools from becoming involved in LOtC?

The answer to the first question is obvious (or so we think).

Indeed, pupils and students can gain enormous benefits from LOtC that they either would not gain from learning inside the classroom or at the very least would not gain so quickly.

Such as, that learning outside the classroom is more readily remembered than learning inside the classroom. And that learning outside the classroom can also help pupils and students to develop socially and mentally.

There are also huge benefits for schools – benefits which parents are very quick to pick up on and which thus make the school more popular and parents more willing to get involved.

In asking the second question we quickly realised that there are several basic issues here, but that one barrier to LOtC is more prevalent than any other?

After analysing the results of a survey issued to educators in UK schools, 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?

In getting your school involved with LOtC Week which is running from the 27 June to the 1 July 2016 you will be privy to a wealth of information surrounding the issue of transport, 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 you find we haven’t covered a particular topic, please do email Jenny Burrows at HQ@LearningOutside.info.

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Breaking down the barriers to LOtC

How we are helping an increasing number of schools to remove the barriers to LOtC?

A survey conducted ahead of Learning Outside the Classroom Week (27 June – 1 July) in consultation with Benchmark Leasing has revealed that 34% of primary schools report transport to be the main barrier to offering (more) LOtC to their pupils.

Furthermore, it transpires that there are three things in particular that led the respondents to select transport as a barrier to LOtC: affordability, safety and access.

With this in mind we have devised a number of minibus leasing arrangements to meet the specific and varied needs of schools. To see our top five school leasing arrangements, which we have evolved through feedback, primarily from school managers, please click here.

Affordability

Leasing a minibus with Benchmark can often work out cheaper than buying a minibus outright (especially if one takes into account the re-sale value of a school bus at the end of its working life) or hiring a coach each time.

Safety

Given that the majority of school minibuses on the road are over five years old, it is no surprise that concerns over safety are a barrier to LOtC. Thus, our minibuses are always supplied brand new, so concerns over safety are significantly reduced.

Additionally, our minibus leasing arrangements include routine servicing, replacement of worn tyres, replacement of worn brakes, repair of the exhaust, repair of the battery, and Breakdown Cover for the full term of the agreement.

Accessibility

Some schools report that there isn’t always a licensed driver readily available to drive the school minibus, which limits the amount of LOtC that you and your colleagues can offer.

Fortunately, we have a range of minibus leasing arrangements for minibuses below 3500kg, which means that the school minibus can often be driven by any member of staff who holds a standard car driving licence (subject to meeting certain requirements).

For more information about the minibus leasing arrangements that we offer, including minibus specifications, maintenance and prices, please do visit www.minibusleasing.co.uk or call us on 01753 859944.

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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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