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 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


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

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street

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

Tel: 01753 859944

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Working in a school has side effects

Although it might be tempting, you can’t do everything and be everyone – well at least
not all the time

Working in a school has side effects – one of which is becoming an expert in fields which you never even knew existed. From an expert chair and workbook fixer to an expert product reviewer, particularly where stationery is concerned.

Not to mention when it comes to looking after the school’s minibus, because well… you may have noticed (if this is in your jurisdiction) that you are also an expert mechanic (at least in terms of topping up the screen wash and checking the tyre pressure), an expert driver, and an expert at shopping around for the best deals on motor insurance.

And whilst expanding your skillset is always a good thing (and can be enjoyable), sometimes there just isn’t the time in the day, term, year, or career to do everything and be everyone.

Thus the team here at Benchmark Leasing has for some time been working hard to create the most convenient minibus leasing packages for schools in order to reduce your workload – an arrangement whihc has evolved through feedback from school managers and site managers.

So here goes…

The maintenance

By leasing with Benchmark you will get a brand new minibus which means that there is a reduced chance of anything going wrong. Better yet, a full maintenance programme is included in the arrangement in which our professional engineers will undertake all the standard maintenance and servicing for you.

So no matter the outcome of the vehicle’s services and MOTs, the cost of repairs won’t affect the lease price.

This effectively reduces the onus that is put on the person who is nominated in the school’s transport policy to look after the minibus. Indeed, it was to overcome issues and difficulties such as this that we introduced full maintenance as part of our minibus leasing.

The funding

By leasing a minibus with us the cost is spread over time with fixed monthly costs, and can be accounted for in the budget. The PTA can still contribute by raising money to pay for the monthly payments, but there is no longer that long wait for a large capital sum to be accumulated.

Additionally, 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. In other cases the minibus can be funded through a small monthly deduction from the school’s income.

Benchmark Leasing specialises in the supply of school minibuses and because of this we are able to offer very competitive prices.

For more information about leasing a minibus with Benchmark Leasing you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944 or email

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How to afford a new minibus now

The traditional methods of buying a minibus have resulted in problems for some schools – but there is an alternative.

Traditionally, PTAs and other voluntary organisations have raised money for schools in order to allow them to buy a minibus.

Which is wonderful – except for one thing.

It probably took the PTA several years to raise that money – but school minibuses do need replacing from time to time, and one can hardly ask the PTA to start raising money for the NEXT minibus when they have just handed over the cheque for the present one!

There is a way around this, however, by using Minibus Finance Lease.

This means you pay either the entire cost of the vehicle, including interest charges, over an agreed lease period or opt to pay lower monthly rentals with a final payment based on the anticipated resale value of the vehicle.

At the commencement of the contract monthly payments and interest rates are fixed for the duration of the contract based on estimated usage.

In this way the school benefits through fixed costs but does take on the administration and operating risks.

At the conclusion of the contract you can continue to operate the vehicle under a “peppercorn agreement” although you will at no time take ownership of it.

The leasing programme can also include accident management, organised around one key telephone number. Thus the driver or the school office calls the number as soon as you know about the incident and we’ll do all the rest.

We’ll take care of rescue and recovery, onward transport for driver, the school students and vehicle, repairs, uninsured losses, and, of course, any necessary legal advice.

For more information about leasing a minibus with Benchmark Leasing you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944 or email

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Personal development and improved learning are intrinsically linked

Activities that take place outside the typical classroom environment are well known to have a positive impact on the personal development of a student with SEN.

For such activities have the extraordinary ability to raise students’ confidence, self-awareness, and awareness of the world around them – as well as giving them a sense of freedom and a new or improved ability to adapt to new situations.

And it is this personal development which enables them to experience their learning (inside the classroom) in a new and exciting way, perhaps from a wholly different viewpoint than before – thus leading to improved learning and academic attainment.

Following on from this, SEN Magazine reports: “Making these experiences a regular part of the school day needn’t involve a dramatic transformation of your teaching approach, nor should it be a cost-prohibitive process.”

What’s more, offering your students plenty of LOtC opportunities can be made even easier by ensuring that you have ready access to transport which is properly suited to your students’ needs. Which is why Benchmark regularly leases specialist vehicles to schools.

Through entering a leasing arrangement with Benchmark you simply pay for the leased minibus on a monthly basis through a small monthly deduction from the school’s income.

Sometimes, 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.

In other cases we hear of, the PTA has agreed to make a monthly contribution, particularly if it means that their children will have more opportunities to undertake Learning Outside the Classroom.

What’s more, Benchmark will take care of the minibus’ maintenance and is responsible for keeping the vehicle fully operational at all times.

For more information about leasing a specialist minibus with Benchmark you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944 or email

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