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

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 

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street

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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