Educational visits and residential experiences are a valuable learning experience. Some of the richest resources for learning lie just outside the classroom starting in the school grounds and within walking distance of school, others may be further afield.

These opportunities:-

  • Encourage and assist each pupil to achieve optimal independence in order to participate as fully as possible in the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life
  • Encourage our pupils to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and the wider community
  • Develop in pupils a strong sense of self-worth
  • Teach pupils both about their rights and their responsibilities
  • Broaden pupils’ horizons and raise aspirations
  • Develop pupils’ confidence, self-awareness and skills (e.g. responsibility for self and others, working in a team, leadership, communication, problem solving)
  • Learn new ideas, facts, concepts in a real world Context
  • Grow through challenge and become more independent
  • Know and understand a healthy lifestyle
  • Make pupils aware of safety issues
  • Help pupils understand what makes a good relationship with others
  • Teach pupils to have respect for others
  • Help pupils develop good relationships with other members of the community


West Oaks School recognises that the residential programmes are only possible through the goodwill of staff. Where family commitments allow, staff volunteer to give of their free time for no extra pay to give full time residential supervision above and beyond the normal school day. The benefits for pupils is readily evidenced and acknowledged. Provision for residential experiences aims to give each of our pupils an opportunity at least once in the Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 (16+).

Key Stage 3 and 4 are offered residential opportunities at Commondale and Bendrigg where there is availability; priority is given to our 16+ pupils subject to staff availability and risk assessments.  Herd Farm on the outskirts of Leeds is a further residential setting used to support the Key Stage 3 and 4 curriculum. Wherever possible other groups will visit the residential setting on a day visit, this enables the younger pupils to see the setting before their residential experience is offered.

At 16+ the opportunities may include a longer distance visit to Atlantic College in South Wales. There are two sites utilised closer to the school, Bendrigg Lodge near Kendal and Fowl Green Farm in Commondale. The variety of venues allows flexibility to cater for the range of needs of each pupil, as some settings may not be suitable for a variety of reasons.

Risk assessment

Each setting and each pupil is assessed on health and safety grounds by a range of professionals including the class leader, nurse, physiotherapists to ensure that the venue, staffing ratios at any location are appropriate and can cater for all eventualities.

In certain circumstances, the risk assessment procedure will indicate that an overnight stay may not be the safest option, in this case other opportunities such as a day visit(s) to the venue or other day visits at other times are suitable. We endeavour to ensure equal opportunities to these experiences, this is carefully balanced with the health and safety of the pupils.

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