YHA campaign helps schools improve student outcomes by harnessing the power of the outdoors

The opportunity to have access to outdoor adventure is vital to develop young people’s ambition for the future, says leading youth charity YHA (England and Wales).

With *research showing that only 1 in 5 children regularly play outside and are missing out on critical childhood experiences to benefit their emotional, social and academic development, YHA has launched a brand new campaign, The Adventure Effect.

At the heart of the campaign is a film which features a social experiment highlighting the impact of young people not having the opportunity to access travel and the outdoors. The experiment also echoes the **research finding that residential breaks help young people learn to build relationships.

YHA confined the professional adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys to a room for three days. In contrast, the film also follows five young people during their first big adventure away from home and demonstrates their personal transformation during that time.

Watch the powerful film at https://groups.yha.org.uk/adventure-effect

As far back as 2008, an Ofsted Report into learning outside the classroom highlighted the positive benefits and impact on raising achievement.

Worryingly, however, research has shown that children from lower socio-economic groups, and those with special educational needs and disabilities are less likely to visit the countryside or undertake rural leisure pursuits.

To enable schools to provide the opportunity for outdoor travel and adventure to all their students, YHA’s Educational Support Programme supports young people aged between 8 and 18 who are eligible for Pupil Premium and have additional social challenges. Up to 10 young people in a group can apply for a two-night supported break at a Youth Hostel. The current round of applications to YHA’s Educational Breaks programme is open until 31st January 2019.

Karen Pine, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, who has supported YHA with the campaign, explained: “Being unable to get outside for a prolonged period can lead to stress and depression. Time outdoors – having adventures in nature – helps to build resilience which is our ability to bounce back in life. This is an incredibly important skill.”

YHA has also pledged to work more closely with schools, groups, charities and organisations who work directly with young people living challenging lives, to ensure that they can more easily access the transformation power of travel and adventure.

James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales) explained: “Last year, YHA welcomed almost 100,000 young people on educational residentials and this year we want to reach even more. We’re passionate about transforming young lives through travel and real adventure. We know the experiences we deliver through our network of youth hostels make a very real difference to young people.

“That is why, throughout 2019, YHA will be working with Alternative Provision teams, home educators and those working with children in care to look at how we can ensure that these young people best access adventures in the outdoors and breaks in nature.”

In support of the growing body of evidence demonstrating the positive impact of residential experiences on young people’s learning and wider development, more than 80 of YHA’s locations are accredited by Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC). YHA has the most LOtC sites in England and Wales of any school trip provider.

For schools planning a residential, YHA recommends the following websites:

 Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel National Guidance https://oeapng.info/
 Council for Learning Outside the Classroom http://www.lotc.org.uk/
 Brilliant Residentials http://learningaway.org.uk/residentials/

To book your next residential school trip with YHA or apply for support, visit https://groups.yha.org.uk/