Why winter could be better than summer (yes, really!)
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Why winter could be better than summer (yes, really!)

Unsurprisingly, we think residentials make for the best kind of learning. They get young people out of their everyday environments and challenge them in ways they’ve never been challenged before.

But one thing that’s been challenging us, is convincing others that a winter residential is just as good (maybe even better) as a summer residential.

We’re championing Learning Away’s #WinterResidential campaign to show you all the reasons why embarking on an Outward Bound course during the winter months is an opportunity not to be missed. Don’t be shy, read on!

They make for perfect timing

Why plan your Outward Bound trip for the spring or summer term, just before schools break up? You could find that all the enthusiasm for learning and stronger friendships whipped up in a residential setting struggle to maintain themselves over the summer break. How many times have you been left thinking “I’ve seen a whole new side to this pupil if only I’d been able to draw it out sooner in the year, they would have really excelled”.

Winter courses – taking place in the autumn and winter terms – are the perfect time to maximise their impact across the school year. Staff and students get to know each other better, young people make new friends, and the learning that takes place has a chance to be reinforced back in school.

The environment is at its finest

A winter residential means an opportunity to see the wilderness looking particularly spectacular. We bet your bottom dollar that young people are much less likely to have experienced a snow-capped mountain or dug out and slept in a snow hole. Autumn, winter and early spring are great times to get young people outdoors. We don’t suppose you’ll want to spend too long lingering in the Aberdovey estuary, but what better way to build resilience and independence than working outdoors in the glorious British winter time?

What’s more, winter opens up the possibility of new activities we couldn’t do in the summer – astronomy, night walks and different wildlife – which all create diverse learning opportunities.

We’re set up for it

We get it – the weather can be bracing, and that’s your main concern, right? Well, it needn’t be. Yes, our instructors are hardcore, but they don’t expect their groups to be channelling their inner Bear Grylls. We’ve got all the gear you’ll need to stay within the realm of comfortable – even when we’re pushing your comfort zones. We’re also able to take groups out on overnight expeditions year round – so you won’t miss out on a night under the stars if you pay us a visit during the winter months.

Ideal for character building

Everyone is talking about ‘character’ – encompassing those attitudes, skills and behaviours, such as confidence, motivation and resilience, that allow young people to succeed in all spheres of life. Developing character is about helping young people learn how to respond to setbacks, manage their emotions and cope with difficult situations. And a winter Outward Bound course is arguably the epitome of character building. The task of tackling the challenges that our instructors set is heightened by tough wintery conditions in our remote centre locations, and the successes are all the sweeter for it. The learning factor can only be increased when the going gets tough and the experience becomes that bit more memorable.

A great return on investment

Our winter courses are cheaper (if this doesn’t tempt you we don’t know what will) which saves your school money and means you’re getting a better return on your investment. We even have extra funding available in the winter for those that really need it.


We know that only a small percentage of pupils each year take part in residentials – one of the biggest barriers to taking part is cost, and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are much less likely to be able to go. Going on an Outward Bound course in winter makes it that bit more affordable, and therefore more inclusive. Creating an opportunity where more young people can go Outward Bound means maximising the benefits of the residential experience.

Further Reading

Winter taster course

Join us at our free taster course on 22-23 November on supporting young people's mental health and wellbeing.

Winter funding

We provide funding to those that really need it. Over 80% of our education participants received funding last year.