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How to ease the transition into secondary school with a residential trip.

16 May 2024

Ease the transition into secondary school with a residential trip.

Transitioning to secondary school can be a little daunting for children and parents. It’s a huge moment in a young person’s life and personal development, as well as in their education. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking knowing they will be in a new building, with new teachers, new lessons, and trying to make new friends.

Residential trips can be a great way to ensure that your new students have a positive start at their new school. Transitional residential school trips come early in year 7 as they allow students to step into their new school environment as part of a welcoming and nurturing community, full of bonding opportunities.

Changing the way we see residential trips.

Most primary schools have a residential trip at the end of the final school year for two reasons. Firstly, to introduce young people to some of the resilience and independence they will need moving forward. Secondly, to celebrate the end of exams and have a last hurrah with the friends they’ve known since Reception class. Year 6 trips are fantastic and schools, students and parents find them beneficial.

Even with a primary school trip, Year 7 can come as a shock. Students transitioning from primary to secondary leave the comfort of their primary. It’s a significant change for young people who will have been familiar with their teachers, staff, and other students.

A residential trip when starting secondary school can be a hugely beneficial part of the Year 7 transition strategy to allow students to:

  • Get to meet and know their new schoolmates and share experiences throughout the trip
  • Get to meet and know some of their new teachers.
  • Start building necessary knowledge for secondary school, including the school’s expectations of them.

Building a Year 7 residential trip into your transition strategy.

A residential trip can be a key and extremely effective part of a secondary school’s transition strategy. A great residential trip offers young people an invaluable opportunity to build skills and relationships in a different environment, and away from the academic pressures of the classroom.

The right residential trip for secondary schools can support schools and young people to:

  • Build friendships with their new peers.
  • Being in a different environment with activities that involve teamwork can help young people bond and create a wider social network outside of their own class.
  • Learn and demonstrate skills or talents they may not have the opportunity to use in the classroom.
  • Allow teachers and students the space and time to get to know each other and build trust and respect outside the classroom.
  • Introduce some new elements of secondary education in a fun, unique, and immersive way.

6 reasons a residential trip for secondary schools can support the school transition.

Tailored Itineraries.

With an activity provider such as Rootd, you can work with your provider to build a bespoke itinerary, which will support students and teachers with the key elements needed.

Promoting positive mental health.

A residential trip for secondary schools can promote positive mental health in several ways including:

  • Providing a safe space for students to feel empowered to express their emotions. This may be while engaging in physical activities or during time around the campfire.
  • Ensuring all the staff accompanying the trip have the skills and training to be aware of student’s needs, which can be easily tailored.
  • Creating time for students to communicate with each other as well as the accompanying adults on the trip.

Setting ground rules.

New students will be expected to quickly learn and abide by new school rules. During the residential trip, students can take part in activities that demonstrate why those rules and values are so important. In a positive and tangible way, activities can help cement your schools’ values.

Building teacher trust and respect.

On a residential trip for secondary schools, the safeguarding and group management responsibility is handed over to the activity providers, such as Rootd, leaving teachers free to enjoy activities with students, demonstrate their fun side, and build bonds with students who can get to know their teacher as someone they can trust and relate to.

Demonstrate new elements of secondary education.

According to Teachwire, residential trips are hugely beneficial for young people’s academic outcomes and their wider development, and a residential trip for secondary schools is also a great opportunity for teaching in a different way.

You can build in teaching examples into your itinerary, such as:

  • Fieldwork and map skills for geography
  • Observational art and creativity for art or drama
  • Personal wellbeing, living within a small community, and learning personal responsibility for PSHE
  • Sustainable product design for design and technology
  • Cause and effect for science
  • Physical development and activities for P.E.

Life beyond education.

As well as the educational and school-related elements, a residential trip for secondary schools is a unique opportunity for personal development and to boost confidence as it gives:

  • Time and space to just be and to spend time with (and create new) friends, without having to rush and fit in with a busy timetable.
  • The opportunity to enjoy the simple things like nature, fresh air, friendships, and fun.
  • Happily unplugged from devices.


When should you run a residential trip for secondary schools?

It is ideal if you hold your transition residential trip as close to the start of the new school year as possible because:

  • This will have the most positive and long-lasting impact.
  • It will form part of the settling in experience.
  • Students can start the year with a friendship base beyond the people in their class.
  • Teachers can identify students’ strengths, skills, and needs to best support them in the classroom throughout the coming year.


Book your Rootd residential trip for secondary schools to support your incoming students.

At Rootd, we do all of the above and more and our adventures create unforgettable memories, with our team of experienced, inspiring, and passionate trip leaders, who are often described as a student’s, “Best part of the trip!”

We’re LOTC (learning outside the classroom) certified, find out why 95% of schools rebook a trip with us.

Get in touch to discuss the perfect residential trip for your secondary school.