Category Archives: Learning Outside the Classroom

What more can you do to help your pupils with their creative writing?

Writing in an unfamiliar environment is something that nearly all successful writers do as it can provide them with the inspiration to think and write more creatively than before. Thus, when your pupils are tasked to write creatively, it can be a good idea to take the lesson elsewhere.

Whether it’s a short story or a poem, by taking your pupils to a park, busy street, reservoir or anywhere else which isn’t considered as commonplace, your pupils will be inspired by their surroundings and thus (in terms of creativity) their writing will be improved.

Of course, to do this you will need some kind of transport (unless your school is fortunate enough to be located within walking distance of such an environment), which is where Benchmark Minibus Leasing can help.

Leasing a minibus with Benchmark can often work out cheaper than buying a minibus outright (especially if one takes into account the re-sale value of a school bus at the end of its working life), or indeed hiring a coach each time.

It is an arrangement which makes it possible for schools to fund the minibus through a small payment each month, which has the added benefit of improved budgeting and cash flow.

What’s more, a full maintenance programme is included, so no matter the outcome of the vehicle’s services and MOTs, the cost of repairs won’t affect the lease price.

For more information about leasing a minibus with Benchmark Leasing you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944 or email minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

For many schools the cost of a minibus seems prohibitive but two developments have cut the price dramatically.

It is rare to find a school that wouldn’t accept the offer of a minibus if it was there, available for them.  But they don’t buy one, because of the cost.

However, two recent developments have ensured that more and more schools are now able to have minibus transport that they previously felt was out of their reach.

But – and this is the key fact – these two new approaches have to be seen together; on their own they look like interesting notions – but not a solution.

The two approaches are a) to lease the minibus on a set monthly fee which includes all servicing, maintenance and repair costs, and b) to share its use with a nearby school that is in the same cluster, trust or council as they are, so that each school has the bus for an agreed amount of time.

What’s more, many schools do then add a third element of their own to the equation – since they know how much the minibus will cost each month they do sometimes ask the PTA or other support group to make a contribution to that cost each month.

Now that is often very much welcomed since it means that the parents making the contribution to the minibus account know that is it their children who are benefitting, rather than the children in future years (as happens when the fund raising goes on for several years before a bus can be bought).

Sharing a leased minibus also has the benefit of ensuring that everyone is always driving a bus that is well maintained – since it is the leasing company that works on maintaining the bus in tip top condition.

If you haven’t leased a minibus or thought about sharing one, please do give me a call on 01753 859944 and I can talk you through how it all works.

But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

Bring History, Law, Careers Enrichment and British Values to Life for Secondary School Pupils

Hands-on educational visits with the NCCL    

How can your school get involved? 

   
Law workshop with NCCL

 

NCCL delivers memorable learning experiences in legal and heritage sites including working courts  

We help bring History, Law, Careers Enrichment and British Values to life!

Activities can include:

•Contemporary and historical courtroom workshops

•Debates

•Q&As with legal professionals

Where We Work:

•Galleries of Justice Museum, Nottingham 

Civil Justice Centre and Crown Court, Manchester and Bolton Magistrates’ Court

•The Royal Courts of Justice, London

Find your nearest NCCL education team:   

London

 

Get involved, inspire young minds and book your visit now!

Tel: 0115 9939 811 Email: education@nccl.org.uk Website: www.nccl.org.uk

Testimonials:

“It was very insightful and our students learned an awful lot about the justice system.” Hayley Bennett, Titus Salt School

“I feel that my pupils have learnt a lot from this trip and skills too; advocacy, time management and problem solving” 

Lantern of Knowledge Boys Secondary School 

 

  “Learning outside the classroom (LOtC) offers a valuable stimulus and context to learning that motivates learners and facilitates application of knowledge and skills” 

 LOtC Sectors Working Group 

Galleries of Justice Museum, City of Caves and NCCL are trading names of The Egalitarian Trust.

Registered Charity: 1030554 Company Registration: 2866265 Registered in England and Wales

www.nccl.org.uk

 

Hands-on educational visits with the NCCL

How can your school get involved? 

Law workshop with NCCL

 

NCCL delivers memorable learning experiences in legal and heritage sites including working courts  

We help bring History, Law, Careers Enrichment and British Values to life!

Activities can include:

•Contemporary and historical courtroom workshops

•Debates

•Q&As with legal professionals

Where We Work:

•Galleries of Justice Museum, Nottingham 

Civil Justice Centre and Crown Court, Manchester and Bolton Magistrates’ Court

•The Royal Courts of Justice, London

Find your nearest NCCL education team:   

London

 

Get involved, inspire young minds and book your visit now!

Tel: 0115 9939 811 Email: education@nccl.org.uk Website: www.nccl.org.uk

Testimonials:

“It was very insightful and our students learned an awful lot about the justice system.” Hayley Bennett, Titus Salt School

“I feel that my pupils have learnt a lot from this trip and skills too; advocacy, time management and problem solving” 

Lantern of Knowledge Boys Secondary School 

 

  “Learning outside the classroom (LOtC) offers a valuable stimulus and context to learning that motivates learners and facilitates application of knowledge and skills” 

 LOtC Sectors Working Group 

Galleries of Justice Museum, City of Caves and NCCL are trading names of The Egalitarian Trust.

Registered Charity: 1030554 Company Registration: 2866265 Registered in England and Wales

www.nccl.org.uk

 

On-site facilities are not all that schools are sharing in the bid to save money

Schools have reported that they are saving a considerable amount of money by sharing their facilities (an IT suite, play area, school hall…) with neighbouring schools, and vice versa.

But on-site facilities are not all that schools are sharing in the bid to save money.

Indeed, a growing numbers of schools are leasing an extra minibus (meaning that there is no initial large payment required – just a monthly lease fee) and then sharing it part time with one or two other schools or groups.

In this way, the cost of running the minibus is shared, and each school knows exactly when it has the extra bus and arranges events around it.

Better still, there is no issue about the cost of repairs, servicing and the like, since leased minibuses come with all the arrangements and all the costs of servicing and repairs built into the lease.

If you haven’t before leased a minibus, or thought about of sharing one, please do give me a call on 01753 859944 and I can talk you through how it all works.

But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

How half a minibus can be an absolute bonus – and a perfectly practical idea

Much of the world comes in unbreakable units.  You can’t really have half a person (unless you work in a mortuary and really need to do the odd bit of dissecting).  You can’t have half a football either – or at least not meaningfully.

And you might imagine that the same applies to half a minibus?  But strangely enough, the notion of half a minibus is not only practical, but it is one that hundreds of schools now utilise.

Not surprisingly large numbers of schools have a situation in which their minibus is booked to overflowing, meaning that some sports events, such as away fixtures and the like, become hugely difficult operations to arrange.

You know you can’t possibly justify another minibus, because you only have this problem a few times a week, but you also know that if you could have a minibus for these additional occasions life would be so much easier.

However, there is a solution.

Growing numbers of secondary schools are leasing an extra minibus (meaning that there is no initial large payment required – just a monthly lease fee) and then sharing it part time with one or two other schools.  There are many ways in which this can be done, but sharing with a local feeder primary school is one of the most popular.

In this way the cost of running the minibus is shared, and each school knows exactly when it has the extra bus and arranges events around it.

Better still, there is no issue about the cost of repairs, servicing and the like, since leased minibuses come with all the arrangements and all the costs of servicing and repairs built into the lease.

If you have not leased a minibus before, or not thought of sharing one before, probably the best way forward is to give me a call and I can talk you through how it works – not least because a fair number of schools are now involved in shared minibus leasing projects, so we have a lot of experience in helping to set up such a project.

But if you want to take a look at who we are and what we do before you call, you’ll find more information about leasing at www.minibusleasing.co.uk.

Email: minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

How we are helping an increasing number of schools to remove the barriers to LOtC?

A survey conducted ahead of Learning Outside the Classroom Week (27 June – 1 July) in consultation with Benchmark Leasing has revealed that 34% of primary schools report transport to be the main barrier to offering (more) LOtC to their pupils.

Furthermore, it transpires that there are three things in particular that led the respondents to select transport as a barrier to LOtC: affordability, safety and access.

With this in mind we have devised a number of minibus leasing arrangements to meet the specific and varied needs of schools. To see our top five school leasing arrangements, which we have evolved through feedback, primarily from school managers, please click here.

Affordability

Leasing a minibus with Benchmark can often work out cheaper than buying a minibus outright (especially if one takes into account the re-sale value of a school bus at the end of its working life) or hiring a coach each time.

Safety

Given that the majority of school minibuses on the road are over five years old, it is no surprise that concerns over safety are a barrier to LOtC. Thus, our minibuses are always supplied brand new, so concerns over safety are significantly reduced.

Additionally, our minibus leasing arrangements include routine servicing, replacement of worn tyres, replacement of worn brakes, repair of the exhaust, repair of the battery, and Breakdown Cover for the full term of the agreement.

Accessibility

Some schools report that there isn’t always a licensed driver readily available to drive the school minibus, which limits the amount of LOtC that you and your colleagues can offer.

Fortunately, we have a range of minibus leasing arrangements for minibuses below 3500kg, which means that the school minibus can often be driven by any member of staff who holds a standard car driving licence (subject to meeting certain requirements).

For more information about the minibus leasing arrangements that we offer, including minibus specifications, maintenance and prices, please do visit www.minibusleasing.co.uk or call us on 01753 859944.

Survey results ahead of LOtC Week (27 June – 1 July 2016)

What percentage of teachers have been engaged in at least one LOtC project during the past year? What is the most popular type of LOtC? What do teachers aim to achieve through offering LOtC? What factors limit the amount of LOtC that teachers can offer?

These are just a few of the questions that we, as sponsors of LOtC Week 2016, asked primary and secondary school teachers across the UK in a recent survey. And now we have the answers.

You can find the full Learning Outside the Classroom report which contains analyses of the survey results at www.learningoutside.info/index.php/lotc-survey-results.

However, in this email I would like to give particular focus to the question ‘What factors limit the amount of LOtC that teachers can offer?’. Clearly if we can offer a solution, more students and pupils will be able to reap the various and numerous benefits that LOtC offers.

In the survey both primary and secondary school teachers stated that transport was the main issue (50% secondary, 34% primary). Or more specifically, the cost of transport.

So how can this be overcome?

You might want to get your school involved with LOtC Week which is running from the 27 June to the 1 July 2016 as in doing so you will be privy to a wealth of information about how to overcome this issue, including transport costs, restrictions, legalities and regulations.

This information has been supplied by Benchmark Leasing – a company which specialises in the leasing of school minibuses and without whom, LOtC Week and the research conducted ahead of the Week’s launch would not be possible.

I do hope you will take a look at the LOtC Week website (www.learningoutside.info) and take advantage of all it has to offer.

And, if your school is looking to acquire a minibus, you can find more information about our school minibus leasing packages by visiting our website. Or, if you’d prefer, you can call us on 01753 859944 or email us at minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk.

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

With SATs all finished, what have you got on the agenda between now and the end of term?

Now that SATs have finished, you and your colleagues have a bit more freedom to work outside the constraints of the National Curriculum. So what will you do?

Some schools find that choosing a topical theme as a focus for lessons can be highly effective (particularly for those transitioning to secondary school) in enhancing engagement, building confidence, and restoring a love for learning.

!cid_3f35e2b6a14251ac79bc617009eb5a21So the next question is, which theme to choose? The big event this year is, of course, the Olympics, but before that we have the Euros. And lessons built around the theme of football are great for enhancing engagement among boys and also for getting more girls interested in the sport.

In literacy lessons pupils can write newspaper reports and a pundit’s commentary. In maths calculations can be based around ticket sales and the capacity of the ten host stadiums in France. And in PSHE lessons equality, respect, and sportsmanship in football can all be explored.

Then there is PE in which you can teach pupils how to kick, dribble, pass, tackle, mark, defend, shoot, and also how to play strategically. Furthermore, you could buy football equipment for the playground so your pupils can practise their (newly-learnt) football skills at playtimes.

There are Football Training Packs that contain a Soccer Target and 6 x 19cm Footballs at http://www.edventure.co.uk. And if you quote HH0515 on your order, delivery will be free.

You can place an order with Edventure for Football Training Packs at the link above, by phone on 01323 50 10 40, by fax to 01323 50 10 41, by email at sales@edventure.co.uk, or by post to Edventure Ltd, Hargreaves Business Park, Hargreaves Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6QW.

How can you overcome the overwhelming number of obstacles to LOtC?

Because LOtC offers so many benefits, most educators would like to spend more time teaching their students outside the typical classroom setting. However, many can’t offer LOtC to their students as often as they would like because of the various obstacles in the way.

Just one of these obstacles is the issue of school transport – and, more specifically, the bureaucracy, legalities, paperwork, and costs that come with acquiring a school minibus (reported to be the most desired LOtC transport option).

Which is why, as a company which supplies school minibuses, we are sponsoring LOtC Week – to support schools in overcoming at least one of the obstacles to offering regular LOtC, in the hope that your students will be able to enjoy more LOtC in the future.

As sponsors of LOtC Week we have put together a wealth of information on acquiring a school minibus (including information about the practicalities, legalities, paperwork, and costs involved) which is easy to navigate and even easier to understand:

  1. Who can drive
  2. Operator’s Licence – what types are there and do you need one?
  3. Seatbelts – the rules
  4. Taking a minibus abroad
  5. Towing with a minibus
  6. Tachographs – what are they and do you need one?
  7. Signage for School minibuses
  8. Safety inspections and MOT’s – what are the rules and recommendations?
  9. Driver training
  10. Additional reading and information sources

To see this information all in one place, please do visit www.learningoutside.info.

On the LOtC Week website (www.learningoutside.info) you will also find information on the benefits of LOtC, as well as how your school can get involved with LOtC Week which is set to take place between 27th June and 1st July 2016.

Furthermore, 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.

To see these minibus leasing packages, please do visit www.minibusleasing.co.uk or call us on 01753 859944.

Putting LOtC to the test to obtain tangible evidence of its benefits.

There is no doubt that Learning Outside the Classroom is beneficial to students’ 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 students’ 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 students’ 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 students on a school trip to experience how real-life businesses operate 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 students 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.

Link to article – https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/why-moving-lessons-museums-could-have-long-term-benefits-younger

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.

A problem with LOtC is that…

…some subjects are easier to teach outside the typical classroom environment than others

Science, history, art and geography are all subjects which can be taught outside the typical classroom environment with relative ease – and it could also be argued that learning in such subjects is actually more effective when lessons take place outside the classroom.

Yet planning lessons outside the classroom can be a little bit more challenging in other subjects, such as literacy and numeracy.

Which is why Edventure has produced the Outdoor Cross Curricular Pack – to provide you with an array of resources that will support you in teaching your pupils about the many and various concepts of literacy and numeracy – outside the typical classroom environment.

The Outdoor Cross Curricular Pack comes in an extra strong storage box and consists of  Alphabet Bean Bags, a Fitness Dice, Foam Can Alley, Giant Wooden Dominoes, Number Bean Bags, Number Cones, Number Markers, a Resistance Parachute, a Starball, and a Target Mat (Including 8 Bean Bags).

Furthermore, we have also produced a number of free downloadable Game Guides, including a Guide to Starball and a Guide to Target Mat, to ensure that your pupils’ outdoor numeracy and literacy lessons are as enjoyable and engaging as possible.

More free downloadable Game Guides can be found accompanying our games, activities, and equipment at www.edventure.co.uk.

As always, you can place an order with Edventure in a variety of ways, including:

  • on the website www.edventure.co.uk
  • by faxing us to 01323 50 10 41
  • by calling us on 01323 50 10 40
  • by emailing us at sales@edventure.co.uk
  • by post to Edventure Ltd, Hargreaves Business Park, Hargreaves Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6QW.

If you quote HH0515 on your order delivery will be free. Without quoting the code the charge is £3.95.

Benchmark’s LOtC newsletter: Turning your classroom inside out

We recently set up a Facebook and Twitter page to accumulate a vast amount of Learning Outside the Classroom research, news, free resources, locations, ideas and transport solutions to make implementing LOtC easier for everyone.

Below is just an example of some of the LOtC items that we have shared with our Facebook and Twitter followers thus far.

Research and News

School field trips ‘help students engage with subjects’ (BBC)

What are Ofsted rather keen on? (Benchmark)

Learning-outside-the-classroom benefits report (Benchmark)

The joys of learning outside the classroom (SEN Magazine)

Children need more geography field trips says Michael Palin (The Telegraph)

How a school turned around its GCSE results by taking learning outdoors (TES)

We need fewer exams and more wilderness in education (The Guardian)

Free LOtC Resources

Educational talks for your class – www.thelondonbridgeexperience.com/groups

Educational resources and services – www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/

Teacher packs and worksheets – www.haynesmotormuseum.com/home/discover-learn.php

Workshops – www.abingdon.gov.uk/museum/schools

Free LOtC resources from Woodland Trust and The Pod

School trip locations and ideas

BECKs Training – outdoor activities and leadership and team building programs.

Woodland Ways – offers in depth instruction in Bushcraft & Survival Skills

The Muckleburgh Military Collection – the largest privately owned military Museum in the UK

Field Trip to the Apple Store – Inspiring collaboration and creativity

For more Learning Outside the Classroom locations, ideas, free resources, research, news, and school transport solutions, follow us on Twitter @MinibusLeasing or like our Facebook page – Benchmark Minibus.

For more information about Benchmark Leasing you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944, or email minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk.

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Eton
Berkshire
SL4 6AS

www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Tel: 01753 859944

When it comes to minibuses and school budgets, an “expensive” minibus and an “unaffordable” minibus are two very different things.

It is a fact that minibuses are expensive. And at one point they were expensive to the point of being unaffordable as school budgets quite simply could not accommodate the large upfront expense that buying a minibus entailed.

However, schools have found a way to get around this expense so they can have a school minibus parked in the grounds of their school ready for the next school trip, away game, etc.

They have discovered that a school minibus is usually affordable under a leasing agreement that has been designed specifically with the school (and the school’s budget) in mind.

Through this arrangement the minibus leasing company not only leases out the minibus, but is also fully responsible for the maintenance of the minibus and for keeping the vehicle 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 and some schools are finding that it is possible to fund the minibus without actually 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.

Benchmark Leasing specialises in the supply and maintenance of school minibuses. If you are interested in the benefits of a minibus do call us on 01753 859944 or click here to see what we can offer.

To get notifications of learning-outside-the-classroom activity and location ideas and how LOtC can be used to benefit your pupils’ learning and development, follow us on Twitter @MinibusLeasing or like our Facebook page – Benchmark Minibus.

Transforming your pupils into citizen scientists with The Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust is asking for more people to become citizen scientists and help them with their quest of studying, observing, and recording the natural world.

This is a great opportunity to get your pupils involved in spotting and recording critical pieces of information in your school’s local area which “simply couldn’t be collected via conventional science alone.”

You can register to participate in The Nature’s Calendar Survey[1] where your pupils can “record and view seasonal events that show the impact of climate change on our wildlife”, or find out which trees are infected with pests and diseases and how you can help by applying for a Disease Recovery Tree Pack[2].

It is also worth noting that some schools are eligible to receive free tree packs[3].

Likewise, The Pod also runs a citizen science programme with which you can get involved[4]. Once you’ve signed up you’ll have access to supporting resources, including: a presentation, lesson plans with curriculum links, an information pack for background information on birds and climate change, a data sheet, and identification posters.

Benchmark has created a Facebook and Twitter page especially for schools where we post and tweet a constant stream of activity and location ideas for learning-outside-the-classroom in your school’s grounds, local area, and further afield.

To get notifications of learning-outside-the-classroom activity and location ideas and how LOtC can be used to benefit your pupils’ learning and development, follow us on Twitter @MinibusLeasing or like our Facebook page – Benchmark Minibus.

For more information about Benchmark Leasing you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944, or email minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk.


[1] The Nature’s Calendar Survey

[2] Disease Recovery Tree Pack

[3] To see if your school is eligible to receive free tree packs, visit http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/in-your-community/apply-for-a-school-tree-pack/

[4] Get involved in The Pod’s citizen science programme by visiting jointhepod.org/.

Learning-outside-the-classroom: providing real-life applications of concepts learnt in the classroom

Without a clear vision of what it is exactly that your colleagues want to achieve by taking their students on a school trip, it is unlikely that the LOtC experience will be as beneficial to students’ learning and development as they might have hoped.

Therefore, before your colleagues go any further with their planning, it is important that they ask the question, “What do I want to achieve?”

Of course, if your colleague in the English department plans to take his or her students on a trip to the Globe Theatre, it is clear that the purpose of this visit is to cement the learning that they have done in the classroom for their upcoming exams and beyond.

In other instances, it might be that your colleagues wish to use learning-outside-the-classroom to provoke an emotional response among students, as opposed to using the visit as a revision tool or for learning new knowledge.

Where your students are encouraged to engage on an emotional level with a subject or topic area, they will be able to remember information about it more readily. So your colleague in the history department might plan to take his or her students to a WW1 memorial site.

However, not every school trip has to be focused on learning. Sometimes, if there is time left at the end of term and the budget allows for it (or parents are willing to pay for it), your colleagues might plan a school trip as a reward, to boost morale, or perhaps to re-ignite students’ passion for a subject.

But it doesn’t end there – school trips, or learning-outside-the-classroom, can also be highly beneficial to secondary school students when it comes to deciding which career they would like to pursue.

School trips enable students to experience activities and events that they don’t have the opportunity to experience in the classroom, thus giving them a better understanding of where, in society, they (could) fit in.

Benchmark has created a Facebook and Twitter page especially for teachers where we post and tweet a constant stream of activity and location ideas for whatever it is you or your colleagues wish to achieve by undertaking learning-outside-the-classroom.

To get notifications of school trip activity and location ideas and how LOtC can be used to benefit your students’ learning and development, follow us on Twitter @MinibusLeasing or like our Facebook page – Benchmark Minibus.

For more information about Benchmark Leasing you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944, or email minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk .

The stage re-used

How staging can be used as part of an outdoor carol concert, and then indoors as the students serenade while the parents taste their mince pies.

When we first talked about our staging being used outdoors (as well as indoors for assemblies, drama, speech days, and presentations), there were, I must admit, some eyebrows raised.

But my impression is that the idea is catching on, and I’ve heard of a number of schools using our staging so that pupils and students can sing carols as parents approach the school hall for their indoor festivity.  Some have experimented with short outdoor nativity plays – which really mean the lanterns have an impact.

Outdoor events always intrigue students and impress parents, and with staging that is suitable for outside events it means it can be moved around easily.  You can even dismantle the outdoor rig and reset inside during the interval for the second half of the event.

It is because of new ideas like these that have developed in recent years that we ask schools that use our staging to take photographs of the results. 

If you take a look at our website I think you’ll agree that some of these represent really impressive examples of how our staging can be used in a very creative way. 

But many teachers and site managers have reminded us that the flexibility of the staging is not the only consideration when choosing what to buy.  You will also be considering how you are going to store it when its normal location is required for other uses.

Which is why we developed a stage system that can be compacted into such a tiny space that even Dr Who would start to wonder if someone involved in teaching hadn’t cracked the secret of using his famous “relative dimensions in space”.

In fact, in our latest designs we’ve now arranged matters so that a complete stage of up to 40m² can be stored in just 2m² of floor space.

Then there’s the lifetime guarantee. It is hard to imagine what might go wrong with staging, but if somehow in some unexpected way it does go wrong, the guarantee is there.

I do hope you will visit our website and take a look at what other schools have done with our staging. Just click on any of the pictures to enlarge it.  Click on the arrow at the end of the picture, and you’ll see more. And more.

There’s still time to order staging for your Christmas play and events – don’t hit the panic button just yet! A free, no obligation, professional demonstration is readily available, and we’ll show you how to maximise the space in your school hall.

If you would like to know more please do email me at sales@seatingandstaging.co.uk  or call me on 01302 741888.

Tim Gilson