Outdoor Learning Residentials

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Glencoe Outdoor Learning programmes embrace an approach to learning that:

'Involves being outdoors as a central part of the experience; is open to all; seeks to transform the experience into knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours; involves physical activity, respects the natural environment and has a challenging and adventurous component'.

'Pastoral care of students was excellent. Found balance between safety, fun and adventure. Catered for all levels of ability. Excellent experience – thanks'. 


'Very impressed at the level of attention to detail from leaders/ instructors and ability to hold groups and give tasks which supported individual development. Staff were very kind and helpful and activities well organized and appropriate.'  Steiner School teachers June 21

'All activities were fun and exciting and adventurous, great instructors and staff, thanks.'

Steiner School pupil June 21

'I had the best week of my life, I will never forget it!' 'This was a nice fun relaxed trip!'  'Thank you for the comfy bed, the lovely food and thank all the staff members for being so kind.' 'Thank you for the amazing experience. Thanks to everyone who puts in the hard work to make us happy.'  Renfrewshire Primary School pupils June 2019

'Thoroughly enjoyable. The children were receptive to all the tuition which was to an excellent standard. I cannot speak highly enough of the staff who are a credit to the centre and themselves. A big well done.  Glasgow PS teacher May 2019

'It was amazing, I would love to come back. My school made a good decision to come here!'  'It was clean, the activities were very fun and the food was great.'  'Thank you for being very friendly and very helpful.' 'Everything was good'        'I enjoyed all of it and I loved the canoeing.'  'I liked this a lot. Now I know why our school comes here every year. Thank you.'  Glasgow Primary School pupils May 2019

'This has been my second year at Glencoe and the staff and the all the activities were excellent. Had an amazing time, hope to come back again'.  Highland PS teacher September 2018

Another fantastic visit. Staff leaders were great with children. Highland PS teacher September 2018

'The Centre is an ideal environment for our children. It strongly upholds the values of our school and a fantastic service is provided for the children.' Teacher Yorkshire Prep School June 2018

'Again, a wonderful experience for children and staff – groups leaders and all staff involved in activities were faultless in their professionalism, knowledge, communication and attitude.'

Glasgow Primary School teacher April 2018

'Second time I have been and the standard has been consistently excellent. I will be asking to bring the school next year.' Glasgow Primary School teacher May 2018

'Spectacular location that offers high standards of programmes with principles that promote participation and attainment. Staff are genuinely dedicated to the experience throughout stay'.

Glasgow Primary School teacher May 2017

'I enjoyed Glencoe and I think the skills are going to help me in the future'.    'Thank you to my instructor. You have been so kind and you have filled me with confidence, with what you are doing'.   'Thank you for keeping me safe whilst I was here'.    'Best week ever happened to me, it was fun but we learned a lot'.  'Thanks to my instructor for being our leader and everyone for having us'.  Highland Primary School pupils September 2018

'I just wanted to say thank you for having us and taking care of us.'   'This place is amazing'.

'Fantastic, staff are great'.   'This was a once in a lifetime chance to have fun and coming here was a great idea.'

'I wish I could stay a day longer!!'   'I loved it here the staff were so helpful and kind.'

Glasgow Primary School pupils April 2018

'I'm going to miss this place when I go home because this place is peaceful and the people are really kind. Book your stay now please! I just can't pick my favourite thing as they are all as great as each other.'         'Comfy beds and I learned why you have to get to sleep.'        'My instructor was very motivational, at mountain biking he pushed me over that one hill that you struggled to get up.'      'I think you are very good at all the activities and food. It is so good.'       'Amazing! I would change nothing!!!!!!'                'I really enjoyed all the activities especially hill walking, I also think it gives us skills for life.'  

Glasgow Primary School pupils May 2018

Thank you very much for letting us stay. I really enjoyed myself and all the staff are very friendly and helpful. I am pleased that you helped me achieve Ben Nevis! Yorkshire Prep School pupil June 2018

Return from Glencoe classroom display
Highland Primary School September 2016
School testimonials

'I thought you might like to know that I have just done 2 nights of parents evenings with the Primary 7 children, and last week issued their reports, which contain a ‘learners statement’ about their year, and without exception every child (who went) and every parent, said that the highlight of the year was the visit to Glencoe. They had the warmest praise and the fondest memories of their time at Glencoe Outdoor Centre'. Teacher Highland Primary school June 2016

'Very many thanks for your kind welcome and hospitality during our stay with you this week. As always, it was a special few days and privilege to be with you in that extraordinary landscape.' Teacher North Yorkshire Prep school June 2016.

'Thank you very much for looking after us so well. Had a fantastic time as always. Really had a huge impact on the children. Thanks for everything and your teams commitment. Very enjoyable time as usual, thank you.' Teachers Highland Primary School September 2017

Pupil comments taken from the school display pictured above

Glencoe was absolutely amazing!! I would go back in a heartbeat!    You get to know each other better!

It was good for team building and I would recommend Glencoe.

                                             I loved Glencoe it was so fun and gave me an experience to live with each other.

I was absolutely gobsmacked when I first got there it was beautiful!!

              My favourite activity was canoeing! I was very nervous at first but then after a while it was very fun and enjoyable.

  I would recommend it to everyone and anyone!!

          It was amazing and you learned how to cooperate.                                       I would recommend it!

It’s really amazing!        The best part is getting to know people!!       A great mix of education and fun!

The canoeing was amazing and the food too!                 I would recommend it to everyone on earth!!


Highland Primary school September 2016

Curriculum for Excellence

We partner with schools toward the goal of attainment within Curriculum for Excellence. Our programmes are characterised by its design principles and the capacities are incorporated into each activity and the overall residential experience - in particular:

Health and wellbeing: mental & emotional wellbeing, social wellbeing and physical wellbeing;

Literacy & Englishlistening and talking;

Religious and moral educationChristianity - Beliefs, values and issues, practices and traditions.

"For many staff and pupils an outdoor residential experience is one of the highlights of the school year. Many practitioners find organising an outdoor residential experience thoroughly worthwhile because of the long-lasting impact on young people. The combination of special activities with the shared experience of living and working with peers makes a residential stay a unique outdoor learning opportunity for every young person."

Outdoor learning Practical guidance, ideas and support for teachers and practitioners in Scotland, Education Scotland

“The core values of Curriculum for Excellence echo the key concepts of outdoor learning: challenge, enjoyment, relevance, depth, development of the whole person and an adventurous approach to learning”. Learning and Teaching Scotland 2010


“Outdoor learning experiences are often remembered for a lifetime. Integrating learning and outdoor experiences, whether through play in the immediate grounds or adventures further afield, provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors. Learning outdoors can be enjoyable, creative, challenging and adventurous and helps children and young people learn by experience and grow as confident and responsible citizens who value and appreciate the spectacular landscapes, natural heritage and culture of Scotland”. Learning and Teaching Scotland 2010

Brilliant Residentials

Glencoe Outdoor Centre endorses the 'Brilliant Residentials' key recommendations and welcomes their findings & evidence as to the benefit of school residentials. Please contact us if you would like assistance with planning or designing your school residential.

Curriculum for excellence within Glencoe Outdoor Learning programmes


Residential experience
Curriculum for excellence capacities embedded in Glencoe Outdoor Centre residential experiences

     Confident individuals 

  • Relate to others and manage themselves

  • Live as independently as they can

  • A sense of physical, mental and emotional well-being

     Effective contributors 

  • Work in partnership and in teams

  • Take the initiative and lead

  • Live as independently as they can

  • Achieve success in different areas of activity

  • Assess risk and make informed decisions
    Successful learners

  • Learn independently and as part of a group

  • Link and apply different kinds of learning in new situations
    Responsible Citizens

  • Respect for others

  • Understand different beliefs and cultures


School groups who stay at Glencoe Outdoor Centre are encouraged to treat the centre as their home for the duration of their stay and to participate in the smooth running of the domestic arrangements.

Specific tasks given:

  1. Take responsibility for their time keeping - present themselves at the appropriate time and place;

  2. Take responsibility for how they are equipped - wearing & carrying the appropriate equipment;

  3.  Take responsibility for all equipment loaned to them - take good care of all equipment loaned to them by the centre and to store it in the appropriate places;

  4. Take responsibility for sleeping well - keep sleeping dormitory clean and tidy and made available for inspection by teaching staff on a daily basis.

  5. Take responsibility for eating well - make up their own packed lunch each day and clear up after themselves at lunch time.

  6. Participate in service of meals - assist Centre staff to lay meal tables and clear their own meal table at the end of each course.

  7. Respect others whilst sharing dorms and eating together
    Evaluation by Glencoe Outdoor Centre staff team:

  8. Group Instructors (GI’s) give feedback on a task basis on performance. Pupils are encouraged to complete any tasks not already completed at evaluation stage.

  9. Evening Host team review the participation in domestic chores on a daily basis.
    Evaluation by pupils and school staff:

  10. Accompanying teaching staff give immediate feedback after room inspection and pupils are required to make improvements, if necessary, straight away.

  11. School staff can discuss the effectiveness of the programme with Centre staff at any stage.

  12. Pupils and staff are asked for written review comments at the end of the week.

Activity experience

Curriculum for excellence capacities embedded in Glencoe Outdoor Centre outdoor learning

     Successful learners

  • Enthusiasm & motivation for learning.

  • Learn independently & part of a group.

  • Openness to new thinking and ideas.

     Confident individuals

  • assess risk  and take informed decisions.

  • Pursue a healthy & active lifestyle

  • Achieve success in different areas of activity

     Responsible citizens

  • Respect for others

  • Make informed choices & decisions

  • Evaluate environmental issues

     Effective contributors

  • Work in partnership and in teams

  • Take the initiative and lead

  • Solve problems

All Instructors give thought to, and include where ever practical, the following Curriculum for excellence objectives in each activity session which they run:

Start of day:

1.  Pupils are involved in discussion about daily weather conditions and the subsequent clothing requirements.

On each activity, pupils are involved in discussion and input into:

2.  The aims of the activity session;
3.  The associated risks,
4.  The environmental impact of the activity

5.  At the end the activity to take part in a review to ensure that all achievements are celebrated.

During each activity session pupils are given the opportunity to:
6.  Give informed consent on what they are doing;

7.  Make choices within the activity;

8.  Receive encouragement to cope with and meet new challenges;

9.  Spend time in the open air and participate in some physical exercise;

10. Be given responsibility for equipment loaned to them;

In particular:

11.  The ‘How Do We Do That?’ activity encourages pupils to lead their team, review their performance and to solve problems.

12. Learning and discussion about marine environmental issues/impact is included in the Environmental Studies, Sailing and Canoeing activities.