Character education – important for building strong, resilient learners – is once again top of the agenda thanks to Inspiring Learning, winner of Best Residential Experience in this year’s School Travel Awards, who have announced plans to expand its network of award-winning Kingswood outdoor learning centres, designed to help develop these important life skills. The move, made possible through significant new investment from Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC), a London-based investor in small and medium sized growth companies, will put half of UK schools within a one-hour drive of the company’s popular facilities. Set in areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest, the centres offer exhilarating adventure activities in safe and secure environments.
A trusted provider of co-curricular and out of classroom learning to schools from the UK and overseas, Kingswood delivers residential learning experiences that focus on team building, problem solving and fun, helping young people to challenge themselves and bond with their peers and teachers, so that they are more engaged in the classroom and go on to achieve more at school and beyond.
In 2016 Kingswood worked with 190,500 people providing 1.2 million activities to 4,225 schools, youth and uniformed groups from across the UK and overseas. It also provides the phase one residential component of the National Citizen Service, a programme open to all 16 and 17-year-olds in England designed to help build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends. To date Kingswood has helped 50,000 young people participate in the NCS programme.
Commenting on the Kingswood expansion, John Bentley, CEO, Inspiring Learning, said, “We are always looking for new ways to develop and innovate and are supported by an advisory group including experts from other educational institutions and industry bodies. Our purpose is to enhance the lives of young people through experiences that inspire.
“By partnering with teachers and group leaders, from planning through to review, we help to define and target their learning objectives to maximise the impact and value of their experience, develop self esteem, take personal responsibility, co-operate with and respect the needs of others. We also help extend their personal horizons through greater appreciation and understanding of the world and the people around them; understand the need for sustainable relationships between people and their environment and enhance practical problem solving and team work skills. This investment from Bridgepoint will enable Kingswood to extend its services to a significantly wider audience.”
Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC)’s new investment will be used to:
- Support and expand Inspiring Learning’s values and ethos;
- Expand the range of educational activities available across all Kingswood centres;
- Increase availability when customers want it most;
- Expand the network of Kingswood centres so that half of UK schools are within a one-hour drive of a Kingswood centre;
BDC is part of Bridgepoint, one of Europe’s largest private equity investors which has invested in a range of companies in different sectors over the last 25 years including well-known names such as Cruise.co.uk, Fat Face and Prêt A Manger, Cambridge Education Group and Infinitas Learning, publisher of content and e-learning materials for primary and secondary schools and FE colleges across Europe.