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What Does a Successful Summer School Look Like?

01/06/2021 Alex

What Does a Successful Summer School Look Like? What Does a Successful Summer School Look Like?

This summer, pupils across Britain will benefit from £200m of funding that the government has earmarked for summer school catch-up programmes.

If your school has opted into this scheme, then you may well be teaching a cohort of incoming Year 7s who you have identified as most in need of extra tuition.

How you go about this is a question that only you can answer. Schools have the autonomy to structure the programmes as they see fit, and you will no doubt have your own vision for your summer school.

In our previous articles over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed how you might decide on which pupils you plan to target, and how you could go about staffing your programme. This time round, we’ve put together a non-exhaustive list of some things educators might hope to see at the end of a summer school programme.  

September-Ready pupils

Above all, a summer school should give its attendees the confidence to start the new academic year without fear of being at a disadvantage. This is particularly critical for programmes aimed at children making the transition to Year 7.

If your summer school programme has instilled better self-esteem and a new, visible confidence in previously underperforming pupils, then you can congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Happy and engaged parents

Parental buy-in is crucial for the success of any summer school. You need to convince parents and guardians that your scheme will be a worthwhile use of their child’s holiday time. This requires a proactive approach to communication from the word go.

How you do this is up to you. You could send a formal invitation letter, plus SMS messages before and during the summer school to alert them to important updates. Whatever your communication strategy, you need to maintain parents’ trust in the programme from organisation to execution to follow-up.

A well-structured timetable

When your summer school programme concludes, you should feel confident that every moment of it has been spent wisely. This may take some careful balancing. Unutilised ‘dead-time’ will undermine concentration, while overworked, burnt-out pupils will only come away with a sense of resentment towards the whole programme. How much you focus on pupil enrichment versus more straightforwardly academic tutoring is up to you.

In 2019, The Harris Academy in South Norwood ran a successful programme for vulnerable incoming Year 7s that mixed lessons on academic subjects with fun team challenges and sport sessions. You can read more about its success here for a bit of inspiration.

Pupils’ needs covered

It is likely that the pupils at your summer school may have particular disadvantages that you will need to take into account. This is almost certain to be the case if the programme is targeted at kids on free school meals.

This means, of course, that your programme must be as accessible as possible for the children it is designed to help. In this light, your school could consider assisting with the cost of food and travel, or even providing it outright with free catering and school buses.

How Teaching Personnel can help you make this happen

A successful summer school will overcome pupils’ disadvantages with a balanced programme of activities so that they can make the best possible start to the next step of their education.

To hit all these notes, you need to call upon a team of excellent educators who will be present over the programme’s duration. Your permanent staff members may not all be available on your chosen dates, so it’s important to have a good set of options to smooth over any bumps in the road.

Teaching Personnel will have thousands of trained, vetted teaching staff available every week of the summer in our Summer School Staffing Pool. Our educators have wealth of experience dealing with disadvantaged kids. We can provide core subject teachers, mentors, SEND staff, sports coaches and more to help you run a truly holistic summer school programme that successfully primes pupils for the Autumn Term.

To find out more about Teaching Personnel’s summer school provisions, get in touch with us today.

Check out our Summer School Hub

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