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Pupils at summer school

Staffing a summer school programme that helps pupils catch up

Date posted : 12 May 2021

As headteachers everywhere will be aware, the government have pledged £200m in funding to secondary schools looking to fund summer tuition. Evidence suggests that pupils who attend a summer school make approximately two additional months’ progress compared to similar pupils who to do not.

While our recent survey found that 81% of schools are looking to provide catch-up tuition to their pupils this year, some teachers have expressed concerns about exhaustion and burn-out among staff and students. This means school leaders should give special consideration to how they arrange and manage their workforce for these programmes.   

If you are going ahead with a summer school, you need to be able to call upon a willing team of excellent teachers and get them all on the same page with your goals and methods. You can kick off this process by thinking about how you might answer the following three questions.

1. What should the programme achieve?

A summer school needs a headline objective that gives teaching staff certainty and purpose. It’s worth writing a sentence-length mission statement that actively articulates the outcome you want to produce for the specific cohort of pupils you have identified as most in-need of extra teaching.

The DfE have stated that they expect (though are not obliging) summer schools to target incoming Year 7s from disadvantaged backgrounds, with funding calculated based on your school’s existing Year 7 cohort.

A programme focusing on secondary school transition might go with a mission statement that reads: ‘Preparing incoming Year 7 disadvantaged pupils for secondary school’.

In this scenario, you would want to ensure your summer school teaching staff had plenty of experience working with secondary school starters.

64% of parents say that they’re currently more concerned about their children’s well-being than their academic performance. In this light, staff ought to be trained to navigate any issues with stress and anxiety. This might form a part of a holistic programme that supplements rigorous tuition with recreational activities like sport, music, art and drama.

2. When should your summer school take place?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, and it ultimately boils down to your particular circumstances and aims. A programme held in the middle of the holidays would reduce time spent away from school, while one held straight after the end of term may conflict less with teachers and pupils’ holiday plans. Given that permanent teachers aren’t obliged to work on these schemes, staff availability might end up becoming the biggest factor in your choice of when to hold your summer school. 

Being able to rely on a flexible supply of quality teachers will give heads more freedom to pick the ideal dates for their summer school programme. Teaching Personnel has a huge supply of teachers and tutors in our Summer School Staffing Pool who will be on hand this year to make your programme a success.

3. How will you get pupils to come?

Once you have a goal and a date in mind, it’s time to think how you might engage parents and convince pupils that they should give up holiday time to participate.

You might want to let parents know about evidence showing that summer school programmes increase pupils’ confidence and self-esteem. While doing so, you can also tell pupils that summer school is a great opportunity to make friends, have fun and get a head start on their peers.

Above all, parents must be reassured that their children will be in safe and capable hands. You need to be able to point to a staff of highly-qualified teachers with relevant training, who have been recruited subject to DBS safeguarding checks.

How Teaching Personnel can help you

We are the UK’s leading educational recruitment agency, and we supply schools with exceptional teaching staff drawn from the nation’s single largest workforce of flexible educational professionals. This summer, we will have thousands of teachers and support staff on hand to help primary and secondary schools bring disadvantaged pupils back up to speed with comprehensive catch-up tuition.

As an REC Audited supplier, we stringently vet our staff and train them to understand the needs of different schools. If you decide to use the funding available to host a summer school, our large pool of quality professionals can give you the flexibility to design your ideal programme.

To start assembling a summer teaching team that will inspire parents’ confidence and improve children’s prospects, get in touch with us today.

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