The transition from primary to secondary school can be difficult for many students. Liverpool Learning Partnership and the Liverpool Families Programme funded 18 summer schools for vulnerable pupils who made the transition from primary to secondary this Summer. The schools were able to use the funding to organise a range of activities to allow the students to get to know each other and members of the staff as well as allowing them to access the many cultural and artistic opportunities available in Liverpool.
The Siobhan Dowd Trust also very kindly funded a bookshop visit (Waterstones) for each school taking part in the Summer School programme which will allowed pupils to purchase a book to keep.
We also put book swap boxes together with support from our friends at BookTrust, The Storybarn at The Reader, Read for Good and The Siobhan Dowd Trust. Pupils could take and return books throughout the Summer School period and then you can use them in the main school in the new academic year. Within each box there were also comics that pupils could read and either keep or bring back to share with other students.
The summer schools were a great success!
• 82% responded that they STRONGLY AGREE and 18% AGREED that the summer school helped prepare pupils for secondary school.
• 94% responded that they STRONGLY AGREE and 6% AGREED that the summer school had an impact on attitudes towards secondary school.
• 94% responded that they STRONGLY AGREE and 6% AGREED that the summer school had an impact on well-being. One school added that it also had an impact on Parents well-being.
• 29% STRONGLY AGREE, 53% AGREED and 18% Neither agreed or disagreed that the summer school encouraged reading for pleasure.
Feedback from schools
De La Salle Academy: At the start of the programme, students were very hesitant and some were very anxious about coming into secondary school. It was good from our point of view to see the strengths, areas for improvement and understand how they were considered to be vulnerable. I am pleased to report that after the first day with meeting peers, team building through drama and the treasure hunt, parents said that their sons couldn’t wait to come back in the next day.
As the week progressed, you could see the Year 6 pupils from different schools relaxing and bonding with each other. Feedback from the pupils suggests that they enjoyed the opportunity to come to the summer school and that it was a good way to get ready for secondary school.
YEAR 9 Mentors
‘The best thing about summer school was getting to know other kids’
‘It was good to meet and interact with the new students’
‘Getting to know new people before I started in September’
‘The Treasure Hunt because it showed us the whole of the school in a fun way’
‘Meeting older boys who were nice and made us feel welcome’
‘Getting to work with teachers, LFC, EFC and make our own dinner’.
Archbishop Beck Catholic College: Summer school has had a very positive impact on all of the students who took part and especially those who we identified as the most vulnerable A significant number are receiving additional SEND support and were able to form positive relationships with them during Summer camp
All students who attended the summer school have said that the opportunity was the best part of the Transition process and that it made them feel more confident about coming to Secondary school. Parents also commented that they felt it helped prepare for September and allayed a number of fears.
Students spoke very positively about the experience to their former Y6 teachers when they met them during Roadshow activities
In repeated student surveys there has been a positive response to Summer Camp. They say it:
• Allows me to meet new friends
• Means I can get used to the building
• Gives me more of a chance to get to know staff
• Means that I don’t worry so much when I come in September
There was a hugely positive attitude from all students this year, many are contacting new acquaintances outside the Summer Camp dates.
St John Bosco: The students who attended the summer school truly embraced the Salesian ethos of this school by working well together and collaboratively with the staff to produce a wonderful celebration showcase for the parents.
Summer school allowed them to work on trust, team work and encouraging their creativity.
The girls who attended have settled in really well, the summer school has helped create new friendships and therefore has eased the pressures and anxieties of a new start in secondary school.
The girls have also been able to approach staff with ease from working closely with them and the sixth formers.
“ I loved summer school”
“Summer school made me feel less nervous about starting”
“I’m glad I met with some of the teachers as I recognised them in September”
Calderstones: Pupils made friendships and developed confidence over the 3 days. 2 male students shared X- box online details and are now friends outside of school.
Pupils quite shy to begin with but grew more confident by day 3. 1 female student was quite happy within her own company but responded well to prompting to join in with others.
Students really enjoyed being in school when it was “empty”. Students enjoyed meeting new friends during the 3 days. Students most importantly said they would recommend we run the summer school again for future Year 6/7s. I would definitely run another Summer School next year given the opportunity.
North Liverpool Academy: It was clear that this summer school was hugely successful in raising confidence and attitude. As the students got to know each other and interacted with not only their year group, but the ‘Human Utopia Heroes’, their confidence improved both socially and within each workshop.
The students were very receptive towards the values set during each session of respect and positive behaviour and regularly encouraged each other throughout the summer camp.
On day one of summer school, a number of pupils were visibly upset and not wanting to stay. This changed by day 2, they came into school a lot happier and confident in their surroundings and felt they could talk to staff. This also helped parents of those children who you could see had anxieties of their own. I do believe this will impact on relationships and help support those parents who need that bit extra guidance.
Fazakerley High School: It was decided to run our summer school the last week before pupils were to return back to school. This has proved beneficial to both pupil, parent and teacher.
Pupils have come into school today feeling reassured, confident and able to find their way around the school building. Staff have been able to spend quality time with those vulnerable pupils who need that bit extra support.
Holly Lodge: The students confidence and attitude was very positive at the end of summer school.
Students enjoyed reading and were very happy when the author came in to school.
Keep the summer school the same as it has been a very important part of transition.
Summer school is a real bonus for vulnerable pupils.
Kings Leadership Academy: We had a lot of nervous and anxious children at the beginning of summer school. The impact of summer school allowed them to get to know the staff building and each other.
There was one specific boy who refused to come into the activities on the first day. He was extremely upset and clung to his mum for almost 20 mins. Luckily we had asked for a few of our pupils to come in and help and they spoke to him and he eventually came in to the activities. By the afternoon he had made a friend and for the rest of the week he skipped into summer school and we could really see his personality shine through. I honestly think without attending summer school his first day in September may have been a very different scenario. You can see in the first week of school the pupils who attended summer school are a lot more confident and engage more with staff and each other.
The cohort who attended summer school have also started attending our Saturday school and are keen to stay behind for after school clubs. They have great attendance and are in friendship groups they made from summer school.
We would just like to express our gratitude for the funding we received. It allowed us to create relationships for our students and it definitely made our first week back a lot smoother in transition. Many Thanks
The Academy of St Francis of Assisi: At the start of summer school all the students were sat and mixed with friends from their primary school by the end of the week all students were mixing. All students seemed excited to start and commented that they felt less anxious and had made new friends.
Students all commented that they enjoyed the week and it helped students that did not come with friends settled in.
We found it to be very effective as it was the first time we focused solely on year 6 for transition. We will be looking to do another summer school in August 2019 subject to funding
The Academy of St Nicholas: A student who had greatly struggled in primary even though he was given support has so far settled well, his mum feels that summer school gave him the opportunity to make friends and become familiar with staff and the building and our expectations.
From evaluation sheets, 100% of students completing forms said summer school was good to get to know others, helped them to get ready for secondary school, and would recommend summer school to other students. The impact for some students who were ‘worried’ about attending sessions was evident in tht some attended the holiday comp following the Transition Comp. All students attending stated they were happier about starting secondary school in September.
Broadgreen International School: All pupils gained confidence as the week progressed raised self-esteem, good attitude towards other pupils and staff. Giving pupils a good understanding of the building and different departments to help with settling in.
Cardinal Heenan: Students are much more confident and feel a part of the school. Parents were extremely happy with provision and felt that it made the transition so much easier. It was a great way of integrating children from over 40 different feeder primaries.
It was a really good opportunity for him to start the transition to secondary school, he met new students and staff and got to know the lay out of the school. It definitely made the summer holidays and the lead up to first day more relaxed.
Parents comments; “He loved getting to know different children and also liked that he already knew his way around the building.”
“It gave him a chance to meet other boys and staff before September. It certainly put my mind at ease about him moving to secondary school. He, therefore, wasn’t nervous but excited to start year7.”
“He was a little bit more familiar with the school building, he got to make some new friends and was introduced to some of the teachers, I believe this all contributed to reducing his anxiety when starting school in the new term.”
Alsop High School: The students that attended Summer School were identified as having low academic attainment and social concerns (identified in consultation with primary schools). The Summer Schoool allowed Alsop, their parents and the students to familiarise themselves with the new context and the students really responded.
The students benefitted from small group sessions and have developed academically and socially with lots of the students still being friends with the students they met in Summer School.
One students commented:
“I was nervous about going but after like 3 hours the teachers looked after me and I started to make friends. My best friend in Alsop is someone I met in Summer School”
“I think everyone in the year group should have gone to Summer School because I know I benefitted from it and there were probably lots of other kids who would have benefitted from it too”
The Summer School was focussed and driven by targeted students. It would be great if it runs again and is allowed to be bigger next year.
St Julies Catholic High School: Some students who suffer with anxiety and even ere refusers at primary school found the summer school reduced anxieties significantly. Positive feedback from parents and from students. The small size of the group was important. The summer school students have all settled into school well and are comfortable raising concerns. One parent comments that her daughter cant wait to get to school (refuser at Primary)
Summer school was well received.
St Margaret’s C of E Academy: All students and parents confirmed a huge jump in self-esteem following attendance. A more positive attitude overall seems to have developed across the board. All students interacted really well across all cultural groups. Every day all students eagerly sat down to reading the comics and books and discussing the stories with each other. All aspects of the programme achieved the goals set and so could be used again.