News

Summer School Evaluation

Summer school was ran from 2nd August 2021 to 6th August 2021. The summer school was aimed at Year 6 students who would be joining secondary school in September 2021. These students were selected from a given list provided by primary schools and were identified because they were considered as being students that may struggle with transition due to the lack of transition events that had taken place due to Covid-19. Initially, 46 students were invited but uptake was so popular that we had to inflate this number to 55. By the start of the Summer School, the overall number of students due to attend was 51 and on most days 42 attended (many dropped out due to Covid).

Purpose:

The summer school had two main purposes: to provide a system whereby students could catch up on some of the missed learning and to support more vulnerable and less confident students with the transition from primary to secondary school. Therefore, the summer school was designed so that it was fun, engaging and educational and was delivered by a range of experienced teachers and safe-guarding leads. This helped to ensure that students made progress with their learning in their core subjects but, just as importantly, left at the end of the week feeling prepared and confident for the start of secondary school.

Curriculum:

Throughout the summer school, students took part in a range of challenging and fun ‘team-building’ activities and were given opportunities to catch up and revise key content in Maths, English and Science. The EEF stated that, when considering missed content because of the lockdown, ‘ it is valuable to look for ways of reinforcing key knowledge and skills across the curriculum’ and so feeder schools were contacted and KS2 teachers were asked to provide feedback on key areas of learning that students had missed or were under confident with, so that Maths, English and Science lessons could be planned to build on this learning. KS3 curriculum leads were also asked to provide information about their expectations for Year 7 at the start of September, so that some key content could be delivered to better prepare the students for this.

During the summer school, students rotated around a series of different subjects, all of which were tied to an overall ‘objective’ which was to design the components of a video game. Students had English, Maths and PE lessons every day and then rotated around the other subjects, doing two lessons of each across the week. In English, students learned about how to structure the story line of their video game and then described a key setting of their game. In Maths, students learned different formulas, codes and equations, before thinking of their own ‘problem-solving’ levels to put into their video games. In Science, students learned about some of the basic elements and undertook lots of practical experiments. In IT, Art and Music, students considered the different ways they could design their game setting, characters and soundtrack. Also, every day, the students went outside and took part in PE lessons. This involved designing their own assault courses and also using some of the problem-solving skills they learned in Maths to help them to design ‘practical problems’ for others to solve. On Friday 6th August, all summer school students who had attended all week attended a water – sports trip as a reward for all of their hard work.

Expectations:

Based on evidence from last year’s Year 7 cohort, a major issue that faced our Year 7 students was their lost learning habits and behaviours. Therefore, the Summer School was designed in order to address some of these issues for the new Year 7 cohort. Findings from the EEF ‘teaching and learning toolkit’ stated that ‘the best available evidence indicates that great teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve pupil attainment and learning behaviour.’ Therefore, the summer school was meticulously planned so that each teacher was required to plan great lessons, that not just supported students’ academic progress but also gave them the confidence and ‘learning behaviours’ that they could then adopt across all subjects. The intention was that each day, teachers would teach lessons which centred around a transferable learning skill, so that students could apply this approach across the curriculum for each day. The four ‘learning behaviours’ chosen were: ‘teamwork,’ ‘problem solving,’ ‘creativity’ and ‘metacognition.’ Therefore, each day, lessons were chosen so that students were able to practise these learning behaviours, alongside the academic progress they were making. This led to a real confidence in their learning and has had a positive impact on the learning behaviours of the Year 7 cohort.

Evaluation:

At the end of the week, parents were invited into school for a celebration event, where student work was shared with students so that they could take it home. Parents and students were also asked to evaluate the summer school, and were asked to rate it from 1-10 in terms of how successful they thought it had been (10 being very successful).

100% of students rated the summer school between 9 – 10 and 100% of parents rated it the same. We had many positive comments, such as ‘it has been the perfect opportunity for my daughter to build her confidence and make new friends before the new term starts.’ Another parent commented, ‘she has absolutely loved it but has learned a lot too.’ The only improvements suggested by parents were ‘to make it 6 weeks long’ and ‘to make it available for the whole cohort as it has been such a valuable experience and it is a shame that all students haven’t had it.’

Therefore, on evaluating the summer school, it appears the format, style and teaching were exactly right. However, it may be worth offering it as a longer experience next time and perhaps offering it to two separate groups, if we could gain enough interest and have the funding available.

Funding:

Overall funding received£12417 based upon £59.70 per student per day attended
Overall cost of summer school£16000 with the additional funding coming from
What was the money spent on?The majority of the money was spent on staffing:5 teachers per day5 support staff per day 1 catering staff to provide foodBursary for a Teacher to design the curriculum and to run the summer schoolAll students were provided with lunch everyday.The water sports trip on the last day was fully funded and free for students.Resources for activities and lessons