New summer schools to give pupils a flying start

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Nearly 2000 new summer schools will help some of the most disadvantaged pupils in England in the step up from primary to secondary school. Around 65,000 children are expected to benefit.

The new summer school programme was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in September 2011.

Secondary schools will provide extra support to disadvantaged pupils making the transition from primary school to help improve their educational attainment.

Many pupils find the move to a bigger school and a more challenging curriculum daunting which can lead to a dip in their performance. Pupils who fall behind at this stage often never catch up.
 
The extra ‘brain training’ will include catch up classes such as literacy and numeracy boosters, sessions to familiarise them with secondary school life, plus arts, music or sporting activity. The curriculum for the two weeks will be designed by individual schools to give maximum flexibility so that courses are tailored to pupils’ needs.
 
Students eligible for free school meals regularly under perform compared to their peers. At the end of primary education, just under 58 per cent of disadvantaged pupils achieve the expected level of attainment, compared with almost 78 per cent of other pupils.

These attainment gaps often widen as pupils progress through school.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: "This is £50 million worth of extra brain training giving tens of thousands of disadvantaged pupils a flying start at secondary school.

"It’s two weeks in the summer holidays where pupils can catch up on learning and get to grips with life in secondary school – in short, get in the starting blocks ready for the off in September.

"Those who struggle to make the transition are often among the poorest in society, but two weeks of activities can really help to bridge the gap.

"It’s good news for mums and dads too – no parent wants their child to be left out and fall behind. But not everyone has the luxury of taking long periods off work during the summer break.

"Summer schools  will ensure pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds can start secondary school on an equal footing with their peers, setting them up to succeed."

Headteachers have designed their summer schools to suit pupils’ needs. Activities being organised as part of the summer school programme include:

  • Extra brain training: additional intensive support in English and mathematics, both as catch up and preparation for the secondary curriculum.
  • Get to know you: meeting teachers, having a tour of the school or learning more about their new curriculum, to help pupils familiarise themselves with their new environment.
  • Motivation: wider enrichment activities such as arts, music and sports activities, trips to theatres and museums, visits to local higher education institutions and employers.
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