Summer Holiday: Part 2…Bookings Now Being Taken

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This time last year I wrote a post entitled, ‘We’re all Going on a Summer Holiday’, which focused on transition funding and programmes for children moving from primary to secondary schools.

Today, as I board a train at Bradford, I discover that Minister of State for Schools, David Laws, has announced £50 million for the second year of the summer schools programme. For further details, click here.

The arrangements look similar to last year but this time round the net appears to be wider, in that ‘Eligible schools that have Ever6 FSM (i.e. pupils who have been registered for free school meals at any point in the last six years) and pupils who have been looked after continuously for more than six months by the local authority (LAC) making the transition into Year 7 in September 2013 can take part in the summer schools programme by completing a short, simple online form.

Last summer, Evolve SI introduced their successful XLR8 programme to help overcome some of the problems children experience when making the transition from Year 6 to Year 7.  The first set of successful XLR8 Camps took place in Birmingham, Bradford, Swinton and Lincoln. Having read the recent evaluation reports from DfE regarding Summer schools 2012, it would seem that the XLR8 programme was visionary in that it achieved many of the recommendations for future courses.

The XLR8 programme was designed specifically for Year 6 pupils and activities were hosted in the secondary school that pupils would attend from September onwards.  The 2012 programme focused on two key themes:

  • Super-Heroes’
  • ‘What’s Your Big Idea? THE Next Big Thing…’

Each XLR8 day included sessions focused on:

XLR8 Vitality – these physical engagement games included a range of exciting teambuilding, quick thinking and problem-solving challenges. They were not limited to sports and multi-skills activities!

XLR8 Enterprise – these sessions looked at discovering and developing the pupils’ enquiring and productive minds. Learners were given opportunities to design and develop an idea, service or product that could be presented in a ‘Dragons Den’ meets ‘Junior Apprentice’ style team challenge with literacy, numeracy and promotional elements.

XLR8 Talent – allowed learners to develop their creative arts and performance skills. Evolve SI invited professional young performers (e.g. urban poets, actors, choreographers and motivational speakers) to excite and inspire the pupils to develop the confidence needed to undertake performance opportunities. These were shared with parents and carers at the ‘Talent Showcase’.

XLR8 DigITal Me – introduced and developed pupils’ abilities to fully utilise the internet and digital media in order to nurture their interest and enthusiasm in this important area of the curriculum.

The aim of all sessions was to build pupils’ confidence in their own abilities whilst making new friends with pupils also making the transition to their new school.

The initial XLR8 courses had a unique ability in that they got everybody physically active in an inclusive atmosphere and provided a mix of education, health and physical literacy benefits whilst addressing the transition agenda.

“…Evolve were extremely professional and flexible throughout the entire process.  They had a genuine understanding of our needs and the challenges we face and provided an effective and hassle free solution for us.

The Health Mentors were excellent with the children and we have received positive feedback from staff, parents and pupils who were involved.  We are looking forward to extending the XLR8 programme this year so that we can maximise the pre and post course mentoring opportunities to provide an even more seamless transition for next year’s new intake…”

Deena Satchell, Year 7 Coordinator, George Dixon Academy, Birmingham.

For further details about the types of activities on offer and the impact that the 2012 programme had on pupils please click here.

As you can imagine, Evolve are looking to build on the successes of last year and are now planning an expansion of the XLR8 programme in 2013. This year, Evolve are operating a more comprehensive package that allows pre-Camp mentoring sessions in primary schools during the summer term and post-Camp mentoring sessions in secondary schools during the autumn term. This approach will ensure Evolve’s Health Mentors can:

  • Identify and address issues or concerns relating to pupil progression to secondary education;
  • Support the ongoing academic attainment of pupils during this often challenging time.

Further information can be found here. Evolve welcome the opportunity to discuss how XLR8 could play a key role within your transition strategy in 2013, accommodating the specific needs and interests of your school.

Images courtesy of Paul Atherton.