Our Summer School offering, explained by Fay Lant

17 Jun 2021
secondary school books teacher and pupil reading

Fay Lant, our Head of Schools Programmes, talks through the four Summer School learning sequences we have available to access for free to support your schools this summer.

The Summer holidays are traditionally a time for sunshine and the seaside but this year it will also mean school for 11-year-olds across England.

A majority of children have spent less time reading, writing, speaking and listening over the last year which will inevitably have an impact on the development of their literacy skills. Initial findings show 11-year-olds are 22 months behind expected levels. At the National Literacy Trust, alongside many other education experts, we are especially concerned about the impact on children living in financial disadvantage.

Why summer schools?

One response to this from the DfE has been to offer funding to secondary schools delivering summer schools, with a suggestion that schools target their incoming Year 7s. Evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation suggests that summer schools can have an impact on attainment. Importantly, the NfER (2013) also found that summer schools had an impact on “pupils’ confidence, school readiness and socialisation”, especially for children eligible for Free School Meals.

Where schools do choose to provide summer schools, it seems clear that the offer will need to be broad. Teachers will be building academic skills, supporting pupils’ wellbeing after a tumultuous academic year, and welcoming new Year 7s into their new school environments.

Balancing literacy skills and fun

We have over 25 years of experience delivering school programmes targeting children living in financial disadvantage which build pupils’ literacy skills as well as their enjoyment and attitudes towards reading, writing, speaking and listening. Our programmes are all built on a solid evidence base and, importantly, they are fun for pupils too.

As a result we have been able to adapt some of our best programmes to provide summer school sequences which will build children’s reading, writing, speaking and listening skills while still letting them enjoy their summer holidays.

There are four sequences available to access for free now:

1) Summer Writing Challenge: Comics Rule!

Focused on authentic writing processes, children will find their creative voice by making a comic.

We have worked with experts to bring the world of comics to life for pupils and get them thinking about what it means to tell a story.

Our most recent evaluation showed that 81% of pupils felt more confident about writing and 94% of teachers told us their pupils now think more creatively.

2) Skills Academy

Our digital reading catch up programme fuses freestyle football and beatboxing with reading comprehension skills.

We produced exclusive tutorials with two of the world's leading freestyle footballers, Aguska Mnich and Jamie Knight. Internationally acclaimed beatboxers Sons of Pitches as well as Kimmy Beatbox show how to develop amazing sounds and renowned breakdancers Lil’ Tim and Sun Sun reveal how to build impressive breakdance routines.

Our recent evaluation showed that half of students participating in Skills Academy improved their reading age, while 7 in 10 (71%) students said reading interesting texts as part of the programme had motivated them to be better readers.

3) Monologue Jam

Students will explore some of the most powerful pieces of writing for performance to build their speaking and listening skills.

We worked with acclaimed poet Yomi Sode and the Oxford Playhouse to explore every aspect of performance and produce new writing for the stage.

100% of teachers involved in our speaking and listening programmes said students’ speaking and listening skills improved and 97% of young women agreed they now know how to give a speech.

4) NewsWise

Turn your classroom into a newsroom and train your pupils budding journalists to spot misinformation and report the stories that are important to them.

With our partners The Guardian Foundation and the PSHE Association, we are proud to have produced this award winning programme that engages pupils with news.

The percentage of pupils interested in news more than doubled after participating in a NewsWise workshop, increasing from 36.7% to 75.5% and 89.9% of teachers were more confident in supporting pupils’ news literacy.

Access our Summer School learning sequences for free at literacytrust.org.uk/education-recovery/summer-school/