Schools in for summer at Monkwearmouth Academy as catch-up proves a hit with pupils

Children and staff at Monkwearmouth Academy have marked the end of their Summer School catch-up programme with a celebratory fayre.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 9:41 am

The school decided to run a two week catch-up programme to support pupils’ academic, social and emotional welfare after the disruption caused by Covid lock-downs.

The initiative, which targeted the transition of Year 6 pupils from primary to secondary school, saw children take part in music, science and PE lessons along with outdoor learning experiences including bushcraft, caving, water-sports and rock climbing.

Assistant headteacher Iain Buddle said: “We would normally run our transition programme the last two weeks of term and with the impact of the pandemic it was more important than ever to provide emotional and social support which is equally as important as academic support.

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Pupils celebrate the end of Summer School with their Summer Fayre.

"It’s all part of our catch-up programme and our motto Believe and Achieve which applies to all aspects of life and is about growing as a person. Events like this are massively powerful.”

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The transition from primary to secondary school is often the most significant step in a child’s education but the disruption caused by the pandemic has only served to exacerbate anxieties.

Mr Buddle added: “After isolation and lock-downs, a seven week period over the summer is a big gap. We wanted to do something to get the children used to being in school again.

(left to right) Pupils Lucy Campbell, Emily Maddison, Jessica Marshland, Alex Russell, Lola Mawson and Neve Laws, all 11, and assistant headteacher Iain Buddle (centre).

"It has been wonderful to see the difference in the children since the first day and the biggest thing is that many of them have said they’re now looking forward to coming back in September.”

With 180 children having taken part, pupils are now facing the new term with excitement rather than trepidation.

Emily Maddison, 11, who is moving from Redby Academy, said: “I feel like the Summer School has really helped me get caught up. My favourite was doing the science experiments where we made sherbet and air blowers.

"It was really helpful to get used to the school. I was really nervous about coming in September but I’m much more confident now.”

School Leaders Lily Swalwell, 15, and Beau Bruce, 13.

Dad Ken Maddison, 58, added: “The children have lost so much education that it has been really good to get them back into the swing of school.

"Emily was originally only going to come for one week but she enjoyed it so much she came back for the second.”

English lessons were also incorporated, with children writing a journal to chronicle their experiences.

School Leaders Lily Swalwell, 15, and Beau Bruce, 13.

Alex Russell, 11, said: “The pandemic was really hard, sitting in a room by myself with just my pencil. I’ve made lots of new friends and it was good to meet my teachers.

"Summer School has taught me to believe in myself and succeed. I got stuck doing the caving but had to push myself and I got through it.”

Also taking part were School Leaders – older students supporting the younger children.

Lily Swalwell, 15, who was leading sports games, said: “Summer School has really helped the younger children to make friends. I really enjoyed Beamish Museum where we were taught in a Victorian school.”

Beau Bruce, 13, added: “I really enjoyed the climbing as well as teaching the younger children how to play drums and keyboard.”

The Summer Fayre saw pupils joined by siblings and parents to enjoy live music, ice creams, stalls and bouncy castles.

(left to right) Pupils Lucy Campbell, Emily Maddison, Jessica Marshland, Alex Russell, Lola Mawson and Neve Laws, all 11, and assistant headteacher Iain Buddle (centre).

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