A £50 million summer schools fund to help the most disadvantaged pupils opens today. The money will help up to 100,000 pupils making the transition from primary to secondary school, a time when Ofsted research shows performance can take a significant dip.
From today, secondary schools can sign up for £500 for every disadvantaged pupil taking part in a two-week summer school. The money applies to all pupils transferring in to Year 7 who are on Free School Meals or have been in care for six months or more.
Headteacher will be able to design and run summer schools, targeting pupils who will benefit the most. The funding could be used for activities such as:
- Transitional activities such as meeting teachers, having a tour of the school or learning more about their new curriculum, to build on schools’ own induction arrangements. This will help pupils familiarise themselves with their new environment and give them a flying start.
- Additional intensive support in English and mathematics to enable pupils who need it to make progress in these key areas before the start of the autumn term, both as catch up and preparation for the secondary curriculum.
- Wider enrichment activities such as arts, music and sports activities, trips to theatres and museums, visits to local higher education institutions and employers etc.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:
As any parent knows, the move from primary to secondary school can sometimes be tough. For those who struggle to make the jump, there can be a dip in performance that can last for years. We know that those who struggle most are often among the poorest in society, but we also know that just two weeks’ activities and education can help them at this tricky time in their lives.
Summer schools will give some of the most disadvantaged pupils the chance to swim rather than sink in those first critical weeks of secondary school. We want every child to succeed, regardless of their background, and this is a crucial part of the coalition Government’s commitment to making this happen.
Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:
For too long social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s achievement and future prospects. In a fair society, it is the coalition Government’s responsibility to close the gulf in achievement between the poorest children and their classmates.
Evidence shows that disadvantaged children can slip further behind as they move into secondary school, so we know that heads and governors will be keen to build on their own induction arrangements and support these children.
As well as this £50m fund, we are making significant extra funding available through the Pupil Premium. This will help schools tackle the inequalities that have been a part of our educational system for far too long. Thousands of children will finally be getting the extra support they need to succeed.
Secondary schools can opt in by providing a few key pieces of information, such as how many pupils they expect to attend and how long they will run the school for, in a web form available on the DfE website. Applications must be submitted by 30 April 2012.
Schools will receive confirmation of their funding allocation in May, with half of the funding paid in advance to allow schools to book activities, if they choose to do so. Summer schools will run between July and August and schools will be contacted in September to find out how the summer schools went and paid the remaining funding.
Schools will be free to ask third parties, such as voluntary groups, to run the summer schools for them or work together with other schools if they wish to do so, for example, to help provide sporting or cultural opportunities, or where they do not have significant numbers of disadvantaged pupils.
Notes to editors:
Head teachers can apply for summer school funding on the Department’s website.
The Government has allocated £1.25 billion additional funding in 2012/13 for disadvantaged children, and has pledged to increase this to £2.5 billion by 2014-15.