Press release

New summer schools to give pupils a flying start

Information on how summer schools will benefit children making the transition from primary to secondary school.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Nearly 2,000 new summer schools will open their classroom doors today to 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.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today launched one of the first summer schools in London, to see how they are supporting those pupils most at risk from falling behind.

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.

Students eligible for free school meals regularly underperform compared to their peers. At the end of primary education, just under 58% of disadvantaged pupils achieve the expected level of attainment, compared with almost 78% of other pupils. These attainment gaps often widen as pupils progress through school.

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.

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.

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 2 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

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:

Many pupils, often those from poorer families, suffer a dip when they join secondary school. These brilliant summer schools give those children that need it a head start and the extra help they need so that they are well prepared to succeed at this crucial stage of their education career.

Notes to editors

  1. Summer schools will run between July and August.

  2. The government has allocated £1.25 billion additional funding in 2012 to 2013 for disadvantaged children through the pupil premium, and has pledged to increase this to £2.5 billion by 2014 to 2015.

  3. £50 million has been made available to schools through the pupil premium to run summer schools in summer 2012.

  4. Summer school funding allocations are based on disadvantaged pupils - specifically those who are registered as eligible for free school meals and those who have been looked after in public care continuously for at least six months.

  5. Up to an estimated 65,000 disadvantaged pupils could be offered a place in a summer school.

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Published 23 July 2012