Summer school impact statement

Summer School 2021

Summary

Over the summer break The Hastings Academy welcomed 117 students to our summer school run by Eggtooth and The Academy staff. Eggtooth have worked with The Academy for many years providing mental health support and counselling, along with partnering with The Academy on a range of creative projects. Eggtooth were chosen as a provider for the summer school due to their familiarity with The Academy, its students and our knowledge of their previous summer schools which have been successful for our students transition by providing them with an enriching experience. The Eggtooth staff included trained counsellors and teachers who had a great deal of knowledge and expertise working with young people from Hastings and they were able to adapt to the needs as they were presented.

Impact was assessed through a series of questionnaires undertaken by students at the start and close of the summer school, in order to gauge effectiveness.

Aims

The aim of the summer school was to address students concerns and worries around secondary school and to help improve their experience after long periods of time away from school during the Covid 19 pandemic. 36% of students attending were from disadvantaged backgrounds and 18% had Special Educational Needs making this an important time for them in their transition to ensure that they settled well into The Academy in September. Due to the large number of students attending who were PP and SEN one expense was providing them with free lunches. This allowed them to be well nourished while engaging in the activities at the academy and have a better overall experience. This also gave the students an experience which would be similar to what would be experienced at The Academy 
allow them to transition well into the new space.

Outcomes/Impact

80% of students who attended the summer school expressed that their main concerns were around making friends or bullying when starting The Hastings Academy with few worried about becoming lost around a new building. The activities arranged by Eggtooth facilitated friendships by including icebreaker games and team building tasks. Eggtooth organise workshops around friendships and relationships for young people which made them a suitable choice for this summer school. Their expertise in this area and their experience running these workshops meant that the staff were able to assist students with any challenges around friendships. As a result of this students said that “My highlight was making new friends” and “The summer school let me spend time making new friends and time with old school friends”. 90% of students agreed that they had made new friends at summer school showing a positive impact of the programme and ensuring students made a more successful start in September.

We were also aware that the enrichment element would help to improve the mental health of students joining us as this is an area of need in our community, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic and its interruptions to normal life. We understand that spending time doing fun activities allows students to focus their energy in productive and positive ways. Students mostly (70%) agreed that their mental health had improved as a result of the summer school. This had then allowed those students to be able to come to The Hastings Academy feeling less anxious and happier after their positive experience in the summer. Student anxieties were also relieved by tours of The Academy and meeting some of the key academy staff, ensuring that support networks were being established for students prior to their start in September.

We felt it was important to include academy staff on the summer school team alongside Eggtooth to build relationships with students from the outset and create a support network for students from Day 1. We know that relationships are key to building trust with students from within the area, especially when they are transitioning to a new phase of education. This then allows the students to feel safe when arriving in September, knowing that there are staff that they are familiar with and who will support them with any needs they may have during the academy day. This has allowed students who have had a poor experience of education to build their confidence in a nurturing environment, understanding that staff are supporting them.  

As a result of the summer school 90% of students said that they had enjoyed themselves which shows the positive overall impact and impression of the week of activities. Year 7 have arrived enthusiastically and ready to learn which has been noted by all staff and the information gathered during that time has allowed the pastoral staff to build a clear picture of the needs of some of our new students so that they can best be supported.