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Highgate Is Here: Year 10 Chrysalis Summer School

Highgate and the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham (LAET) both hosted a unique summer school for 82 Year 10 students from across our neighbouring boroughs who had been most affected by prolonged school closures due to COVID-19.

It aimed to provide some of North London’s most disadvantaged students with the opportunity to get back into a school environment for the first time since March and make up for lost learning before transitioning into Year 11 in September. The students, who were nominated by their teachers, were able to catch up in Biology, Chemistry, English, Maths, and Physics, take part in careers and employability workshops and learn new skills and hobbies, with a focus on supporting their wellbeing.

The LAET cohort took part in a day of debating inside Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium, the first of its kind. The day was designed to empower young people to develop and express their views on social issues, with students debating the re-opening of schools, policing and drug culture. 

Aims

Aims

The aims were to provide some of North London’s most disadvantaged students with the opportunity to get back into a school environment for the first time since March and make up for lost learning before transitioning into Year 11 in September. In addition, teachers from Highgate and LAET aimed to refamiliarise themselves with a classroom setting.

Identified Need

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated prolonged school closures has highlighted the significant gaps in access and attainment between the most disadvantaged pupils and their peers. A lack of access to remote learning, most often due to limited access to technology at home, followed by the summer holiday, has led to concerns over substantial learning loss in the most disadvantaged pupils. According the Education Endowment Fund, the education disadvantage gap has grown by 36% during lockdown. Additionally, 60% of independent schools already had an online learning platform, compared to 23% of the most deprived pupils’ schools. Just 38% of working-class pupils were in regular communication with their teachers.

Critical Success Factors

1) A history of successful partnerships and trustworthiness with local schools

2) Excellent lines of communication with partner school Heads to ensure that the project met the wider aims of the school

3) Multiple host venues to ensure young people could access a host school local to them, reducing the need for significant travel

4) A body of teaching and support staff available to lead sessions during the summer holiday.

Beneficiaries

Immediate beneficiaries were the pupils that took part in the summer school - and the follow-up events to come in the upcoming year. Wider beneficiaries included teaching staff leading sessions, who re-familiarised themselves with in-person teaching.

Background

Highgate has had positive, impactful relationships with all the schools that nominated pupils for over a decade. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Highgate established 'Highgate is Here', which is our mission to ensure that Highgate has the most positive impact possible on our community during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Working closely with our existing network of partner schools forms an important part of this work. 

This Summer School came about as a response to the highly publicised concerns about the potential learning loss experienced by the most disadvantaged pupils.

The opportunity to adapt our existing Summer School programme was identified by our Head, the Deputy responsible for partnerships and the Community Partnerships Director. This led to close consultation with our partner schools about which cohort of pupils would benefit most and what the format and content should be.

Highgate has been running our successful Summer School programme for over a decade. This year, the Year 10 programme was specifically adapted to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Resources

Critical Success Factors included:

 

1) A history of successful partnerships and trustworthiness with local schools

2) Excellent lines of communication with partner school Heads to ensure that the project met the wider aims of the school

3) Multiple host venues to ensure young people could access a host school local to them, reducing the need for significant travel

4) A body of teaching and support staff available to lead sessions during the summer holiday.

Critical Resources:

1) An identified scheme of work designed to provide catch-up in key areas in core subjects

2) Sufficient stocks of items that may not normally be on-site during school holidays - particularly sanitary items such as hand sanitiser, surface cleanser etc.

3) On-site catering, offering breakfast, break time refreshments and lunch every day. 

Facilities

The project used school facilities in two locations (Highgate School and LAE Tottenham / Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) for a week. Facilities used included classrooms, break areas and canteens. 

Staffing

Both teaching and support staff were involved.

Across the two sites, 19 teaching staff and 10 support staff worked the duration of the summer school. In addition, catering and cleaning staff worked the necessary portions of every day the summer school took place.

Financial Contribution

Financial contributions by Highgate were both in-kind and directly covered. In-kind contributions included the salaries of staff contracted to work solely on partnerships. Direct costs included the additional remuneration to staff from both schools, the cost of catering, the payment of external partners leading sessions and the purchase of materials and resources.

Impact

Qualitative assessment was undertaken at the end of the summer school, with pupil responses demonstrating that the summer school had met its aims:

94% of pupils said that they felt more prepared to start their studies in September

88% were more ambitious about their future

95% felt part of a wider academic community

99% said that they had a better understanding of what employers look for after the careers workshops

99% enjoyed the chance to debate social issues at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and felt they developed transferable skills during the day.

We will continue to work with this cohort of pupils over the course of this year and will continue to assess their outcomes accordingly.

Pupil Involvement

All pupils involved were about to enter Year 11 in the coming weeks. All pupils that participated attended one of eight partner state schools.

82 pupils attended. 54 were male and 26 were female. 

Frequency

The summer school itself is a one-off event, but it forms the start of numerous academic events with this cohort of pupils.

We will continue to run a summer school programme for the foreseeable future.