Serious Fun on Saturdays project
The ‘Serious Fun on Saturdays’ project is partially funded by the SHINE Trust. The project involves 45 Year 5 children from nine local Primary Schools who attend Saturday morning sessions at Sheffield High School aimed at increasing the children’s confidence, self-esteem and aspirations and preparing them for life at Secondary School. The sessions are run by Sheffield High School teachers and the children are mentored by 15 Sheffield High School sixth form students. Sessions cover the full curriculum with different subjects every week from Science and History to Latin and Coding.
The 11-week project ends with a presentation and celebration lunch for all the children, mentors, teachers and parents.
The main aim of the project is to develop the children’s confidence and self-esteem. The children are chosen specifically by their schools as ones who have potential but are perhaps not meeting that potential, either through lack of confidence or through a lack of exposure to opportunities outside of school.
Sheffield High School applied for funding from SHINE in 2011 and our first Serious Fun on Saturdays project was launched in November 2011. The seven original partner schools were nominated by Sheffield City Council as being schools which had high numbers of children on free school meals, with EAL or specific learning needs, and where the percentage of Level 4s in the KS2 SATS was lower than the national average.
The success of the project is dependent on the willingness of teaching staff to come into school on a Saturday morning to deliver the sessions. This has never been a problem however and we usually have far more volunteers than we need and our teaching staff describe the project as one of the most rewarding things they have been part of. All the sessions are held at Sheffield High School. Two sessions take place each Saturday morning over an 11 week period (autumn and spring terms). Teaching staff deliver one session each. 15 Sixth Form members work with the 45 children throughout the 11 week project. The SHINE Trust awarded the school funding in 2011 for three years to cover the cost of transporting the children to school and the funding was renewed for a further 2 years in 2014. Sheffield High School will continue to fund the project after 2016.
Children complete their own self assessment (Myself as a Learner) and evaluate the skills they have learnt after each session.
Data is also gathered from the Y5 teachers at the beginning and end of the year to show the levels of progress each child has made. Sixth Form mentors also evaluate the skills they have acquired from working with the children.
45 Year 5 children (boys and girls) from the eight partner primary schools and 15 Year 12 students from Sheffield High School.
Serious Fun on Saturdays has been ongoing since November 2011. The children attend the sessions for 11 Saturdays (four in November and December and seven in January, February and March). The children are collected from their primary schools by minibus and sessions run from 9.30am – 12.00pm. Funding from SHINE has been granted until 2016 and Sheffield High School plans to fund the project beyond 2016.