Aims of the project
The children are selected by the headteachers for a wide variety of reasons. The aims are to bridge the gap between primary and secondary school; to allay some of the stresses about the transition to senior school; also to complement the work done in primary schools, whilst widening and enriching pupils’ knowledge and learning. Through meeting other local children, there are opportunities for participants to form new friendships and develop their social skills and self-confidence.
Saturday School operates in a fun, sociable and relaxed learning environment, but its success relies on support and partnership from the primary school headteachers and the participants’ parents or guardians. To achieve maximum benefit, children are expected to attend all sessions.
Benefits are seen from various perspectives:
Participating pupils benefit as above, and develop friendships with children from other local schools.
Community links are fostered between Latymer Upper School, local families, and the primary schools.
Latymer Upper sixth form students benefit from volunteering as classroom assistants and develop skills in communication, planning and working with the local community.
Latymer Upper staff gain professional development experience and increase their understanding of the transition needs of Year 6 pupils, which they can then use to inform their planning for Year 7 classes.
Up to 50% of our intake at Year 7 is from the state sector and we hope that community initiatives such as Saturday School will encourage local children to consider Latymer Upper as their senior school.
Background and goals
Saturday School was launched in 1995 and was started as a joint project with another local independent school and was funded by the charity SHINE. The project’s initial intake was 40 children but has grown substantially over the years with 140 pupils attending in 2016. In 2005 Latymer Upper School (LUS) took over the full running, organisation, and funding of Saturday School.
Saturday School is free of charge to all primary schools and participants. Generous sponsorship by a former Latymer Upper pupil, the use of the school’s science and language labs, classrooms/resources, and the commitment of staff and students, are all critical to the success of Saturday School. Up to 25 staff are involved in delivering lessons for the duration of the term-long course; technicians support teaching staff and provide the necessary resources.
Feedback is sought from participating pupils during the course of the sessions, as well as formally via the partner schools. Academic & social outcomes are measured by the schools and fed back to LUS. Many primary schools have noted substantial improvements in the students’ academic work, behaviour and attitude. Pupils often give talks to their peers about their experiences.
Latymer Upper has a generous bursary scheme and our ambition is that primary pupils, parents, and headteachers will be keen to follow this up after attending Saturday School and indeed other community initiatives. Currently, over 170 pupils are in receipt of a bursary - the majority receiving more than 75% support. More information is on our website: http://www.latymer-upper.org/support-us/bursaries
Feedback from Schools
“All the pupils who attended the Saturday School went to achieve very well in their year 6 SATs. 80% achieved Greater Depth. Moreover, their confidence grew tremendously. It really supported the transition to secondary school by giving children a good understanding of what it would entail.” - Marily Troyano (Assistant Head - St Charles Catholic Primary).
“We specifically chose four pupils who we felt would benefit from broadening their learning and subject knowledge in a sustained and focused way that would be difficult to deliver within our timetable at school. The families, and particularly the children, were grateful for this additional input. We feel that these sessions supported their progress alongside the teaching; 3 out of the 4 pupils achieved Greater Depth in all assessed areas of the Year 6 Curriculum (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling, Reading, Writing and Maths); 1 achieved it in GPS and Maths, nearly achieving Greater Depth in Reading.” - Mark Tomkins (Assistant Head - Avondale Park Primary)
“Saturday School has been great for broadening the education of participating students and they have appreciated opportunities that would not have been available during the normal school day (e.g. to learn a little bit of Spanish). It improves students' confidence to meet other Year 6's from local schools. I think it alleviates some of the anxiety about beginning secondary school. It also increases their aspirations. It decouples learning from constant talk of SATs, making it fun.” Joe Jones (Y6 teacher - Flora Gardens Primary)
“We have a large group of Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils who have continually demonstrated that they have the potential to consider independent secondary schools. We are delighted that the opportunities you present, allow us to give such a range of pupils, with a range of abilities, the chance to taste what it might be like. I can say first hand that several have then gone on to take the tests because of how much they enjoyed themselves at Latymer Upper.” Kieran Gorman (Deputy Head - St John’s Walham Green Primary)
“These sessions have really improved the confidence of our students who attended and a survey we completed showed that 100% of the children enjoyed the experience and thought that they were now able to do things other students in their class could not. They also felt more able to tackle things they did not understand. These sessions are also a valuable insight into secondary school life as part of the transition work with our Y6 students.” Robin Yeats (Deputy Head – Greenside Primary)
More than 10 Latymer Upper Y10 and L6 students help to run Saturday School each week and support the teaching staff.
Frequency and duration
Saturday School runs weekly during the whole of the spring term for 8-10 sessions from 9.45am-12pm. We anticipate the project running annually and indefinitely. In addition, in 2017 we launched a new Saturday initiative, Bright Sparks, aimed at academically able pupils who might benefit from entering Latymer Upper in Year 7 on a bursary.