Prior to the announcement of another national Lockdown in the UK, The Bemrose School were busy planning follow up event to their successful Summer School.  Teachers at the school had identified several Year 10 and 11 pupils as at risk of falling behind in their subject areas.  plan for an October half term school materialised, covering subjects such as English language, English literature, maths, sport, science, Spanish, business, iMedia, art, music and computer science. 

Following the successful Summer School back in August 2020The School’s Assistant Head for Key Stage 4, Caroline Spalding, reached out to DANCOP’s Outreach Hub once again to support another amazing opportunity for learners at The Bemrose School.  We reviewed their proposal and agreed to cover 50% of the cost of their “Half Term Autumn School, the maximum amount permitted by the Office for Students to qualify as a match-funded project.   

The Half Term School took place during the autumn term in October 2020.  The Half Term School saw 82 pupils from Year 10 and 11 attend at least one session, with the incentive to work towards success in their GCSE’s. Data collected shows that 29 of these pupils attended more than one session over the week, with fourteen teachers offering their support to these sessions, racking up an impressive 352 hours of additional study over the course of the project 

Data collections which would have been used to judge the impact of the project on pupil attainment have been affected by COVID-19 and school closuresThe Bemrose School have plans for a future evaluation on how COVID-19 and school closures have specifically impacted on Year 11 pupils.   

Leaners across the UK are dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19 and school closures, in particular disadvantaged learners. According to a report published in September 2020, by Post Parliament UK, learners from disadvantaged groups tend to have a lower attainment compared to their peers. This is referred to as the disadvantaged gapwhich can prevent access to   higher education, which is likely to have widened because of COVID-19.   

Reviewing an article posted by Young Minds on their website in June 2020,  they examined the challenges disadvantaged learners face with virtual learning, such as lack of technology available and less support from parents/carers in comparison to their peers.   Attempts to address these problems such as a Government schemes to get laptops and tablets for learners who were unable to access face to face education due to COVID-19 were introduced in 2020, with the positive roll out and impact of such initiatives yet to be reported on. 

The Bemrose School is  on the right track in their battle against the effects of COVID-19 and school closures for their learners.  By carrying out their non-term time events, data from the spring Year 10 data collection indicated that pupils who attended the sessions had made +0.14 progress from KS2 compared to pupils who did not attend. This was mirrored in the results from their Summer School back in August 2020, showing just how effective and worthwhile these initiatives have been for their learners. 

The work has been so positive that the Outreach Hub  is now  in talks around  other potential match funded projects with The Bemrose SchoolWe are looking forward to seeing the results of future projects and expect them to be just as positive as they have been for the Half Term School. 

If you would like to talk to us about how we can support you with an outreach initiative, please get in touch with us at hub@teamdancop.co.uk. 

Author: Nina March