As I enter a new phase of my life and my circle broadens, I start learning new things.” Kapil Dev
At Kings Langley School, we offer a week of summer school for our New Year 7 students to support their transition into secondary school alongside a series of other events. This is offered to all students and is always in the final week of the summer holidays, so that it leads beautifully into the new school term. The week encompasses a wide range of activities which have been organised to address and fulfil our planned intentions.
We have a broad set of intentions and aims to cover and achieve from students’ well-being to embracing the school’s ethos and culture. The key intentions are:
- For students to enjoy their first experiences at Kings Langley School
- To ensure that students feel safe and comfortable with the staff and inside the school building
- To design activities and situations which encourage students to make new friends and build good relationships
- To share and encourage students to embrace our core values and ethos of character
- To help give students an understanding of the expectations of KLS school and KLS lessons
- To identify any key weaknesses of individuals for numeracy and literacy
We plan a series of activities depending on the numbers of students attending and linking to the specialisms of the staff who are signed up to run the week. Our primary foci are to ensure that students feel comfortable entering a much larger building; can confidently find their way around the different areas and build good relationships with teaching staff and their peers, particularly within their form groups. To accomplish these, we include “Getting to know you” activities; team building games and school tours. We put students into friendship groups to begin with and ensure where a sole student comes from a primary school they are introduced to a group of others quickly. We make opportunities within the week for the whole cohort to mix, work in their form groups, as well as these social groups to aid friendships and familiarity amongst peers.
Our programme always includes sporting activities as these enable large groups to work together and encourage good character virtues such as team work; leadership; and kindness. There is an additional session on “The KLS Student” which looks at character traits that we would want a great student to have including stickability; self-regulation and empathy. This activity is designed to be creative and we encourage students to think “outside of the box”; and then present their ideas in small groups.
Students all receive a starter pack which includes the expected standard equipment they need for lessons, and we supply break time snacks and lunch. We encourage students to make their own rolls, which often leads to a learning moment on how to apply butter to bread and can lead to some quite interesting filling combinations! Students also receive a school logoed water bottle to avoid use of plastic cups and starts great recycling and environmental discussions.
Following the Covid disruptions to schools, this year we have added some English lessons focussed on a particular text, The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, which uses the reading reconsidered approach with the students being able to watch the film at the end of the week. We also provided some numeracy lessons focussed on the four functions which have allowed us to diagnose any potential weak areas so that we can adapt our curriculum or plan interventions as required.
This year the remaining activities were cooking (pizza, which many ate as part of their lunch); drama activities which encourage students to look at set design linked to the text of the week; some ICT focusing on digital competencies and oracy, for which we bought in an external company, Talk the Talk. In addition we offered an additional 10 hours of online tutoring for maths and English which they could access from home if they wished to take up this offer.
We asked students for feedback and received some great feedback.
- Did you feel that the staff made you feel welcome and safe at summer school? 100% Yes
- Did you make new friends at summer school? 88% Yes
- Did you feel more confident coming into the school building and finding your way around by the end of summer school? 94% Yes
- I loved it and wish I could do it again.
- I loved summer school. I found it a great opportunity to make new friends.
- Thank you for what you did I enjoyed it very much.
- Overall I really enjoyed summer school because it was very chilled and I was always doing something.