Students across Rochdale are required to attend summer schools to help them catch up on the learning they missed due to the pandemic.
A dozen high schools in the district offer one- and two-week programs, which are mainly aimed at young people moving from elementary to secondary.
The Department of Education estimates that in the first semester of fall 2020, seven to 14 year olds were about two months behind in reading, while seven to 11 year olds were about three months behind in math.
Anecdotal evidence also indicates that children’s mental health has suffered from lockdowns and periods of individual or classroom isolation – even after schools were fully reopened in the fall.
But summer schools with a mix of academic and “enrichment” activities have the potential to help students make up for some of their missed education.
Although specific arrangements are made by individual schools, it is expected that principals will want to focus on students leaving primary school in September.
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This time is known to be a difficult time for some young people – and made even more difficult by the impacts of the pandemic.
Schools eligible for funding include state-funded secondary and special schools, unmanaged special schools, and the student guidance unit.
It will also be made available to pupils whose education is financed by the local authority outside state-financed schools, including independent schools.
The 12 participating schools in Rochdale are:
Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School
Great Howarth School
Catholic College of the Holy Family and Church of England
Kingsway Park High School
Matthew Moss High School
Middleton School of Technology
New House Academy
Older Hill Community School and Language College
Academy of St. Anne’s Church in England
St Cuthbert’s RC High School
Rochdale council was unable to provide details on programs at specific schools.
However, the benefits would include helping children make new friends, build relationships with teachers, and familiarize themselves with their new school environment.
Education bosses believe summer schools also offer an “important opportunity to support student well-being.”
The DfE website adds: “Schools should include enrichment activities, such as team games, music, drama or sports activities. The cultural capital that students have lost is also important.
“The students may not have heard as many words as they do on a normal day or read the books or been to different places than they might have otherwise. Some students will not have had access to a garden or other safe outdoor space during the lockdown, so schools may want to offer these opportunities as part of the summer school. “
Guidelines when announcing the summer school initiative in February read: ‘£ 200million will be available for secondary schools to offer face-to-face summer courses.
“Schools will be able to target supply based on student needs, but the government suggests they may want to target incoming 7th grade students initially.
“This is in addition to broader support funded by our vacation activities and our food program across the country.”
The amount of funding schools receive will depend on the number of pupils enrolled and the type of school, with £ 590 per pupil provided in a regular school.
All students will also be able to access online resources during summer vacation.
These will be provided by Oak National Academy.
The government said it would “help give students the confidence that they are ready for the next school year.”