DISADVANTAGED youngsters at risk of falling behind as they move from primary to secondary education are being given a ‘flying start’ at senior school.
Lessons may be out for the holidays, but 19 secondary schools in Sheffield are opening their doors to youngsters going through the move for the first time in a special fortnight-long project.
The measure aims to stop results falling and children from been left behind as they find the transition daunting, or lessons more challenging once they move up.
Those on free school meals and looked-after children will take part in the £50 million scheme as pupils vulnerable to falling behind.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the Summer Schools programme.
The Liberal Democrat leader and MP for Sheffield Hallam, said: “I’m proud of this £50m worth of extra brain training that will give tens of thousands of disadvantaged pupils across the country a flying start at secondary school, including in Sheffield.
“It’s two weeks in the summer holidays where pupils can catch up on learning and get to grips with life in secondary school – in short, get on the starting blocks ready for the off in September/
“Those who struggle to make the transition are often among the poorest in society, but two weeks of activities can really help to bridge the gap.
“It’s good news for mums and dads too – no parent wants their child to be left out and fall behind, but not everyone has the luxury of taking long periods off work during the summer break.
“Summer schools will ensure pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds can start secondary school on an equal footing, setting them up to succeed.”
Most secondary schools in Sheffield are taking part in the scheme. Extra activities they are set to hold include catch-up classes such as literacy and numeracy boosters, sessions to familiarise them with secondary school life, plus arts, music or sporting activity.
The curriculum for the two weeks is designed by individual schools to give maximum flexibility so that courses are tailored to pupils’ needs.
Across the country, 2,000 sites are taking part and about 65,000 youngsters are expected to benefit from the extra support.
Parents on The Star’s Facebook fan page backed the project.
Vickie Louise Mawson said: “Great idea and it keeps them out of trouble.”