Summer School 2021
The Academy’s Summer School was a success: over the course of ten days, the Academy welcomed 120 Y6 students. Academy staff were helped by volunteers from the wider student body: Y8, Y9 and Y10 students selflessly gave up some of their summer break to act as peer mentors to the new students, encouraging them to take part in activities, making sure no student ate alone during the break time and helping staff to prepare and deliver sessions.
Each day brought with it a number of different activities and a different sporting event. The first day saw staff & students getting to know one another with several ice breakers and a session on positive relationships. Students created an A5 card about themselves which has been shared with the Y7 Pastoral Team. Teamwork and resilience shone through in the afternoon sporting activity, giving the students a chance to blow some steam off.
Tuesday was a day of creative fun. Students took part in a music workshop where in small groups, they devised their own Anti-Bullying song (which can be found on Sound Cloud). They went on to write poetry in the English session and learned how to make safe decisions online during the Internet Safety workshop. The day finished with Kwik Cricket and Rounders and even the staff gave it a go with Mrs O’Connell hitting a home run! In Tuesday’s debrief, it became clear that the students wanted to come onsite earlier to access the Library and to play some sport before the day began so it was agreed by all: gates open from 8.40am!
Wednesday’s early start saw 26 students borrow a Library book and 27 arrive to play basketball. This got the blood flowing for the puppetry workshop for week 1 students and mask making for week 2 students. Students completed a resilience workshop which advised them how to adapt to adversity and develop grit and determination whilst the jewellery making workshop was by far everyone’s favourite. So many students decided to make a gift for a loved one! The afternoon sporting session of either basketball or football again saw the staff being involved.
By Thursday, we were all in the swing of things and again students visited the Library or played sports in the Sports Hall. Today was all about the numbers as students became detectives in CSI Michaela Maths: entering a crime, set in the world of professional women’s football. They had to use their mathematical skills to solve the crime (which all groups did successfully!). Students also got to explore the Food Technology room as they again used their mathematical skills but this time to ensure they had the right amount of ingredients for baking cookies. Students also took part in a Mind Full session, which aimed to encourage them to develop a sense of self-worth, belief and courage. Thursday’s sporting activity was the big one: an Athletics Event. Students were incredibly supportive of their teammates, cheering them on and applauding every participant!
Although there were lots of tired faces by Friday, there was still so much fun to be had. Students were able to learn their way around the Science Laboratory, making coloured – and glittery if you fancied – slime, explored the Textiles room where they designed a canvas bag to take home with them and consolidated the start of their St Paul’s journey by becoming ‘St Paul’s Ready’ and learning about some of the routines and habits of the Academy. We finished with a live – and incredibly funny and relatable – play about transitioning to Secondary School and were able to welcome parents & carers to the Celebration Ceremony. Here students received a Certificate of Attendance, a copy of their poems from the English workshop, a pre-filled pencil case to help make sure they are fully equipped for school, their slime and their canvas bag they had designed. Families were also able to listen to the brilliant music tracks created!
Undeniably, the summer school has helped our new students settle. Getting to know each other and some of the older students has helped to ease their anxiety and raise their confidence. It has helped them navigate a building which is considerably larger than their primary setting and forge relationships with staff outside of the classroom. It was a pleasure and staff look forward to the 2022 Summer School!