Gainsborough: School’s in for the summer at the Academy

Pupils try their hand at cooking during the summer school at Gainsborough Academy. Picture: Robin Booker
Pupils try their hand at cooking during the summer school at Gainsborough Academy. Picture: Robin Booker

While other children were taking a well-deserved break from the classroom, 29 future Year Seven students at the Gainsborough Academy spent the first week of their summer holidays back in school.

However, this was a school with a difference- lessons included archery, climbing, green screen cycling, team-building, problem solving, orienteering, treasure hunting and art.

And the classrooms included the Kingswood Centre near Doncaster and The Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds.

“Summer school was awesome, It was so much fun with plenty of activities to do, I would recommend it to all Year Six students,” said Kaitlun Bousfield, one of the students who took part.

Another, Josh Dukes, added: I really loved it because ti was inspiring. I just wish it lasted longer as I enjoyed it so much.”

These lucky youngsters were the beneficiaries of a Government-funded initiative enabling students to make a better transition to secondary school by bridging the gap between primary and secondary school.

The summer school included two full days out of the school itself and was specifically designed by the staff leaders to develop the skills of higher order thinking, teamwork, resilience and independence, which will be required to succeed both at secondary school and later in life.

The project was funded through Pupil Premium money to ensure students are familiar with their new teachers and the new school, make new friends among their peers and develop the skills they will need starting from September.

The summer school was run by experienced staff and student mentors who used their own experiences to support the students, who were very impressed by their talent and kindness.

Mark Szostak, Head of House and senior leader for student engagement praised the young leaders at the event.

“This Academy is all about developing leadership and independence, and here we are with 15 and 16 year-old students leading sessions for our new Year Sevens,” he said.

“We are very proud of them, developing their own leadership skills and encouraging leaders of the future”.

Michael Hatfield, vice-principal, director of student progression, and co-leader of the summer school, agreed and praised the Government funding which made the summer school possible.

“It is essential that the transition to secondary school is made as successful as possible, and this funding has given the new Year Seven students opportunities they could never have had otherwise,” he said.

“This kind of dedication and commitment is typical of our staff, who always put the needs of the students first, and who are determined to give Gainsborough Academy students the best possible chance of success.

“The summer school has offered some of the most disadvantaged students a fabulous and engaging learning experience, and most of all has given them a week of real enjoyment.

“All learning should be fun, and we have been free to develop and encourage the students to challenge themselves, without having to worry about written tests.

“When we were climbing, students conquered their own fears and doubts and displayed determination, resilience and courage- all the qualities we most want to see in our young people.

“The students have been fantastic, dealing with tough challenges in an unfamiliar environment, and they have been exemplary.”