How will you keep your students’ learning on track over the summer holidays?

By Deborah Fisher

The summer term is almost at an end, which means the risk of learning loss is about to return – a key challenge for many a teacher come September.

This year, I’ve really noticed the increased focus schools are putting on preventing the fall back in progress over the holidays.

Some of the independent schools I speak to are offering summer camps to help children in their area keep their maths or literacy skills fresh – alongside the chance to try activities they might not have had a go at before, such as kayaking, playing chess or singing in a choir.

There is an emphasis on getting parents involved too, especially when it comes to helping younger children. One school I was talking to recently is encouraging parents to help their child start a diary to practise their handwriting, as well as promoting the local library reading scheme. Another school has launched a project for the children to take photos of themselves eating something new, which is linked to a KS2 healthy eating topic.

In both cases, children who complete the tasks will be able to proudly display the fruits of their labour on a board when they return to school – a great start to the beginning of the new term.

But to tackle the summer slide, you need to be able to spot it. I know of a school that has used historical achievement data to identify that boys are more likely to experience summer learning loss than girls. This allowed the SLT to put a package of support in place for boys when they returned to school. By tracking progress closely, the school could see that the scheme had been an effective way to close the achievement gap. They are planning to do the same this year.

So, how much of an issue is ‘summer slide’ at your school? And what measures are you putting in place to uncover it and prevent it from having a major impact on pupils’ achievement once the new academic year begins?

I'd love to know your thoughts, make sure you comment below.

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