Summer school

Our summer school at St James in 2021 was facilitated by the Big Step transition programme. Their mission statement is as follows:

‘Our mission is to cultivate the potential in every student to thrive, not only in their new surrounding but as a global citizen by inspiring a love of learning, by challenging and supporting every student to achieve their best and give them lifelong tools to help them deal and flourish in twenty-first century society. Our summer transition programme provides young people with the support they need so their transition from Primary to Secondary School is a success.

The programme is delivered by teachers and takes place for one week over the course of the summer holidays. We pride ourselves on providing new students with a smooth and extensive programme where students arrive on their first day of school excited about the next chapter of their education, rather than feeling apprehensive about the journey ahead of them. 

The Programme is both educational and fun with curiosity central, to inspire students to learn. The timetable is interactive, challenging and has clear outcomes. There is a clear focus on identifying the needs of each student and then working with them to maintain their literacy and numeracy levels so that gains in primary school are not lost in transition.’

At St James the programme ran from the 2nd to 6th August and a total of 109 pupils attended over the course of the 5 days.

The students took part in transitional activities (such as meeting teachers or a tour of the school), additional subject support (such as English and maths), Sports-based activities,
such as team games, Arts-based activities, such as drama and visiting the theatre,
Wellbeing-based activities (such as team building or ‘getting-to-know-you’
exercises) and were also able to meet older students in the school who acted as mentors during the week and became a reliable point of contact for the younger pupils.

Funding was received from the Department of Education for our summer school as follows:

Funding received for


How funds were spent

Staffing / External providers


Transition course to support year 6 students with adjusting to new school settings– particularly those who are vulnerable.  

Directly employed staff


St James staff and site staff



Reprographics, clothing, rewards and materials


Site Costs


Utilities and Cleaning

Equipment for students


Equipment offered to students such as a pencil case and calculator




  The programme was very successful and the student feedback confirmed this.

Student feedback from – St James

The data below represents the % of students that either agreed or strongly agreed to a set of questions on the last day of the programme.


Question Student response (St James)- % of students who agreed or strongly agreed Overall % of students who agreed or strongly agree across all 17 summer schools
I had fun at the summer school 98 98
The activities provided were fun and engaging 99 96
The workshops provided will help me in the future (bullying, anxiety, scenarios) 93 90
The staff were helpful and supported me 99 97
I was pleased my new secondary school invited me to the summer school 98 90
Summer school has helped me to prepare for the summer 97 95
The Summer school has helped me with my literacy and numeracy* 72 56
I would recommend ‘The Big Step’ to other students  97 97

*Important to highlight that ‘The Big Step’ aims is to provide literacy and numeracy as a hidden curriculum, and at no point during the school week were children explicitly told that this is embedded within some activities.