This year more than ever, it’s going to be vital to give our new Year 7s the very best possible start to an exciting new phase in their education. And our range of Summer School programmes, including a great new workshop, Bags of Confidence, does just that – by providing creative activities specially designed to engage pupils in their learning, get to know some of their new peers and allay some of their anxieties. All can be safely delivered in line with individual schools’ Covid-19 policies. Just get in touch for more details – we’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Our most popular Summer School Workshops include:
Bags of Confidence
It’s going to be an exceptionally anxious time for the new intake of Year 7s as they both cope with all that’s happened since the spring and manage the transition to their secondary schools. So we’ve developed Bags of Confidence, a workshop designed to support this group of young people by engaging them in activities allowing them to get to know some of their new peers and explore some of the different areas of the curriculum they’ll be encountering – all with a healthy dollop of fun!
Bags of Confidence has been developed with the current situation in mind, so can be safely delivered in accordance with individual schools’ Covid-19 policies. And it’s appropriate for both term time and, for those schools planning Summer Schools, in the summer holiday.
CSI: Michaela Maths
Combining football, murder mysteries and problem-solving, CSI: Michaela Maths is one of the most popular programmes, offering pupils an opportunity to apply their skills and understanding of shape and measurement in a unique environment. If it hadn’t been for the quick thinking of one of her teammates, Michaela Maths, one of Britain’s most promising young athletes, would be dead – slain by an unseen hand! The police are baffled by the crime and want the pupils’ help in solving it. Having been introduced to the crime, the suspects and their possible motives, students will work in teams on a carousel probing a range of mathematical skills. Taken together, these lead to the suspects being eliminated, one by one – until, if all the calculations are correct, the criminal is unmasked.
CSI: Bake Off
All is not well in the world of the Bake Off – one of the judges, Saul Pinewood, has had food poisoning – and he knows it wasn’t an accident! He’s narrowed the field down to six suspects – and hopes that pupils can use their understanding of fractions, percentages and measurements to help him take the final step.
The Trading Game
The Trading Game provides students with opportunities to think about maths in some very different ways. Working in an ever-shifting environment, they’ll come to understand that “value” can be a concept that changes depending on circumstances, that the ability to prioritise is an essential mathematical skill, and that the properties of 2D shapes allow them to be arranged in a variety of ways.
And while the Game has its own intrinsic merit, of course, its greater value lies in the follow-up – where students are facilitated through a process allowing them to identify and categorise the skills they have had to use.
Fast, furious and fantastically engaging, The Trading Game is particularly appropriate for schools operating “bubbles” consisting of entire year groups
Number Patterns: The Bunker
At the heart of maths, of course, lies the ability to identify, analyse and predict patterns. so, inspired by the work of Alan Turing and his fellow mathematicians at Bletchley Park during World War II, The Bunker is based in cryptology – the writing and reading of codes. Appealing to all age and ability ranges, The Bunker has a simple premise. Working in teams, and at their own pace, students need to identify as closely as possible the location of an Enemy Radio Transmitter by cracking a series of increasingly fiendish numeric, geometric and semiotic ciphers. The more codes they crack, the more precisely they’ll be able to pin the Transmitter down.
The Bunker has been so successful over the years that we've now developed the most challenging version so far (for those who wish to take it!). Calling on participants to manipulate numbers, geometrics and abstract symbols, it's ideal for high-ability mathematicians - and provides a perfect way of demonstrating just how far maths can take you!
Exploring (according to year group and time): number bonds, sequences and patterns, Rebus codes, ROT codes, ETA code-breaking.
Spotlight on Shakespeare
Shakespeare didn't write his plays to be read - he wrote them to be experienced, of course, as living, breathing narratives. So our. Spotlight on Shakespeare programmes offer pupils a uniquely "actor's eye view" of a text of your choice. Mixing whole group activity, classic drama exercises, structured improvisation and grappling with the text, pupils will explore the backstory, meet some of the principal characters, bring to life key "landmark moments" and respond to "unseen scenes". Our approaches can be used to explore any of Shakespeare’s plays – but for Year 6 we particularly recommend "Macbeth", “Romeo and Juliet”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Tempest”.
Macbeth in a Day! (Literacy)
One of our professional theatre practitioners will bring our specially abridged "Forty Five Minute Macbeth" and spend a day directing your pupils as they rehearse it. By the end of the day they'll have explored all the characters, mastered the verse and learnt the moves - and we'll also provide you with a list of cheap and/or easy to make costume and prop suggestions. And by the end of the day, you'll have a performance fit for an audience!
Note: Macbeth in a Day can accommodate a maximum of two classes in a single day.
Those pupils who claim they don’t like poetry will be writing furiously at the end of this magical workshop. Realising the power of “sound”, they’ll design and perform two contrasting soundscapes, working to topics/themes of your choice. We’ll then guide them through a structure supporting them in crafting richly descriptive poems that tell both individual and collective stories.
Longer workshops will also see pupils gaining experience in presentation skills as we support them in exploring the most effective ways to deliver their poems vocally.
CSI: Reading Skills
Students who tell us they don’t like “reading” are always amazed when they realise quite how much skilful reading they’ve accomplished by the end of this fun and busy workshop. From inference and deduction to skimming and scanning, from previewing to predicting and from context to content, CSI: Reading Skills makes no bones in drawing connections between the everyday skills required to interpret infographics and play computer games and those required to delve into more formal texts.
Specifically designed to support students in making those connections between different ways of “reading”, CSI: Reading Skills sees them working in small teams to help out in a time of national emergency – because a briefcase containing some Top Secret plans was discovered on the 8.42 to Little Padworth, destined for an Enemy Power. The only clues to the identity of the traitor are to be found in a pile of old train tickets, recipe, book reviews and faded photographs. If “read” correctly, however, they’ll allow the pupils to discover who took the plans and why.
From Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon to the photographs sent back by Juno on its historic and ongoing mission to Jupiter, we’re all entranced by our neighbours in the solar system. And space exploration nowadays, of course, is a collaborative and multinational affair, bringing the world closer together. Taking things one step further, this intriguing workshop asks pupils to imagine the day when interplanetary tours are possible. Informed by the endeavours of such new space actors as Virgin Galactic and Space X, they’ll plan, prepare and present short plays exploring the problems posed by visiting the sulphurous volcanoes of Venus, the gaseous storms of Saturn or the icy plains of Pluto. Just remember one thing: “In space, no-one can hear you scream …”
Thinking Back, Looking Forward: The Story so Far...
As your new Year 7s look forward to the next phase of their lives, this workshop offers them space to reflect on what they’ve gained from primary school and what they’re looking forward to about secondary school. After participating in creative activities allowing them to reflect on both the past and the future, they’ll design book covers for the story of their lives so far. What will their designs tell us about them and their achievements and, perhaps more importantly, what exciting plot twists will the blurb on the back promise…?
Outcomes: Individually designed book covers; a consideration of personal achievement and aspirations.
Cross-Curricular Links: Art, literacy, DT
"Thanks for your energy and enthusiasm – were really looking forward to the final performance" (Year 6 teacher, Mosspits Primary School)
Putting it into Words
We all know how difficult it can be to identify our own experiences and put them into words - so this delightful workshop helps Year 6s think back on their years with you through the “eyes” of a range of inanimate objects that have witnessed them growing up - the clock in the hall, perhaps, or the goalposts on the yard! We’ll support them in recalling the sounds, sights and scents of the past this way, then guide them through a process that will allow them to craft poignantly evocative poems. And in longer workshops we’ll give some guidance on performance, too, so that their verses can be shared with others.
Cross-Curricular Links: Art, literacy
Digital versions of some of our most popular maths programmes, allowing you to run these in school yourselves, without running any of the risks associated with hosting external visitors: The Benefactor, The Race into Space and The Riddle of the Sphinx!
Our Outdoor Learning programmes have long been both popular and successful – and are ideally suited to the current situation, providing children with fantastic opportunities to place curriculum areas in context, to enjoy all the myriad benefits of being outside and to engage in social (but safe) behaviour.