Impact of the Summer Schools Programme on Pupils

Caroline Sharp, Kerry Martin, Palak Mehta

13 June 2013

Research brief

This report presents the findings of the third and final phase of a research study commissioned by the Department for Education to evaluate their 2012 Summer Schools programme for disadvantaged pupils (i.e. those eligible for free school meals and those looked after continuously for more than six months by the local authority).

The study involved a survey of 21,065 Year 7 pupils from secondary schools across England, which aimed to explore pupils’ feelings towards starting secondary school and the difference made by attending a Summer School.

Key Findings

  • Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds (especially those eligible for FSM) had significantly lower levels of confidence, socialisation and school readiness on transfer to Year 7.
  • Attending a Summer School was related to more positive attitudes (for confidence, socialisation and school readiness); however, these should be viewed as ‘associations’ rather than causal links due to the limitations of the study design.
  • There was a lower take up of Summer School places among pupils from Asian backgrounds and those with EAL.
  • Boys appeared to be less positive in their enjoyment of Summer Schools.
  • While pupils with SEN are not specifically targeted by the Summer Schools programme, this study suggests that schools and policymakers should recognise the particular difficulties these pupils face at transition and their need for targeted support.
  • The study findings are broadly supportive of the Summer School programme and are consistent with a small positive effect on transition to secondary school, especially for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.