Summer Schools Programme for Disadvantaged Pupils: Key Findings for Schools

Laurie Day, Kerry Martin, Caroline Sharp, Rachel Gardner, Jo Barham

05 March 2013

Overview report | Research brief | Top tips

The Department for Education commissioned NFER and Ecorys to evaluate the implementation and early outcomes of the Summer Schools programme. The initiative aims to help disadvantaged pupils (i.e. those eligible for free school meals and those looked after continuously for more than six months by the local authority) to make a successful transition to Year 7. The research involved a survey of all participating schools and visits to ten case-study Summer Schools.

Key Findings

  • The initiative was viewed extremely positively by schools, pupils and their parents/carers. Of the 838 schools responding to the survey, 94 per cent considered their Summer School a success and 95 per cent would take part in the programme again.
  • Summer Schools appeared to be supporting disadvantaged pupils’ social and emotional wellbeing in particular. Fewer focused directly on improving pupils’ attainment.
  • Summer schools were delivered in a variety of ways. Most took place in the two weeks immediately after the end of the summer term. Most schools (74 per cent) also offered places to non-disadvantaged pupils.
  • The funding allocation (£250 per disadvantaged pupil per week) was sufficient for most schools. The average (median) cost per pupil per week was £185, which enabled schools to deliver a broad range of activities.
  • Getting pupils to attend was the most common challenge. Half of the disadvantaged pupils invited to a Summer School attended at least once.
  • Summer Schools enabled schools to get an insight to pupils’ academic and pastoral support needs.

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