First day at the ‘big school’ is child’s play

First day at the ‘big school’ is child’s play

At summer school, from left, Winter Young, aged 11, Ben Hesketh, aged 16, and Louise Davies, aged 11

First day at the ‘big school’ is child’s play

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , education reporter

TODAY will be a daunting experience for many children as they start secondary school.

But not in Bolton where many youngsters have been counting down the days to starting the next chapter of their schooling career.

Winter Young, aged 11, is one of Harper Green School’s new starters.

She said: “I am really excited at starting high school, I have been saying it is one more week before starting at the school.”

Winter, a former St James’ CE Primary School pupil, was one of many youngsters who attended Harper Green School’s summer school.

This gave the new Year Sevens an opportunity to familiarise themselves with “big school” in a fun way.

They had a chance to meet staff, and current and former pupils at the Farnworth school while taking part in a variety of enrichment activities.

Winter said: “At first I was a little nervous about starting secondary school, I was worried about getting lost in the building and being late for lessons — but now I have made new friends before I have even started at the school, and I know my way around the building.”

Summer school is one part of Harper Green School’s programme to make the move from primary school to high school easier.

Clare Griffiths, the school’s transition manager, said: “We have been staging summer schools for many years.

“It aids the transition from primary school to secondary school.

“It helps children get used to the school, they get to know the staff and then starting secondary school is no longer a big issue. They feel more comfortable and are ready to learn when they start.

“When they first start at summer school they are quite shy but they quickly grow in confidence.”

She added: “We have had children from 39 primary schools starting at Harper Green School and some are coming alone, so this helps them make new friends before they start.”

Nearly 200 children attended and they enjoyed trips out and activities such as dance, football, and games including being given money to start up a football team.

And the theme throughout the summer school was team work, which highlighted that numeracy and literacy can be fun — with Kindles being handed out as rewards.

Parents were invited to get involved too by attending a celebration lunch giving them a chance to establish a close relationship with the school, which is said to be an important part in children doing well at school.

Louise Davies, aged 11, is the only pupil from Bowness Primary, in Little Lever, starting at Harper Green.

She said: “I was really nervous about starting secondary school, but now I know that other people are starting on their own too, and I have made friends. I feel much more confident.”

Current and ex-pupils helped staff run the summer school and have acted as role models and familiar faces for the new intake.

Headboy Ben Hesketh, who achieved an A*, 10As and two Bs in this summer’s GCSEs, said: “I did not attend summer school when I was moving from primary school to high school and it took me until Christmas to start feeling comfortable.

“It is a big move and can be nerve-racking having different teachers from different subjects, going to different classrooms.

“Summer schools are a brilliant idea, it gives children a chance to meet others in their year those in older years.”

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