Day 9 Beech Academy Summer School

Activity 1

The day started as every day with the SODA  where old targets were assessed and new ones set. Jonathon said his target was to lead a group discussion and give feedback as to whether the pupils had hit their targets. He told a mentor that at some point he would ask them to come and watch him hit his target. This was good to hear as it showed he was really keen to hit his higher level target. He was pushing himself to be the best he could be and it was great asking the mentor to act as a witness. Nathan’s target was to ask other people how he could improve in a task and he would then give feedback, either backing up or rejecting these suggestions. This showed Nathan acting as a real team player.

Activity 2

The energiser for the day was led by the student mentors. They decided on ‘To Bank or Not to Bank’ as this was a favourite with the children. It was fantastic to see Jonathon meeting his target of being helpful and cooperative by collecting the bean bags after they had been thrown. The activity was led brilliantly by the mentors and the children showed teamwork, encouraging and praising each other.

Activity 3

The ‘Dance Sequence’ involved the tutor groups coming up with a simple routine with four moves that they could perform together in time to music.  Despite some difficulties every group put together a sequence and performed their routine in front of the other groups.  Amy said she normally wouldn’t perform in front of people and found it hard in drama due to her shyness. She said this activity would give her more confidence in drama and when having to make presentations in other subjects. Despite Amy’s group making some mistakes during their routine they persevered and didn’t stop or let this affect the rest of their performance.   Lucy led her group keeping to the beat and the others in her group followed.  Her group saw her as their natural leader and Jack commented how Lucy was a good leader because when he was struggling with one of the moves she decided to make the move easier for him.

At lunch time David asked to sit next to one of the mentors as he said he hadn’t sat next to them for a few days while Amy sat with the other mentors which she hadn’t done before. Good manners were again brilliant with Lucy and Ceryn going around offering the spare sandwiches and with India offering fruit and Jack the drinks. There were many please and thank yous shared among the group, a real improvement and development from the first day.

After lunch the group played its usual game of ‘Capture the Flag’. It was great to see the honesty of the kids admitting to being caught. Ceryn admitting she was not in the safe zone when she had been tagged by Jonathon. When teams were chosen no one complained about not being with their friends and just accepted the decisions.

Activity 4

This activity was a repeat of the baseline assessment activities that were played on Day 1. Straightaway it was evident that the groups had learnt from last time they had played these activities. With the 9 star challenges Ceryn immediately demonstrated her problem solving skills by suggesting they try and connect the 9 stars with 5 lines as this was easiest way to score points. However, Lucy said she wanted to aim for 4 line connection as this was more difficult and would score a lot more points.  On the ‘Drainpipe Challenge’ Amy reminded the group that if they didn’t get low enough the ball would miss the target.  On the ‘Five Cone Challenge’ Ceryn reminded her group how it needed to be completed so they left the majority of the task to Ceryn to ensure they got a lot of points. They helped when she got stuck, kept to their clear roles and it worked a treat. This was a fine example of how far the children had come over the two weeks.

Activity 5

The group practised their presentations for Friday to perform in front of their class, student mentors, adult mentors and family. Video clips for the presentations were recorded and the Jack worked hard on this. Everything he said he related to the many different learning powers and how this would help him especially In KS3.  Every child had a different skill for their presentation and it was fantastic to see them aiming for 4 stars or higher.

Summer School is coming to a close with one more day for so much to be achieved by these amazing children. Targets were set higher than ever before and everybody – the children, student mentors, adult mentors and families – should be incredibly proud of everything they have achieved. The change the kids have gone through is incredible with some unrecognisable from Day 1. It has been a pleasure to see this happen. Every child loved every minute of it and I’m certain they will miss it. The mentors and student mentors were brilliant and achieved so much, I cannot speak highly enough of them.  Summer School has been absolutely amazing for these children and I’m sure it will continue to help them at every school they go to.