The last school bell has rung, and your students have piled out of class for the long Summer holidays. They’ve worked hard and they deserve a good break. But how long will it be before they’ve forgotten months worth of lessons?
It’s a big worry for lots of teachers, and research has shown that Summer learning loss can mean kids lose up to two months worth of Maths and reading skills. What’s worse is that disadvantaged pupils tend to be doubly affected. But without invading your students’ Summer holidays, what can you do before term ends to put them in a better position at the start of next term?
Parental engagement is one of the biggest factors that affects the level of Summer learning loss in each pupil.
While we know it can be challenging to arrange, the best way to get your pupils’ parents on board is to talk with them about it in person. Where attendance allows, the summer term parents’ evening is a great chance to bring it up Summer Learning Loss. You can tell them about what their child’s strengths and weaknesses were over the last year, and what’s expected of them in September.
It’s proven that just 2 hours of intellectual stimulation a week can offset learning loss. So together you can work out a plan for how to keep their child’s learning ticking over through the hols – embedding a ‘keep up, not catch up’ mentality at home. Depending on each kid’s interests and passions, you can work out some summer activities that are perfectly suited to them, and which they’ll enjoy.
Once exams are over and their focus begins to trail off, you can tap into their excitement for the summer with a list of fun things to do. It could be for free local museums, theatres with cheap kids’ tickets or free summer school workshops. Educational doesn’t have to mean boring! It just needs to be a selection of activities that require them to either problem-solve, synthesise information, work with others or learn new things.
A collection of online resources that’ll interest them too can help make their screen time actively useful too. Khan Academy and TedEd have loads of amazing and professionally made videos and online lessons kids can use for free. The British Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum also all have huge free online collections that they can access from anywhere.
There are a number of private education companies that can help provide educational ‘nudges’ over the summer break. Both staff and students need the summer holidays to relax and recharge so Summer Programmes with MyTutor are light-touch, but effective.
Pupils who qualify for pupil premium get their own one-to-one tutor in whichever subject the school selects them for. Because it’s online, lessons are super-easy to set up at home. They can do them in their room, at Granny’s house – even on holiday. All they need is a computer and an internet connection.
Teachers get a proper break and at-risk pupils maintain their learning too. A great example of where this worked is Harlington Upper School in Bedfordshire where they went from the bottom 10% of schools to the top 25% for pupil attainment.
Another simple way to engage parents and pupils is with a Summer activities email. Sent out to everyone, it can prompt conversations between kids and their parents about what learning to plan for the Summer.
You can also include suggestions for summer learning activities, as well as a round up of what they were taught this year so they know what they’ll be expected to remember come September. That way, when they come to revisit the subject before term starts they’ll know exactly where to go.
You can also keep your students’ attention with a mid-Summer email. For both parents and students, include a list of refresher lesson topics for September so they’ll know what to focus on until then. Planned ahead-of-time, it’s a smart way to remind them of what to expect after the Summer, before they forget!
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