In March 2021, the Department for Education issued research that estimated that in the first half term of Autumn 2020, pupils were behind on maths and reading and that anecdotal evidence pointed to children and young people’s mental health having suffered from lockdown and periods of individual or class isolation.
Whilst The Island Project School had remained open through lockdown and all pupils had continued to attend school, staffing had been adversely affected (with staff shielding/self isolating) by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this meant that pupils had extended periods of reduced timetables.
Assessments carried out by the School showed that some pupils had benefited from the reduced timetable, others had not been impacted, whilst some had not made progress as expected due to the reduced timetable. Overall, every pupil had made measurable progress over the year and the rates of acquisition remained consistent for pupils. However, it was felt that an opportunity to consolidate learning throughout the year would be beneficial to all pupils
The School had its first full closure for Covid in February 2021, with further closures in June and July 2021. Unfortunately, this last closure did impact on the number of days offered for this year’s Summer school.
As part of it’s offer to pupils at the School, The Island Project has always run a summer school programme for those pupils returning in the following academic year. This summer school traditionally runs for the last two weeks of July and first week in August. Historically, this has been subsidised by the Charity for two reasons: firstly our pupils can find a traditional 6 week holiday period overly long, meaning that they find it much more difficult to settle back into the School routine upon return. Second, running summer school allows families to spend time with siblings during the mainstream school holidays without the caring responsibilities for their children who attend our school.
Following discussion with the Trustees on the impact that reduced timetables and closures had for pupils, the School took the decision to apply for funding to run the Summer School for the period from 27th July to 5th August 2021. All pupils within the School were offered the chance to attend summer school, irrespective of school year. There were no pupils due to transition into School in Autumn 2021, and due to the highly specialist setting of the School, pupils from other schools did not attend the Summer School.