Highgate and the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham (LAET) both hosted a unique summer school for 82 Year 10 students from across Haringey who have been most affected by prolonged school closures due to COVID-19.
The aim was to provide some of North London’s most disadvantaged students with the opportunity to get back into a school environment for the first time since March and make up for lost learning before transitioning into Year 11 in September. The students, nominated by their teachers, were able to catch up in core subjects, take part in careers workshops and learn new skills, with a focus on wellbeing support.
The LAET cohort took part in a day of debating inside Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium, the first of its kind. The event was designed to empower young people to develop and express their views on social issues, with students debating the re-opening of schools, policing, and drug culture.
Head Adam Pettitt said: “It has been wonderful to see pupils at Highgate and LAET this week who are clearly so happy to be back at school. The turnout has been phenomenal and every day the pupils are choosing to be here in their summer holiday and are engaging fully in academic life—brushing up on old skills and learning new ones. We know that this will make a huge difference to their readiness to be back in their own schools in September and our teachers and staff are also thrilled to be back in the classroom again—doing what they do best—teaching rich and inspiring lessons to real live pupils!”
Donna-Maria Cullen, Executive Director, Tottenham Hotspur, said: “The Club is rooted within its local community and we are pleased to have been able to offer our stadium for a number of different uses during the current pandemic. We have always placed a huge amount of importance on the education of our local young people and have been delighted to support Highgate School and LAET in providing this unique opportunity to students who need it most at such a crucial time.”
The challenge posed by Covid-19
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, there was already a sizeable attainment gap between the richest and poorest children across the UK. However, with UK school closures lasting up to six months, it has been there are fears that Covid-19 has further widened this gap:
- The Education Endowment Fund estimates that the gap may increase by up to 36%, whilst other studies show a variation between 11-75%.
- 60% of independent schools and 37% of the most affluent state schools already had an online platform in place to facilitate online learning, compared to 23% of the most deprived schools’ pupils.
- Research from the Sutton Trust indicates that children at private schools were much more likely to learn using an online platform than state schools.
- 81% of independent secondaries and 51% of pupils in middle class households were in communication with their teachers compared to 38% of working-class pupils.
The increasing attainment gap emphasises the need for the Chrysalis programme and its interventions which can help young people catch up on lost learning.
The young people who took part spoke glowingly about their experience:
“The Chrysalis Summer School is a place to find other pupils in your position and realise that you are not alone.” – Female pupil, Parliament Hill School
“I believe that that this summer school has helped me improve my knowledge and will help me get better grades.” – Male pupil, St. Aloysius RC College
“If you are concerned about what you want to do in the future or want to make friends then this is a great opportunity for you.” – Female pupil, Woodside High School
Read more about the results of the Summer School here