Scheme helps Sheffield kids to ease worries over new secondary school

Youngsters who took part in the Early Risers scheme.

Youngsters who took part in the Early Risers scheme.

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A scheme for students starting secondary school in south east Sheffield has boosted grades and reduced children’s anxieties about starting a new school, project leaders say.

Research into the Sheffield Council-backed Early Riser scheme – which involves year six pupils starting secondary school early at the end of the summer term – found 66 per cent of children are making expected or better progress, compared to 40 per cent before the scheme was introduced.

Every year there are around 5000 youngsters aged 11 and 12 who start secondary school in Sheffield in what can be a worrying time with issues such as; not knowing who their teachers are, who to contact if there is a problem and how much extra homework they can expect. But to ease these worries, the Early Riser scheme involves year six pupils from six primary schools in the Manor, Arbourthorne and Darnall area going to their new secondary schools Park Academy and Springs Academy for the last three weeks of the summer term.

Matt Wainwright, Early Riser’s coordinator for Sheffield Park Academy, said: “Pupils can get used to the ins and outs of their new school, and meet their teachers to find out what is expected of them before the summer holidays.

“They are then ready to hit the ground running in September. As a result our new year sevens are much calmer, more punctual and ready for learning.”

Eden, aged 11, from Arbourthorne, who started at Sheffield Park Academy in September 2015, said: “It was really enjoyable to meet new friends and find my way around.”