Support programme delivers over 1000 hours

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Students at Harrogate Grammar School received more than 1,000 hours of additional support to help them through a tumultuous school year during the Covid pandemic.

Teaching staff volunteered to run extra sessions and more than 800 students benefited across all year groups. That is the equivalent of every student receiving an additional six weeks’ support on top of their normal timetable.

The school devised a programme of additional support which followed research evidence pointing to the impact of high-quality one-to-one and small group tuition, and also identified those who were most in need of extra help.

It focused on using the funding to support students in the most effective way possible, prioritising students in Years 11 and 13 who were due to sit their GCSE and A level assessments and also offering younger students emotional and wellbeing support. The sessions ranged from small group support to an additional lesson for a whole class.

The programme was funded by the government’s universal catch-up premium, aimed at helping children and young people catch up on missed learning caused by the pandemic. The programme roll-out was coordinated by former HGS student Ellie Short, who returned after university to work as Academic Support Coordinator. A new role that the school created to meet this need.

Government funding will also be used to further support certain students this year in the form of two summer school events. The first of these is focused on helping students improve their literacy, numeracy and science skills and is being run in combination with Andy Brown of Strive. Those invited are from the new and current year 7 and year 8. The 2-week offer will help students by placing them in the best position for the new school year, but also support mental health and wellbeing via creative options and sports.

HGS is excited to also host a transition summer school for the first time. This means that all of the new year 7 cohort have the opportunity to meet the staff, experience team building, fun activities and a taster of the opportunities on offer to them throughout their school journey.

This year, the school invested in the successful foundation of a nurture provision to support year 7 students. This provision will be enhanced in the coming year so that the cohort of students joining in September will continue to experience the level of support they need. Director of Lower School, Kristin Smith, said: “It has been a real privilege see the students gain confidence and flourish, this provision truly allows us to offer excellence for all.”

Headteacher Neil Renton said: “We are very proud of the way staff have pulled together to provide additional support for students and the way our students have embraced this provision. We look forward to developing the learning from this recovery provision into future years.”