Summer school options for children in the UK

Discover how summer schools can offer vital support for students in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Published: July 21, 2020

In a bid to tackle the impact of COVID-19 and prepare kids to return to school in September, the Department of Education is asking primary schools to hold summer schools for pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6. Schools aren’t obliged to do so as the initiative is entirely voluntary. However, the department has said it “may provide financial support” to schools running summer schools in July.

This blog looks at some of the thinking behind this initiative and the types of activities that summer schools might offer students.

Why run summer schools?

The coronavirus lockdown has had a huge effect on young people, with them missing valuable lessons and socialising with friends. Summer schools are a great way of returning some structure to kids’ lives as well as helping them readjust to the classroom.

Many schools up and down the country are also conscious of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on disadvantaged students. As Councillor Mike Ross, of Hull City Council said: “parents and teachers locally are concerned that pupils, especially the most disadvantaged, will have suffered as a result of the lockdown and the limitations on access to education”.

Summer schools can offer a valuable touch-point for children living in poverty or those with an erratic home life.

What kind of activities can summer schools offer?

Dundee Rep Theatre is just one example of an organisation that’s embracing summer schools. It also shows that summer school programmes aren’t confined to schools and can be run by non-academic organisations! The theatre is currently gearing up to launch its summer programme of activities for local primary and secondary schools.

For primary students, the theatre has set up the ‘Dundee Spy Academy’ which will consist of a week-long course allowing participants to develop their spy skills, crack codes and complete a secret mission! The theatre will be using Zoom to deliver the course.

For secondary students, the theatre is offering its ‘Together/Apart’ project which also runs for one week and will involve kids creating a new piece of theatre online.

Whilst drama is a great choice for some kids, there are many other options when it comes to summer school activities. These include areas like team building, arts/crafts, literacy, numeracy and sports, for example, depending on how and where students are being taught. The most effective summer schools offer a combination of activities where students can have fun in an informal atmosphere. Teachers should always be mindful that students are on holiday, even if they do have some catching up to do!

There is little doubt, however, that summer schools can provide kids with the chance to discover new things and offer a welcome distraction from the daily routine. So, if you have the resources to offer a summer school to your students why not give it a try?


If you need a helping hand with equipment to help deliver summer school lessons, contact us today!


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