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  • Writer's pictureBeth Nunn

Celebrating our Step Up students

Another Step Up Project is all wrapped up! The transition project ran from April 2021, with 21 young people across Stockport being offered places on the programme. The aim of the project is to support young people through the transition from primary to high school, supporting them and their families to ensure they make the move smoothly. Primary schools nominate students they think would benefit from the additional support. There are parent sessions, run by Stockport Council Neighbourhood Inclusion team ahead of our student sessions. This ensures we engage with families and they are supported in the high school application process, as well as providing support to prepare for the impact that a child moving to high school has on the family.

The Step Up Programme is structured so that the transition team support students before, during and beyond their move to high school. Sessions usually start in April of Year 6, and run until December of Year 7. Last year sessions started online, with the first two sessions running on Zoom. Packages of resources and treats were delivered to participants each month!

The rest of the programme ran as follows:

  • In June we had our first face to face session, going to Woodley Sports Village for team games and outdoor challenges!

  • For the July session we had to change our plans due to so many of the students isolating after bubbles burst. We put together 'first day at school' packs instead and went and did doorstep visits to check in on everyone before they left school.

  • In September we had a check-in zoom before everyone started school and then ran a bowling session at the end of the month. This allowed our peer mentors to come along too to give their advice and support at the end of the first month.

  • For our October session we went orienteering to push students out of their comfort zones and then spent time reflecting on their first half term creating stop motion animation.

  • November was all about proving how far they had come and literally how high they could climb, we went rock climbing!

  • In December, yet again our plans were put on hold due to Covid. We instead came together for a celebration event at Cornerstone in Stockport at the beginning of February. A family quiz was won by the Bundy family (who won a family tour of Manchester City's Etihad stadium!) and all students were presented with their end of programme reward (a chromebook or a voucher for a new bike!) 15 students completed the programme and it was great to have the chance to celebrate with them!

These young people have shown fantastic resilience not only throughout the programme, but throughout their whole transition to high school. They have regularly faced additional challenges at an already challenging time for any young person. It has been a pleasure to watch them grow, and to see how they have successfully transitioned to secondary school. Not only have they moved schools, but have moved on to the next chapter of their development.

PIE's Caroline, who led in-person sessions, had this to say: "I have loved working with this group over the last 10 months, it has been amazing to watch some of them blossom from shy quiet young people many of whom were not really looking forward to high school and develop into confident young people thriving in high school and all prepared to give anything a go we have thrown at them. It made me really proud to see them graduate and receive their rewards and also be so supportive of each other along the way."

Jamie McCord, from Stockport County Community Foundation, said "Everybody here at Stockport County Community Foundation are delighted to have been part of the successful culmination of the 2021 transition project through our close relationship with Beth and the PIE team. We are proud of being part of a project that plays such an important role in the support and development of the young adults as they transition from primary to secondary school. Moreover, to be able to witness firsthand, the improvement in confidence and self-assurance in those young adults as they overcome physical challenges including wall climbing and orienteering with emotional challenges such as meeting and communicating with new and different people throughout the course of the project is testament to the value of the project. The opportunity to celebrate these successes with the cohort and their closest families at the presentation event, and to witness the gratitude shown for the prizes and the project itself is extremely reaffirming. We look forward to collaborating with PIE to ensure the 2022 project provides the same positive outcomes for its participants, especially the return of some 2021 alumni as peer mentors for the group."

We wish them all every luck in the rest of Year 7, and can't wait to continue working with some of them on upcoming PIE programmes in the coming months.

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