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  • Writer's pictureBeth Nunn

Successfully Stepped Up!

Just before Christmas our recent Step-Up Programme came to a close! This programme provides support to students through the transition from Year 6 to Year 7. The sessions started in July 2022, and the students taking part were selected mostly by partner primary schools, some were families who were already known to PIE from previous programmes. Nearly the whole PIE Team were involved - Beth, Caroline, Gemma, Antony and Lee all took part or led the sessions over the last 6 months. In addition to the sessions below, we did a drop-in session at the beginning of September for students to attend prior to their first day at high school.

The programme consisted of 8 sessions overall:

· Session 1 – July – Bowling! Students all met for the first time while bowling at The Light in Stockport.

· Session 2 – July – We met at the Guide Hut in Marple and had an activity session, including outdoor games, Scavenger hunt, Orienteering & Team games.

· Session 3 & 4 - August – Our amazing Blackpool trip, including up Blackpool Tower, encouraged students to push outside their comfort zone (see our previous blog for more details) while exploring new places & feeling more confident.

· Session 5 - September – On our trip to the Stockport County match, we thought about being a part of our community, and it was a great chance for an informal catch up about the first weeks at high school.

· Session 6 – October – The Stop Motion workshop, at Stockport Art Gallery, gave us chance to reflect and set some targets based at looking back on the students’ first half term.

· Session 7 – November – We went Rock Climbing! During this session our students considered pushing through our fears and looking to the future.

· Session 8 - December – Our family quiz night and celebration event was all about celebrating our successes and reflecting on how far we have come!

Our students told us this about their time on Step Up:

I made new friends and got brave!

I have developed communication skills and getting friends that are older than me.

You should work with PIE because it helps your mental health.

I can now be more independent.

Here’s what a few of the students’ parents had to say:

It's been brilliant, great communication, great activities, supportive team, giving so much encouragement.

My child has gained in confidence, made new friends, and experienced fun things without relying on family to be with her.

She will hopefully take friendships forward and recall times she did things despite thinking she couldn't.

Beth & Caroline told us about their stand-out moments over the last six months:


When we went to Blackpool and three of the young people had said they were scared to go up the tower. We worked with them and supported them during the day to ensure they felt happy and confident to go up – always making sure they knew they had a ‘get out’ whilst being pushed to do what they could. These young people all went to the top and enjoyed everything – including the glass bottom floor (when staff were scared to go on this!) They all felt proud of their achievements.


During the Team Building session at the Guide Hut in July, we encouraged the students to work with people they didn’t know and to mix and develop new relationships from the outset – these connections turned into a couple of new friendships including young people who were going to be attending high school together. We could almost see the friendship groups form then which we then got to watch develop during the programme. Making these new connections is key to this programme and it was great to see it happen so soon.

This programme was a great success with 13 of the young people qualifying for the end of programme reward (for which they needed to have attended a minimum of 6 sessions).

This year, we have adapted to run sessions in different areas and locations around Stockport. We feel this has helped ensure that families have got to know new locations and provision within Stockport, as well as providing a variety of different activities and experiences.

We have continued to have an informal partnership with Stockport County Community Trust and will look to harness this further next year, so watch this space…

Well done to all the young people who took part during this intense time in their school career! We are so pleased to see how well you have handled the change, and we look forward to seeing you over the next few years in one way or another!

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