Our Step Up transition programme has come to an end! It is the 8th Year of the project, and the 2nd year that PIE have been involved in the collaboration with Stockport County Community Foundation and Stockport Council Neighbourhood Inclusion Team. With it we brought a more academic focus and experience to help support young people, and we provided inside info about high school life!
Ordinarily, the project involves lots of activities building confidence and skills including orienteering, rock climbing, bowling, attending football games and completing a bike-ability course. This year we have had to change that completely and deliver remotely throughout. By summer we had hoped to get the group together but constant restrictions meant we couldn’t.
Nevertheless, the students’ enthusiasm and participation were impressive throughout and sessions this year involved various challenges including scavenger hunts, craft activities, quizzes and team games. To keep up our contact we have delivered different learning packs, activities and treats throughout the year.
Whilst we haven't been able to do the usual activities, we have supported students in other ways, including supporting them with one-to-one mentoring support, which hadn’t been as prominent before. This will now feature in future programmes too!
The final part of the course usually involves completing Bike-Ability training and receiving their very own bike to take home! Instead of the bikes this year, students have been offered a voucher for a bike or a tablet, both of which aim to help young people become more independent and support them further with their transition to high school.
Most of the finishing students said they had gained in confidence through the programme and that it has helped them make new friends. Not only that, many of them said they had learned the skills needed to help and support others, preparing them perfectly for a role as a peer mentor in the future. Here is some more feedback from the students, when asked to sum up the course in one sentence:
· I liked it and enjoyed it.
· It helped me make new friends and everyone was warm and welcoming.
· The best programme I’ve ever been to, it was really fun.
· I would give it 10/10!
From the parents, the following feedback was gratefully received:
· It has given my daughter the basis to be confident and speak her mind.
· This programme is fab and will always help the less confident children to gain confidence in their new schools.
· The students have felt reassured that they are all in it together.
· He has opened up a lot more and is much more interested in going to school.
Moving forward, ten of the current cohort will train to be peer mentors to support next year’s cohort of transition students. Six students will also have the opportunity to learn to play the guitar thanks to funding from #R Time.
We are currently planning and preparing for our 2021 programme - this will launch in April and we aim to deliver it remotely until July. Hopefully in the Autumn we will be able to move our delivery back to more of the usual activities including bowling and rock climbing. This year there will be an additional focus on developing digital skills to fit the increased reliance we’re all experiencing on remote and digital learning.