Last October, Head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw said that the importance of a good start to secondary school “cannot be overstated”.
And now, a new schools project on Teesside is set to give children their best chance yet when making the step up from primary to secondary education.
Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation is teaming up with Middlesbrough Council to roll out the schools transition project, with more than 300 children to receive support from ‘transition coaches’ from the later years of primary education through to their first years at secondary school.
Delivered by qualified staff from MFC Foundation, the official charitable arm of Middlesbrough Football Club, the pull of the Boro badge will be used to engage with the young pupils. As well as leading classroom activities to prepare youngsters for the step up, the transition coaches will provide a consistent point of contact for the children throughout the process.
The £100,000 scheme, which includes £70,000 of funding from Middlesbrough Council, will be piloted in three Teesside secondary schools and their 12 feeder primary schools from May.
Recent government research has suggested that the culture shift from primary to secondary school is one of the most critical periods of a child’s education. Published by Ofsted in September 2015, a report entitled ‘Key Stage 3: The Wasted Years’ concluded that “the rate of pupils’ progress and achievement [in Key Stage 3] were not good enough”.
It is hoped that the project will provide a positive catalyst to improve Key Stage 3 for children in the Tees Valley.
MFC Foundation is currently advertising three staff positions to work on the transition project. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 22 March. Please visit www.mfcfoundation.co.uk for more details.
Stewart Smith, MFC Foundation’s Chair of Trustees, said: “Raising aspirations through education is a huge part of MFC Foundation’s vision for the Teesside community.
“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to work with Middlesbrough Council to target and improve a crucial part of the school experience for our young people.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “We are committed to improving outcomes for all young people, and the transition from primary to secondary is one of the most important periods in a great many young lives.
“Through this important scheme Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation is creating a unique opportunity to engage children in our disadvantaged communities and help them improve their self-belief, life skills, employment prospects and health.
“It is a fresh approach which has the potential to change lives for the better, and we are pleased to be able to support it.”