lindsey
Keith Newman

Summer School helps students to shine

It’s back to school this summer holiday for more than 75 students from Northumberland who have volunteered to take part in a series of unique summer schools designed to increase numeracy and literacy skills and ease the sometimes stressful transition from primary to secondary school

Lindsey Dunn from Whitley Bay has more than 12 years experience working with young people encouraging enterprise and engaging with schools and businesses. Her business, Skills to Shine, bridges the gap between business and education and has received glowing accolades from politicians and the Department for Education who are helping to fund the summer schools programme.

The two week long summer schools have engaged Year 6 students from the Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington and Bedlington High School in a programme that introduced the students to their new curriculum in a fun and interactive way making learning real, relevant and inspiring. This was achieved by giving the young people the knowledge, experience and skills to shine in their chosen career path by raising their awareness, building aspirations, increasing motivation, drive and desire while instilling the belief that they can pursue and achieve in whatever career they choose.

The summer schools contain an engaging mix of work related enterprise challenges, business mentoring and additional teaching in numeracy and literacy. Students took part in a numeracy and a literacy week, during the numeracy week, students set up a micro business, leant how to market their products, worked out profit and pricing and then sold their products at a market in Ashington. During the numeracy based week, the task was to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and apply Maths to the real world of business. Students had valuable experience developing a product, creating a business plan and making their product before selling it on a real trading market. In order to gain the knowledge and skills to complete the challenge successfully they worked with local entrepreneurs and visited the Northumberland Cheese Farm before getting a business loan from Skills to Shine to try to make their money grow.

In the literacy week students had the challenge of developing a fictional character and writing a 10 sentence story taking inspiration from their local area.To help inspire and motivate, an open top bus took the students to local attractions such as Woodhorn Colliery, Bothal Church and Castle, Newbiggin Maritime Centre and the site of the old Bedlington Iron Works. Lindsey then utilised her business connections by bringing in industry professionals; BookHappy, Northern Print, and the Beautiful Image to help the children create their characters and piece of literature. At the end of the week, the students took part in a “Dragons Den” style pitch to a panel of judges with a proud audience of parents, teachers and the student’s peers. The winning team received a book publishing deal.

Lindsey’s vision is to introduce children and young people to a range of future career paths to raise their aspirations and the belief that they can achieve in whatever career they choose. She believes passionately that every child and young person, regardless of academic ability and background, has the right to be empowered with a range of future options and career paths together with the skills needed to succeed in their chosen route.

“I know the children have really enjoyed the summer schools from the feedback I’ve received, but more importantly I wanted this experience to be real, inspiring and relevant to their future options and career learning,” said Lindsey. “We’ve now got a lot of motivated students who are desperately looking forward to moving on up to their next school and making crucial career choices which will stand them in good stead for their future. It’s been a worthwhile project and one which we hope to repeat throughout the region.”

Ends Photo shows Lindsey and students on the open top bus and Lindsey at a session

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