Rotherham United Community Sports Trust are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new targeted ‘alternative provision’ for Year 6 pupils, supporting their transition into Year 7.

The aim of the project is to use the power of sport to support and engage young pupils who may have become disengaged from mainstream education and/or struggling as a result of lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project will support them to make positive choices with respect to their own well-being, develop peer relationships in preparation for secondary school and their futures. We will also aim to help young people reach their potential and maintain the momentum as they make what can be a difficult step from primary school into the less familiar and comfortable environment of secondary education.

Two secondary schools have been chosen to pilot this programme, with feeder primary schools invited to select Year 6 pupils who they feel would benefit. The Year 6 pupils will attend Rotherham United on one day each week between May half-term and the end of the academic year. Within this 6-week period staff from RUCST will get to know the young people, helping them prepare for their step up into Year 7. Within the sessions there will be a variety of activities and workshops designed to develop positive personal attributes including resilience, self-confidence and self-esteem.

In September the same members of staff will transition to the secondary school with the pupils and stay with them in their new educational environment until October half-term.

In addition to the school delivery the pupils will also be invited to our summer holiday camps and Premier League Kicks sessions in their local communities. This will help us continue to support the young pupils throughout the summer period.

Using a person-centred and whole family approach we can support school pupils affected by the COVID lockdown, to improve school engagement. The programme can also improve the social and emotional wellbeing of pupils, so they are better equipped and prepared to catch up with their education and can support other educational measures to reduce learning gaps that have been exacerbated by Covid-19.

Using a mentoring approach this programme will give young people an opportunity to talk through their anxieties and fears with trained mentors in one-to-one sessions, as part of the support on offer. We will help them find ways to overcome any obstacles, build their confidence and resilience so they are ready to learn and do not fall behind.

Education Manager, James Mahoney, said: “We are delighted to add this project to our growing number of alternative provision schemes. Over the last 3 years we have worked with a number of secondary schools offering alternative provision and mentoring and we can’t wait to get started with the new transition project. We understand that moving from primary schools into secondary school can be a stressful step for young people and we hope to support them as much as we can through this transition. Although this is a pilot we hope that we can offer it to more schools next year.”

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