Commenting on guidance on summer schools, published today by the Department for Education, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"It is clear that children and young people are going to need access to a range of interesting and motivating activities during this summer break, with as much of it as possible outside and factoring in exercise. We ignore this at our peril. Families will book activities which are motivating for their child or teenager and which young people want to take part in during the holiday. The goal must surely be to support pupils’ learning and wellbeing in fun and creative ways, and to give young people a chance to reconnect with their peers in a structured and supportive environment.
"We urge the Government to give local authorities the funding and support to create teams who can co-ordinate the summer provision across the whole local authority area. This is the best approach. Schools should not be expected to co-ordinate and plan these summer placements.
"There is welcome clarity in today’s advice that schools can adopt the plans which best suit their situation. Many secondaries already allow sports and other clubs to use their premises during the holidays and run extended provision outside school hours.
“Year 7 pupils will have a complicated transition this autumn, so it is sensible to pay particular attention to this year group. Government needs to help local authorities to be in a position to be able to support students in their area, and to co-ordinate schemes and provision using libraries, adventure playgrounds and youth clubs. Disadvantaged young people should be a priority.
"We welcome the DfE making crystal clear that any teachers who volunteer to take part in summer provision are eligible for payment and that supply staff and support staff must be paid. It is also right that heads, teachers and support staff who volunteer to take part in summer provision are paid for this additional work. The NEU believes that many supply staff – especially those who have faced shortages of work during the last year– would be keen to lend their expertise to local schemes and it is right too that they receive proper pay.
"Everyone in public services has worked flat out this year, and school staff provide a huge amount of emotional as well as academic support to their students. Schools that opt to plan individual summer schools will need to keep staff wellbeing squarely in their sights to make sure staff overwork and burnout is avoided.”