Understandably, at this current time, staff and partners have been working through an unprecedented set of circumstances that are changing and proving more challenging as this horrific pandemic evolves. Unfortunately, it was not business as usual for Holiday Matters, though each partner have endeavoured to keep the disruption and loss of learning to a minimum. Whilst we could not physically utilise the school’s premises for this programme, the school’s senior management team as well as key partners have continued to offer arm’s length services for the children and their families.
It is well documented that holiday periods are a time of great inequity and especially now with COVID 19 in our midst, this unprecedented period has brought an increased feeling of insecurity for children and their families. Never more so have children and their families access to critical supports that keep them safe, healthy, and engaged in learning been lost to them. The holiday “opportunity gap” contributes to further cracks appearing in achievement that persist and widen over time, particularly for low-income pupils.
Aprils Holiday Matters holiday activity programme, took place both on line and in the homes across the school community, with the programme ensuring that the content of learning engaged children within St Francis RCPS in activities aimed at stimulating both their education and physical needs. The programme ensured that any learning loss is minimised by:
- Offering daily programme of curricular activities
- Home learning packs being delivered to homes which included literacy and numeracy covered in the school’s curriculum
- Reducing long term breaks by having fun whilst learning
- Reducing poverty to children and families affected through delivering ‘Thinking of You’ packs which included food and sanitary products
- Offering on line services which aimed at reducing social isolation and connectivity
- Supporting wider community involvement in the school’s community
- Implementing health and wellbeing opportunities
- Reducing stress related matters at holiday periods in unprecedented times
Focussing on key drivers, the Holiday Matters programme ran over the 2 weeks in April implementing health and wellbeing opportunities whilst supporting literacy and numeracy covered in the school’s curriculum for the primary 4-7 children. The programme had no cost to participating children with all accompanying resources being provided to families within delivered learning packs so that the economic and digital connectivity and barriers were reduced.
To compliment these home deliveries, communication was also provided online daily with challenges through contributions from the Jack Kane Community Centre, V-inspired volunteers and Barnardo’s. To offer extra support to the children and families ‘Thinking of You’ packs were created and delivered to St Francis RC families who were requiring additional support in these challenging times, the packs included food and other essentials. In addition to this, certain children and families received a telephone call each week whereby any extra support required was identified.
Local Improvement Plan (LIP)
LIP Outcome “Children, Young People & Families: All children, young people and families are more meaningfully included in their communities”.
Education Scotland Benchmarks & Curriculum for Excellence
Successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizen and effective contributors
‘The way this programme has been delivered during this time has been great. The creative ways in which staff have tried to still engage with the children and families has been excellent’ (Partner)
- Children felt healthier and more positive about themselves
- Children have learned new skills and attributes
- Families are happier and see the benefits by being involved in the programme of learning
- Offering a changed Holiday Matters programme which complimented both online and practical activities
- Building caring and consistent relationships through weekly check in calls to the families
- Learning at home packs being created and delivered to families
- Teachers adding to the curricula experience by providing activities for learning packs
- Family STEM activities delivered at home
‘I loved building the straw tower in my house it was so much fun’.
‘My child did her #staysafe poster for the #holiday matters club. She decided to make it look like a tik tok as all the kids have gone tik tock mad during lock down’.
‘Providing the daily online challenges and seeing the families getting involved was brilliant, it was a really positive way to still engage with the children and their families’.
V-Inspired Youth Volunteer
‘Everyone enjoyed doing the challenges at home and participated as if we were in school and doing it’.
A full report on the April 2020 break is available should you require more information.
Scott Fraser CEC LLL Development Officer
Davie Owens JKCC Children’s Development Worker
A copy of this report is available to download here.