Summer engagement has never been so important

After another thoroughly disrupted school year, it was more important than ever this summer to keep young people active and socialising so that they were ready and equipped to return to school in September. Across our Zone, our Link Workers embarked on this summer’s support with that goal in mind. 

“Many of the children I work with didn't have many plans for this summer and so taking part in West London Zone activities (e.g. London Sports Trust and QPR football) was a great way for them to see their friends as well as engage in fun activities that they wouldn’t normally take part in.”

WLZ Link Worker

Last summer, teachers and leaders in our partner schools asked us to focus on wellbeing, and we worked hard at it! The data we took on children and young people’s wellbeing last September told us that two-thirds of young people on the programme no longer had poor emotional wellbeing. This was a huge success and down to Link Workers dedicating one-third of their contact time to supporting young people with their wellbeing.

Learning from the impact we had last summer, this summer we decided to continue to provide support during the school summer holiday for some children and young people. Instead of support finishing at the end of the school term in July, Link Workers continued to support some children and families in August. We set up opportunities for young people to participate in sport, drama, music, art and crafts and a range of trips and visits - as well as accessing additional support from their Link Worker where needed.

Extending the programme into the summer holidays meant that we could continue to promote positive emotional wellbeing and help prepare young people for the new term. We made sure to balance this additional support with ensuring that Link Workers also had a chance to take a break over the summer holidays too!

Our Link Workers observed that this support was:

“particularly helpful as children who felt really anxious about going back to school were able to ease into the process of seeing people they would normally only see in school.”

And that:

“the children that attended the summer holiday programme have improved in their social and emotional wellbeing. They are more confident now than before and have been prepared for the school year through extra socialising and access to support.”

These observations highlight the importance of whole child support and the need to prioritise wellbeing support over school holidays so that young people are able to progress academically during their time at school.

Louisa Mitchell, CEO of WLZ

together, every child and young person can flourish.