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Get secondary school ready

In our Community View column in the Docklands and East London Advertiser, Communications Manager Stephen explains how Half Moon’s successful Next Steps programme helps young people get ready for the big move to secondary school.
Read the Docklands and East London Advertiser e-edition

Get secondary school ready

The school summer term has begun and we’re actively thinking about our Next Steps programme to support Year 6 students prepare for their transition to Secondary school, something that is rapidly approaching.

We recognise that the move to Secondary can bring up many challenging emotions for young people, and we know that drama is an excellent way of exploring those emotions in a safe, fun, creative environment.

We were funded by Tower Hamlets Youth Service to create Next Steps in 2018 and the project has grown every year since.

We use drama to encourage young people to think critically about the move and motivate them to make positive choices around schoolwork, friendships and situations they might face.

Each year, we start working with Year 6s in their final half term of Primary school, inviting them to weekly after-school workshops. These workshops happen at several locations around the borough, on different days of the week, so families can choose which group works best for them.

We then offer Year 6s a week-long Summer School at our theatre in Limehouse during the summer holidays. Here, they explore the practical and emotional changes they might expect at Secondary in more depth, and at a crucial time, when they are between schools.

After last year’s sessions, 95% of young people who attended said that they felt confident about starting Secondary school and how they would handle problems that might arise.

A local teacher told us that the “project helped young people who found it difficult to speak up to express themselves with far more confidence.”

Another said it was “very affirming for the young people” and that “at a time when they were saying goodbye to friends of seven years they realised that meeting new young people could be fun and that they would be able to make new friends.”

Parents agree, telling us it has boosted their child’s confidence and self-esteem and that it’s “a brilliant way to bring shy, unsure, worried children out of their shell and battle anxiety.”

But what about the young people, what have they said? Here are a few of the words they used to describe Next Steps: “Fun, engaging, exciting, interesting, helpful, amazing, supportive, collaborative and very informative.”

If you know someone who would benefit from Next Steps, please take a look at halfmoon.org.uk/nextsteps or email nextsteps@halfmoon.org.uk

Stephen Beeny is the Communications Manager at Half Moon

Explore our Next Steps programme Discover Young Tower Hamlets

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