Next Steps

Since 2018, Half Moon have delivered Next Steps, a drama-based transition programme commissioned by Tower Hamlets Youth Service (THYS) for young people transitioning from primary school to secondary school.

Half Moon engages with schools and external agencies throughout the borough to refer to the programme young people who were deemed at risk of disengagement and vulnerable through their transition.

Age 11-12 is a time where change and transitioning can impact a young person’s life in a multitude of ways. The programme aims to address these challenges head-on and give participating young people a safe space to explore their worries through creative practices.

The programme offers young people free after-school sessions in the second half of their summer term of Year 6, a week-long summer school and after-school sessions in the first half of their autumn term of Year 7. The programme also offers one-to-one tailored support towards the end of after-school sessions.

THE PROGRAMME

  • The sessions support the young people to prepare for their transition to secondary school and think about the situations they might face and positive ways to deal with new experiences.
  • The young people learn to better express themselves, build their confidence and develop soft skills, such as effective communication, presentation, decision-making, taking responsibility and making a commitment.
  • Participants play an active role in having the ‘power to change’ negative outcomes in a safe environment, acting as observers and critical thinkers with their peers. Themes addressed in the sessions include bullying, online safety, friendships, identity and responsibilities.

In this uncertain time, work around transitions is critical. Unprecedented numbers of young people had missed large amounts of formal school. Perhaps most importantly, this year, Next Steps offers fun and engaging sessions, reconnecting young people in real life, offering structure for young people in a nurturing environment at this unprecedented time.

 

In the in 2020/2021 academic year, 151 young people attended from over 50 primary and secondary schools across Tower Hamlets.

Since 2018, 448 young people have taken part in Next Steps.

Download Next Steps – Summary Report 2018/19

Young Person comments: 

“(Next Steps) has helped me in secondary school. I had some year 8s trying to bully me, but I have felt more confident about how to handle this. I know its best to talk to someone.”

“I have met people who I will be going to secondary school with. That’s really exciting.”

“I feel less stressed and happy” 

“I learnt about bullying and social media – I didn’t expect that.

“It made me think about the way I talk to people.”

“I really enjoyed the session where we explored how our decisions and actions can have an impact on our future. I do not feel as nervous about some of the changes ahead.”

“I know how I can be more calm and make better decisions’’

Parent comments: 

“X gained a lot of confidence and self-esteem from this programme. It’s a brilliant way to bring shy, unsure worried children out of their shell and battle any anxiety”

“This has boosted X’s  confidence massively, and pushed her to speak up, make new friends and really brought out her character and helped her to look towards her future.”

“It’s allowed X to experience a version of what secondary school may be like socially. She has been exposed to the fact that she isn’t the only one with the same concerns of the unknown she has been talking about it and she feels she knows what to do now.”

“You inform! Thank you for moving forward X, and giving him much needed information to evolve.”

“X has been very reflective this week!

Teacher comments: 

“We have referred pupils to the Half Moon Next Steps programme as we have seen their workshops firsthand and seen the enjoyment and confidence that children gain in them. The workshops are tailored to address the fears and worries primary pupils have about secondary school as stated by them. They are presented in familiar language to the pupils, which makes them feel understood and comfortable. I have seen children gain independence, responsibility and confidence through the Half Moon Theatre workshops.” Old Ford Primary School 

“This is such a great opportunity for year 6s to be able to express their anxieties and their hopes regarding secondary school…thank you very much for giving them then a chance to think about how they really feel and be able to express themselves in a creative way instead of a harming way.”  St Matthias Primary School

“The project has helped young people who found it difficult to speak up to express themselves with far more confidence!” John Scurr Primary School

“The project was very affirming for the young people. 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 in secondary school. The young people from our year 6 are going to 11 different schools so this project helped them prepare for the changes.”  Marion Richardson Primary School

 

If you work in a school in Tower Hamlets, or you are a parent who would like to discuss this further, please contact Androulla: androulla@halfmoon.org.uk / 0207 709 8905

Tower Hamlets