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Expansion Boost for Summer Holiday Blogging Programme

Press Release – The NEXT Foundation

Expansion Boost for Summer Holiday Blogging Programme for Schoolchildren

A blogging programme for school children – to help them maintain academic grades over the summer holidays – is to expand significantly with support from NEXT Foundation.

The Summer Learning Journey has been developed through a partnership with Manaiakalani teachers and the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland to counter the “Summer Slump” – where school students can lose a year or more of their academic progress in writing when they break for the six-week summer holiday. It takes months for that slide to be recovered.

Summer Learning Journey helps students maintain literary grades so they start the new school year with the skills motivation and attitude to accelerate their learning from day one of the new school year.

NEXT Foundation CEO Bill Kermode said NEXT is delighted to fund the expansion of the programme. It has been trialled in Tamaki Manaiakalani schools over the past two summers, and will be expanded to nearly 50 schools in Manaiakalani clusters around the country for the next two years.

“Summer Learning Journey is an excellent example of a well structured education innovation with robust evidence and a scalable model” says NEXT CEO Bill Kermode. “It has had a significant impact on students’ writing performance in the holiday periods, and there are signs of other benefits too, not least the students’ confidence, their work ethic and their aspirations. NEXT is thrilled to support the roll out of Summer Learning Journey to more schools around the country.”

The programme has been developed by Manaiakalani teachers and Dr Rachel Williams and colleagues through the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland. It is also supported by the MSA Charitable Trust. The expansion will allow six Manaiakalani clusters to partake in the programme across 50 schools – covering 1400 summer bloggers.

Dr Willams says she is overjoyed when she sees the effects the blogging has on the children’s learning and literacy.

“It is something I feel really compelled to do for our students, many of whom do not have access to learning opportunities over summer. It is incredibly humbling and really exciting to see the degree to which students are engaging with the programme and with each other online during the holiday.”

And she says teachers notice the difference in students when schools start again in February.

“They can tell who was a Summer Learning student and who wasn’t. They can just tell in a sea of 30 students who has taken up the challenge over summer.”

To view Daniel’s story, the story of the Summer Learning Journey (three minutes duration) https://vimeo.com/246718036 [1]

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