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New £100k Islington school programme to tackle learning loss and hunger during summer holidays

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A new £100k summer holiday programme tackling learning loss and hunger amongst 450 young people from low-income families has been given the go-ahead.

The City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee and its Education Board backed the two pilot schemes to run in Islington.

One will benefit 200 young people at City of London Academy Highbury Grove (CoLAHG) in the borough, where 70% of pupils are on pupil premium, and over half receive free school meals.

Teachers and staff at the academy will design and deliver the programme, with access given to pupils’ siblings who do not attend the school.

The academy is part of the City of London Academies Trust – the City Corporation’s multi-academy trust – and one of 10 sponsored or co-sponsored by the City Corporation across Hackney, Newham, Islington and Southwark.

And the City Corporation will work with local partners to design a second scheme based in the borough, aimed at up to 250 young people at a community venue.

Evidence shows that during the summer break, children from disadvantaged backgrounds make significant learning losses when compared to their more advantaged counterparts.

In both schemes the young people will be able to take part in a wide range of activities including cooking classes, sports, work skills and cultural activities. The City Corporation will fund the schemes with £100,000.

In 2017 and 2018, Sutton Trust named the City Corporation as the UK’s best academy sponsor for empowering pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to perform above the national average, and the leading academy sponsor for Progress 8 and Attainment 8, which track pupil progress and achievement.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:

“We want to make sure children from all socio-economic backgrounds can flourish at school.

“In today’s day and age no child should be going hungry. They should be able to have well-balanced, nutritious meals and access to the experiences which enrich their lives and help them to reach their full potential.

“We are determined to make sure young Londoners have access to the best learning opportunities, empowering them to make a positive contribution to their communities.”

Clare Verga, Executive Principal of City of London Academy Highbury Grove, said:

“This project is a fantastic opportunity to ensure high quality provision of nutritious meals and enrichment activities for a significant number of young people in Islington. The scheme will make a real difference for all those involved.”

The pilot programme’s findings will be used to determine if the they should be continued and extended to other schools in London.

Read the full Summer Enrichment Pilot proposal here.

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