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Summer School at Hastings Academy

Thirty young people took part in an action-packed week designed to help them get to know each other, the school and the town. Activities included a forest school, poetry at Fairlight Hall, animation, fish filleting on The Stade and a walk around Ore Valley (the local neighbourhood) generating large art maps.

Who was involved

  • From Hastings Academy: Amanda Crisford, Sally Greig, Ken Coombs, Roo Calverly, Phil Golding, Donna Benton
  • Creative practitioners: Mary Hooper (visual artist), Lynn Weddle (animation), Subhadassi (poet), Graeme Lazell (Forest School)
  • Other organisations: Fairlight Hall, Classroom on the Coast, Ore Valley Forum, Ore Valley Adventure Playground, The Bridge Community Centre, Community Fruit and Veg scheme (provided a bicycle powered smoothie maker)
  • Project manager: Mark Robertson


What activities can we build into our summer school to build confidence and expand horizons for young people starting secondary school?


  • To design a creative week around the idea of ‘discovery’ of each other, the school, the local neighbourhood, and the town.
  • To target young people from local feeder primary schools, and specifically those on free school meals
  • To create a safe and familiar space for young people to get to know the school and vice versa
  • To pull together all the work from the week in a final exhibition and film screening for parents


The young people got a glimpse of themselves, each other, the school environment and the wider local environment. There was pride in what they achieved, what the groups did and in the Academy. Taking part in the week made children less nervous about starting secondary school.  About 80 people attended the final event. It was a good start with parents and changed parental perceptions about the school.

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It gave kids confidence, enhanced self esteem in all manner of things – really wonderful!


The young people learnt skills they didn’t think they had, they were praised, and told they were good at things they didn’t know they were good at.


On Wednesday we went around Ore non-stop the only time we stopped was when we had lunch but that wasn’t enough time. I never knew that Ore was so nice it was an amazing experience.


The team was great! Everybody in the same mindset and very supportive of each other – quite magical. Everyone has mucked in, and there was little division between teachers, artists and teaching assistants.


Senior students Tom Haywood and Jack Ottaway made a film of the week. To see their review click here.