More Funding for NZ School's Summer Learning Programme

A blogging programme to stop Kiwi kids' academic progress sliding backwards in the holiday months has received a financial boost.

The Summer Learning Journey programme was established to counteract the "summer slump" that saw students' learning decline, or reverse, during the six-week break.

The NEXT Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that invests in environmental and educational projects, has given it enough funding to spread its reach to 50 schools around the country.

The programme was developed to help students maintain literary grades so they start the new school year with the skills, motivation and attitude to accelerate in the new environment.

Children do this by completing online challenges each day and file them as a blog - the most prolific bloggers from each school will get recognised for their efforts at the end of the holidays.

Developed by Manaiakalani teachers with Dr Rachel Williams and her colleagues through the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland, Williams said teachers can tell who had been apart of the programme.

"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."

NEXT Foundation chief executive Bill Kermode is pleased to fund the expansion of the programme.

"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.

"Summer Learning Journey is an excellent example of a well structured education innovation with robust evidence and a scalable model," Kermode said.

Williams said she felt "compelled" to help students over summer.

"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," she said.

The learning programme was trialled in Tamaki Manaiakalani schools over the past two summers and will expand to nearly 50 schools around the country for the next two years.

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