Year 7 Kickstart Programme May – July 2022
In April this year, our Inspiring Barrow team delivered a number of successful and well attended Year 7 Kickstart ‘taster’ sessions across five secondary schools in the Furness area. The students were identified and nominated by their schools as young people who would possibly benefit from developing their confidence, resilience, teamwork, communication and leadership skills.
In May, we held a Meet and Greet event at The Forum, Barrow where we had the opportunity to meet up with the 70+ students who had signed up for the programme. The event was really well attended by students and their families and a great opportunity for them to meet with staff and find out a little more about the programme and its aims.
The Kickstart Programme itself got underway the following week, delivering high quality after school activities to students at Furness Academy, Walney School, St Bernard’s Catholic High School, Dowdales and UVHS. The fun and engaging ‘challenges’ are designed to help students develop those all-important transferable skills, particularly resilience, whilst having a great time making new friends. Students also had the opportunity to attend a Half Term visit to Kepplewray outdoor centre, where they participated in activities such as archery, crate stacking, bushcraft, canoeing on Coniston Water and a fabulous BBQ lunch!
The programme culminated with ‘The Final Challenge’, where students were required to work together as a team to complete set tasks within a specified time frame, utilising the skills developed throughout each session.
At the end of the programme, we acknowledged success with a celebration event, at The Forum, Barrow for every participant and their families. Each child received a certificate, for competing the programme, presented by Mayor of Barrow Hayley Preston and special awards were also presented to the students who made outstanding progress in key areas. Guest speakers and a collection on the evening for Mind in Furness added to the occasion. The programme was a great success. Students had a fabulous time, building skills week on week, experiencing new opportunities, but more importantly forging new friendships along the way!
Feedback from Year 7 Students included:
“I really enjoyed Kickstart, especially Kepplewray because I am scared of water and the canoeing helped me with my fear”
“Kickstart has helped me develop my confidence and resilience. I can now talk up to people and that’s just me stepping outside my comfort zone”
“Before I joined Kickstart, I was very shy and only stayed within my friendship group. I now have confidence to work with other people”
“It’s helped me more with my confidence because I put my hands up more in my lessons now”
“In the future I would like to do photography. I think Kickstart is going to help me with this because I have developed teamwork, communication and leadership skills”
Feedback from parents included:
“My son started Year 7 at Walney School half-way through the school year. His confidence was low, and his mid-year transition was brave. Kickstart helped him to overcome his social fears and re-build his shattered confidence. I’m very proud of my boy today and excited to celebrate with him at the presentation evening”
“An amazing programme and we have noticed a big improvement in our daughter’s confidence. Thank you”
Feedback from Schools included:
“Our Year 7 students who took part in the Kickstart programme, as with all young people, have had a difficult few years. They were all quite emotionally young and this was evident at the beginning of the course. As the weeks went by there were clear and demonstrable changes for the better. Some really grew as leaders whilst others managed to control both tempers and tantrums. Every student made progress and they all thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and the trip to Kepplewray. There was a very real need for input of this kind and our students certainly benefitted from it”
Chaplain, St Bernard’s Catholic High School