Getting Local Schools Involved in Big Norfolk Holiday Fun: Tuckswood Academy

Getting local schools involved in Big Norfolk Holiday Fun

The Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme is designed to help children and young people in Norfolk get active and have fun over the holidays. The programme is Norfolk’s response to the Holiday Activities and Food programme.

More recently, we have been asking schools to get involved in the programme. Whether that’s through hosting their own events, lending the venue to other providers or simply helping promote the programme to pupils and parents. This has been an incredibly effective way to get more children involved, and spread the word.

We spoke to Emma Hoey-Smith, acting headteacher at Tuckswood Academy about getting involved in the programme.

The Aim

The Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme has been ongoing since 2018, during which time the programme has grown exponentially. From getting more providers across Norfolk on board, to developing our Every Move to act as a designated Big Norfolk Holiday Fun activity finder, the end goal has always been to benefit as many children and young people across Norfolk as possible.

The decision to get schools involved was made after research showed that many eligible young people across Norfolk were not signed up to the programme. Surveys showed this was due to a range of factors, including local availability of provisions and awareness of the programme.

By getting schools involved in the Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme, our aim is to increase the availability of provisions in local catchment areas, whilst raising the overall awareness and profile of the programme through school channels.

The Challenges

Capacity and time issues were the main challenges many schools voiced concerns about. Many approached advised that they feared they would not have the staff or the time to set up the activities in advance, or run them over the holidays.

This same challenge presented itself when offering training and collecting the required documentation, as this would require additional staff time on top of an already demanding workload.

‘As a school, it was so easy to sign up to the Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme. All we needed to do was ensure that a caretaker was onsite when the activities took place and the provider (Norwich City Community Sports Foundation) arranged the rest.’

Emma Hoey Smith, acting headteacher of Tuckswood Academy

The Approach

With the capacity challenges in mind, we made every effort to make school participation in the Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme as easy as possible, whilst taking up minimal time and capacity.

Schools can get involved in three ways:

  • As a provider: Schools can choose to sign up as an activity provider and deliver their own activities across the holidays
  • As a host: Schools have the option to lend their facilities to other activity providers across the holidays
  • Promotion only: Schools are able to opt in to receive a promotional pack in order to spread the word about the programme to pupils

These options are fully flexible, and our team can work with local schools to find the solution that best fits their capacity. By signing up to host other providers’ activities in the school premises, this means students of that school will have a local activity provision at a familiar setting, which has been found to increase the levels of attendance.

The Outcomes: Tuckswood Academy

Since offering out opportunities to get involved, several schools have begun to get involved, with extremely positive initial results.

Emma Hoey Smith from Tuckswood Academy signed her school up to host activities run by the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation and has said the results have been ‘brilliant’.

Would you say you’ve had a good uptake since signing up?

We’ve had around 20 children attending, quite a few are from Tuckswood and the local area. It’s been a really positive initiative, and has allowed children to spend time with other children from different year groups, which is something they were unable to do throughout COVID.

Would you say there’s a noticeable difference in children who have attended sessions over the holidays?

The children who have come back after the holidays have definitely been a lot more confident. They’ve been given the chance to develop resilience and build new skills over the holidays, which has been brilliant for their return to school.

How important would you say it is for children to remain active over the school holidays?

I would say it’s really important. Whenever we send the children off for the holidays, we always try and stress that they shouldn’t just sit on their Playstation or Xboxes, and they should try and get outside and explore. This programme has given them a wide range of activities to try which has been great.

Can you tell us a little more about the sign up process and how much you’ve been involved?

As a school, it’s been really easy to sign up. Our headteacher told me about the programme and after signing up, I didn’t have to get too involved, and it’s not taken up any time. We’ll drop in every so often to see the children and see how it’s going, and you just need a caretaker on-site to open the facilities.

Further Outcomes: Norwich City Community Sports Foundation

The sessions at Tuckswood Academy were delivered by the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation (NCCSF) who signed up as providers for the Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme.

Emma Taylor from the NCCSF was positive about the programme. The foundation deliver a variety of activities across several different venues, and Emma reported a good uptake in provisions across venues.

“We’ve had a really good uptake across venues. We’ve got a range of activities the children can take part in, including netball, cricket and rounders… the children really enjoy being outside when there’s nice weather. They really enjoy playing dodgeball inside too.

“Throughout the year we offer lots of extra curricular activities in schools such as lunch time and after school clubs. We come in and do a lot of PE lessons in schools too, as well as a whole wealth of different activities outside of schools.

“At the Foundation it’s really important that children are active every day, especially after COVID when children spent a lot of time inside. We’re really trying to turn the tide on that and get children active for a least two hours a day inside and out of school, and clubs like this really help to facilitate that.”

Get involved

We’re always looking for new schools, organisations and clubs to get signed up to Big Norfolk Holiday Fun. If you’d like to get involved, click below to read more and get in touch with our team.