Dawn is the headteacher at Tayview Primary School in Dundee. She and her colleague Louise, a Family Support and Development Worker, were acutely aware of the struggles students, teachers and parents were facing before, during and after the summer holidays. After weeks without their usual school routine, children with additional support needs struggled to return to the classroom, leading to disruptive behaviour during the first term, and stressful holiday periods for the families.
Working closely with teachers and parents, Dawn and Louise knew how important it was for the school to provide support for ASN children and their families in the lead up to the summer break. Parents would voice their concerns that their child and their siblings couldn’t attend regular activities in case they struggled to manage their behaviour. This led to parents feeling anxious about how they’d keep their children happy and entertained over the six-week break. They also knew there were parents that weren’t coming to them for support but were finding the pressure of the holidays hard to cope with.
Dawn and Louise had an idea. What if they could run a Summer Club at the school, providing regular, structured support for ASN children, their siblings, and parents, all in a place that was familiar to them?
Through their participation in our Intrapreneurship Programme, Dawn and Louise secured 16k investment to make their idea a reality. In the summer of 2022, they prototyped the Tayview Additional Support Needs Summer Club (TASC), hosting regular arts and crafts activities for the children, days out, plus pampering and advice sessions for the parents.
“What surprised me most was how creative the process was... I was expecting to talk mostly about budgeting and training, but The Lens encouraged us to come at it from a different angle and think outside the box.” - Dawn
12 families attended the Summer Club, all of which now feel more confident asking the school for advice and support. The relationship between parents and the school has developed considerably, making it much easier to have important conversations about the needs of their family. In addition, the children felt significantly more settled on their return to school and were able to re-engage with learning at the start of term, taking the pressure off teachers who previously spent several weeks re-establishing a routine.
Going forward, Tayview Primary School will be hosting the Additional Support Needs Club throughout all school holidays, not just the summer. Dawn and Louise also have high hopes that even more families will engage with the sessions and that the start and end of terms will be very different for everyone.
“When I first joined the programme, I didn’t know what our idea would look like in practice. The Lens helped us shape and grow our idea, turning it from a small club for children with ASN to a family-oriented space.” - Louise