It’s nearly the end of the summer term, which means that we’ve finished phase one of Mind the Gap for 2019. It’s felt so busy, but very much worth it!
This year we have been to 14 primary schools to get to know Year 6 and talk about the big leap to secondary school. Then we met them again and ran sessions at their new schools during their Year 7 induction days.
Young leaders make all the difference
One of the highlights for us this year has been working with around 120 Year 10 and 12 students who volunteered to help as ‘young leaders’. These brilliant teenagers have been through Mind the Gap themselves, and it was inspiring to see them be so keen to support this year’s new Year 7s, passing on the help they once received.
What’s great is that, while our team will be back to welcome Year 7 for the first few days of term in September, these older students will still be there for the whole school year. Year 11s and 13s usually seem a bit scary and unapproachable to Year 7 students – but these familiar faces will be a reassuring presence instead.
One of our volunteers who helped at in induction day shared this great story:
“There was a small boy who didn’t want to enter the school hall. He was really nervous and sat outside and said he wanted to go home. I spoke to him for a little bit but he didn’t really want to talk and then the teachers were trying to sort him out.
“When I came back after their session with the young leaders, I saw him sitting on a chair at the back of the class surrounded by three Year 10s. He looked like he was having the time of his life – he was laughing along with them and could have been a member of their friendship group they all looked so relaxed with each other. It was amazing to see the transformation! They totally got him out of his shell!”
“Everything a community should be”
In all, we’re supporting around 1,000 children from Wokingham and Crowthorne this year. We’re excited to meet them all again in September and help them to settle in.
It feels like Mind the Gap has brought together people from the whole local community this year, from teenagers to retired volunteers, all joining to support this next generation of school students. It has gradually become part of Wokingham culture; a feature that the town is proud of.
The deputy head of St Crispin’s School, Mr Blyth, sent us this feedback after the Year 7 induction days:
“What was so lovely for me to observe were the smiles and laughter taking place between volunteers and students, showing that such positive and strong relationships had been built. The Year 6s clearly trust them and are comfortable being with them which is just amazing to witness. However it wasn’t just Year 6, it was also the older students who remember you from previous years showing they are at the heart of our school.
“Mind the Gap is just everything that a community should be – schools, young people, churches and the people working together in such a collaborative way. It feels like the best yet – the bar is set high for next year!”