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The Bridge Transition programme

The move from primary to secondary school is a big one for children and families alike.

As someone who works in both primary and secondary schools, I have seen a first-hand how a planned, smooth transition supports a student to make the best start possible at their new school.

Inkpots is in the exciting position of having developed a creative space within Burgess Hill Academy and can now offer a new programme to Year 6s who are moving there.

This vibrant, engaging programme will offer stimulating creative writing activities alongside a practical introduction to life at the academy and support the all-important move. It will run from the early April to the start of the summer, with us meeting once a month.

I specialise in working with small groups of young people, creating a supportive and safe community where everyone has a voice, and where creativity and kindness go hand-in-hand.

The Bridge Transition programme will have just ten places and we will meet on Saturday mornings at the Inkpots Creative Space at Burgess Hill Academy.

We have spent the past year transforming our space from an old IT suite into a warm, welcoming space which provides plenty of room for everyone to find their own particular spot.

“I have been so fortunate as Principal that Inkpots wanted to come and build on the excellent work they do at Primaries, at my Academy. The students produce so amazing work in a supportive environment.” Jon Francies.

Click here to reserve a place NOW! (Current dates are also on the sign up form.)

The programme is the culmination of much planning between Inkpots and the Academy, and I’m delighted to be able to offer this great opportunity to use our space in this way for the first time. By starting relatively early in this transition cycle, we will all be able to work together to develop a calm, considered approach to the move, and the chance for the young people to start to grow their own network and find their feet before September.

I’m proud of, and excited, for this new development!

How the programme will work

Each two-hour session will allow us to explore the creative writing theme of the ‘other side of ourselves’, our alto egos. As an experienced creative writing facilitator, I will guide the group through the various stages of a writing project so that by the end of the programme, each child will have a finished product. The form the project takes is up to them, but the end result may be a story, comic or poem – or even a visual project such as a photographic or illustrative one. The important thing is for each student to take part in the creative project, taking an idea, playing around with it and seeing just what emerges.

We’ll also make sure we have a ‘book chat’ each session, sharing our favourite authors and books. Inkpots has great relationships with some of the leading children’s authors and it is always possible for our students to contact these writers and illustrators for advice and feedback too.

The final part of each session will focus on life at the Burgess Hill Academy.  This will be a practical guide and is a chance for the young people to ask questions, start to get used to the layout of the academy and become more confident about moving around without the hustle and bustle of everyday school life.

For the final session in the programme, we will be joined by some of our current Year 9 students who will give their insight into life at the academy – as well as sharing their top tips! They are also really good writers so I hope will inspire the Bridge group too.

The outcomes to expect

By the end of the programme, my aim is for each member of the group to feel confident about the coming changes in September, be aware of what the new routine will be like, and any worries to have been shared within the safe space we create. They will also feel more confident in their creative skills too and understand how these can be used to support them during the next few months.

The students will also:

*Have become part of the Bridge Transition programme community;

*Be aware that we will have a new Year 7 group at the Academy which they can join when they start;

*Have met pupils from other schools and have got to know them;

*Have thrived within the Inkpots space;

*Have benefitted from creative writing support;

*Have had space to develop their individual projects;

*Have had lots of fun! Inkpots groups are – simply – the best!

“Gill has an incredible knack of unlocking children’s worries and thoughts and allowing them to think through things and together come up with workable solutions. She models incredibly important life skills” Year 7 parent

What the cost includes

As well as the programme itself and all the administrative support that involves, there will also be:

*Access to my advice and support through the programme;

*Ideas for throughout the summer holidays to continue the transition process;

*Wellbeing tips in the run up to the SATs;

*Fruit and healthy snacks provided each session (and cake to celebrate for the last session!). Water will also be provided;

*All writing and drawing materials;

*Folder to keep work from the programme in.

The cost of this programme

This is a unique and specially designed programme, and I have packed in as much value and good stuff as possible. I want to work with families to offer the very best possible start for the members of this group. To reflect this there are a couple of layers of payment:

*Advance offer – if you pay for the whole course in advance before 28 March, this is discounted to £95.

*Pay per session – you can pay as you go too for a cost of £22.50 each month. Please note this must be paid before the start of the session by bank transfer.

Click here to reserve a place NOW! Also, the current dates are included on that form too.

Why Gill?

“I started Inkpots in 2013 and for six years I ran after schools’ clubs and holiday and schools’ programmes in seven schools across Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath. During those years, I worked with hundreds of children and young people, and ran thousands of workshops and sessions. Two and a half years ago, Mr Francies invited me to start a group at the academy and we haven’t looked back since. Last year, I decided to concentrate Inkpots’ energies on supporting transition work and developing our services for young people age 10 – 16 years. I also became more and more aware of the need to support wellbeing for the students too and creative writing is an excellent vehicle for this.

I am a trained volunteer youth mentor and a publications editor and writer of many years’ experience. I also work closely with Brighton-based charity Little Green Pig, WriteBack in Barking, and I am an advisor for the Paper Nations writing programme at Bath Spa University. Inkpots is fully insured, and I have an enhanced DBS check. “

If you are interested (nay, VERY interested!) in this programme for your child, but have some questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me on gill@inkpots.org or 07771 231563.

Thank you

Gill x

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