Serious Fun on Saturday is an innovative partnership between state and independent schools. Independent schools host regular Saturday sessions for primary or secondary students from local state schools.

Serious Fun on Saturday gives students the chance to use first-class facilities and resources to enrich and extend their learning. They also have the opportunity to meet and mix with students from other schools and of other ages. The sessions take a fresh approach to core subjects – and some Serious Fun projects introduce completely new topics – building students’ resilience and independent learning skills, as well as their engagement.

Everybody benefits from working together and the generosity of the host schools makes Serious Fun very cost-effective. But of course the biggest winners are the students, who get to use some amazing kit for exciting, practical learning that really impacts their education and their future.

A few of our Serious Fun on Saturday projects are featured below, and a full list of all our 2017-18 projects can be found here. You can also read a report from the Independent about one of our projects at Highgate School here.

Serious Fun at Sheffield High School for Girls

Sheffield High School for Girls is an independent day school and part of the Girls’ Day School Trust network. The school is recognised for its academic prowess and for its links with the local community. In 2010 it won a national award for ‘Best Independent / Maintained School Collaboration’. Although the grant from SHINE to run Serious Fun on Saturday at Sheffield High School finished in 2016, the school continues to run the project.

Since the project started in 2011, six children have been awarded full scholarships to Sheffield High School. These students have been chosen from eight schools local to the High School which are in areas of high unemployment, and have high numbers of children on Free School Meals and English as an Additional Language. The Serious Fun on Saturday project has also founded a number of other partnerships amongst the schools, which have benefitted an estimated 1,000 children to date.

Serious Fun at Bolton

Originally established in 1516, Bolton School Boys’ Division and Girls’ Division provide an education for over 2,300 pupils from nursery to 18 years. The latest Independent Schools Inspection of this school judged it to be remarkable, praising in particular the volume and scope of charity and local outreach work. The school was shortlisted for the Independent School Awards 2010 in the category of Outstanding Community/Public Benefit Initiative.

The results from the 2015-16 academic year show that 85% of parents agreed that attending Serious Fun on Saturday at Bolton had had a positive impact on their child’s attainment at primary school, and 95% said that it had given them access to new opportunities. Seven pupils from last year’s SHINE cohort have joined Bolton School through the bursary programme this year. All pupils had to record three targets they would like to achieve in their academic work or school life by the end of Year 5. 79% noticed an improvement in their first objective, and 71% and 69% did so in objectives 2 and 3 respectively.