SHINE on Saturday combines hands-on, exciting learning with outside trips and creative lessons that expand and enrich the national curriculum. Behind the fun, there is a clear focus on improving attainment and raising aspirations. Ofsted reports at several schools have described SHINE on Saturday as “imaginative”, “effective” and “good value for money”. Students who were underperforming end up improving rapidly, regularly exceeding expectations.

How it works

Each project is based at a host primary school and works with 50 – 60 students. In some instances, all students come from the host school; in others, students are drawn from a cluster of local schools. The projects are well-resourced and staffed by qualified Teachers to provide students with high-quality learning experiences that complement and enrich the core curriculum in an accessible, engaging way.
SHINE on Saturday started in 2001 in London. Since then, we have expanded this programme to other regions, and in 2016 we are running 22 projects in London, Manchester and Folkestone. In Manchester, we have a unique partnership with the Hallé orchestra, which centres musical enrichment at the core of the curriculum.

Key features

Although the activities and curriculum vary from school to school, every SHINE on Saturday project shares certain key features:

  • The project targets students who need extra support, either in relation to their peers or their own academic potential
  • Sessions are designed to be more creative than the normal school week, but complement weekday learning
  • They have students and tutors (instead of pupils and Teachers), with older students acting as peer mentors
  • Students work in small classes which are generally grouped in mixed ages
  • Each term has a main theme, supported by investigative learning in literacy, mathematics, science and technology
  • The creative curriculum emphasises excitement, enrichment and activity-based learning
  • There is always a total commitment to attaining high standards, demonstrating improved performance and raising students’ expectations
  • Every session has clear learning outcomes as both its starting point and main focus.

Below are a few examples of the projects that we’re currently supporting. Click here for a full list of SHINE projects running in the 2016-17 academic year.

SHINE at Eldon

Eldon Junior School is a large primary school in Edmonton, North London. 73% of children at the school speak English as an Additional Language, which means a lot of time is spent on teaching the children to understand English. As a result of this, much of the teaching is lost on students who don’t fully understand the lessons taught in English. Child poverty in the local area stands at 50% (23% above the national average) and in families with more than one child, this rises to 95%.

Of the Year 5 children who took part in SHINE on Saturday, 97% made more than expected progress in their maths, 100% made expected or more than expected progress in their reading, and 97% made expected or more than expected progress in their writing. The Project Manager for SHINE at Eldon commented; “We found that all the children really enjoyed learning through a creative curriculum and all subjects linked to the topic. We felt that not only did each child develop their education but they also grew as an individual and developed social skills and their overall wellbeing.”

SHINE at Wendell Park

Wendell Park Primary School is a larger than average primary school based in an ‘area with significant elements of social and economic deprivation’ The current School deprivation indicator shows that pupils at Wendell Park are twice as likely to come from disadvantage socio-economic backgrouds, when compared to the national average. 51% of the pupils at Wendell Park claim Free School Meals.

Of the Year 5 children who took part in SHINE on Saturday, 70% made expected or better than expected progress in maths, and 74% made expected or better than expected progress in English. Wendell Park is also running a SHINELabs project in their school, to enrich primary science provision. A parent of one of the students attending SHINE at Wendell Park reported that “since joining SHINE my daughter’s behaviour has improved tremendously.”

For a report on the impact SHINE on Saturday has on those who take part, you can read Pro Bono Economics’ report.