Over the October half-term, we ran a three day booster session at Emanuel School for Westminster City School (WCS) pupils preparing for their GCSEs. Our aim was to fill in the gaps created by school closures and the challenges of remote learning. We provided two parallel sessions each day – one to offer intensive support; the other, stretch and challenge.

Key concepts in Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry and Physics were covered in interactive lessons each day. Taught over the period by nine Emanuel teachers with support from several members of WCS staff, the sessions ran from 8.45 am to 1.45 pm daily.

In addition to classroom-based activities in English and Maths, students were able to undertake practical work in the Science labs enabling them to develop their understanding of tricky concepts and have hands-on experience of working in a laboratory environment. The pupils were enthusiastic and enjoyed the practical approach. In addition to the materials covered in the sessions, pupils were provided with question packs and model answers matched to the requirements of their exam board. The programme was well attended with 30 pupils participating on the second and third days.

Feedback from the pupils was overwhelmingly positive, with some even asking if there were more sessions on the Thursday and Friday. 100% of pupils found the programme to be helpful and have expressed interest in another session. Pupils commented on the range of teaching methods and the efficacy of teachers involved, particularly mentioning how the teachers were articulate, good at interacting and committed to ensuring that the pupils understood the concepts. Based on this feedback, we plan to run the session again next year and if resources allow, to offer a follow-up session over the Easter holidays.

The initiative was a great example of collaboration between Emanuel School and Westminster City School. The deputy headteacher of WCS, Jennifer Lockyer, wrote: “I just wanted to say a massive thank you for all of the hard work that the teaching staff at Emanuel have put into the sessions for our boys this week.”