Back to school... but how much have pupils forgotten?

Back to school... but how much have pupils forgotten?

Although the days still seem to be getting warmer, and the evenings feel as long as ever, we are rapidly approaching the end of the summer holidays.

on 29 August 2019


Across the UK, young people are restocking their pencil cases and preparing their planners for the return to school, as teachers put the finishing touches on their classroom displays and run over their classes’ names one final time.

So how will pupils have fared over the summer? The phrase ‘summer learning loss’ refers to the phenomenon of pupils going backwards in their academic attainment over the summer holidays. It is well documented in the United States, where holidays can be up to three months long. There, it is estimated that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds return to school having regressed by as much as one or two months in their learning. It is certainly a tendency that I observed in my classes after a long summer too, however.

We at Team Up have spent the summer preparing to support those pupils who need it most. While most of the young people we work with have been on their summer holidays, here in the Team Up office we have been busily getting ready for the next academic year. We have a sparkling new Key Stage 4 English curriculum that helps to push students entering into GCSEs to write as effectively and engagingly as they can. We also have a brand new and improved Key Stage 2 Maths Curriculum that helps to build mastery of the key skills that pupils will need, so that they can feel confident tackling these in class. As well as all that, we’ve also improved our training provision for our amazing volunteer tutors: they are now given weekly support through thorough debriefs as well as half term training, both tailored to their school context.

We’re so excited to see what the consequences of these changes will be. Some pupils may have forgotten half of the last summer term come September 2nd, but we can’t wait to see how quickly they catch up again with the support of their Team Up tutors. 

- To find out how to run a Team Up programme in your school, contact

- To volunteer as a tutor, apply at

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