Can Activity Projects Improve Children’s Wellbeing during the Transition to Secondary Education?

  •  Jane Akister    
  •  Hannah Guest    
  •  Sarah Burch    


Promoting child mental wellbeing is an important part of UK early intervention policy. Children with poor physical or mental health have significantly lower educational attainment and lower social status as adults. ‘Activity’ projects are one form of early intervention used to try and help vulnerable children. Evidence relating to the effectiveness of activity programmes is limited and there is little to say which children benefit most.

This paper reports on a summer activity project for children identified as vulnerable in the transition from primary to secondary school and is a repeat measures, longitudinal design. Reasons that children were referred to the transition project included concerns about their behaviour, school attendance, self-confidence and self-esteem. Pre-project Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires show that most of these children have borderline or high Overall Stress scores, suggesting teachers are right to be concerned about them. The most significant improvement following the project was for children with high scores for emotional distress. There were no improvements for children referred for behavioural concerns.

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