Giving our kids a break

Big School Bell a national moment of recognition to mark the school year-end for the nation’s children

Remember back to your first day of school, how big and knowledgeable the older children seemed to you. Then as you moved your way up the school, how you looked up to the big kids, and dreamed about when that would be you. Finally, it was your turn. But what if it wasn’t? If in your final year at primary all the year-end activities that you’d so been looking forward to are taken away from you; the school trip, the leavers’ assembly, shirt signings, hoodies and parties. How would you feel?

Now remember back to when you took your exams. All those years of work and hours of preparation that led up to those tests, and the relief when they were over. Now imagine that just as you were about to take your exams, you’d been banned from school and told there would be no tests and just to hang around at home doing nothing for five months instead, unable to see any of your friends.

How might it have felt if after five months at home you then had to go to a new school without having seen it in over a year, or maybe at all? How would your summer holidays have felt with that hanging over you?

This is the experience of over a million UK school children. Cheated of the normal transition activities that schools do so well to help children say goodbye to one phase of their lives and feel ready to move on to the next, children are showing signs of missing the benefit of these, with increased anxiety and ill-concealed frustration. Parents are worried.

We anticipate mental health issues and school refusing in September. At Rites for Girls we always seek to work preventatively, offering support before a situation becomes a crisis. We know that a good ending makes a good beginning easier, so we are creating an ending for every school child in the country with our Big School Bell. On the last day of school anywhere in the UK we will ring the final school bell followed by an encouraging graduation message from a mystery celebrity, live-streamed from www.bigschoolbell.org. Boys and girls, no matter when their school term finished, are invited to come to their door or window dressed in their uniform, or with something from school, to hear the last bell. In a nationally shared moment of community, let’s gather with our children to give them the extra acknowledgement they deserve this year.

Free downloadable Moving-On Guides have been designed for children at each stage with fun activities to help them think about how it’s been and prepare for the year ahead. Special attention has been given to children in Year 6, 11 and 13 and there’s one for parents too.

We’ve already had endorsement from Steve Biddulph, Professor Divya Jindal-Snape (Professor of Education, Inclusion and Life Transitions), and Sir Michael Gabon (aka Dumbledore perhaps the most famous headmaster ever!)

Now all we need, is to invite all the children!

Can you help us?

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