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Education: Fun on final day helps with transition to high school and bigger world.

THE last day of school has never been so much fun -nor such a boost to morale.

Families from the area around Ebbw Vale Comprehensive School spent the afternoon of the final day of term at the school and had a great day out while learning more about the businesses in their community.

The school playing fields hosted the afternoon's events, but children from the catchment primary and junior schools were invited to come along with their families with the aim of raising aspirations and the motivation of pupils whose parents have been affected by the closure of the Corus steelworks.

But behind the fun lay a strong, important message, as it has long been recognised that children face many difficulties when moving from primary to secondary school and there is a danger their education can suffer.

They have to adjust to losing friends and making new ones, as well as come to terms with new and more complex systems of time-tabled lessons with different subject teachers. At the same time they are physically and mentally changing into young adults -which is for many an uncomfortable, confusing process.

WTS is also about providing positive role models from business for pupils and breaking the culture of unemployment and low aspirations.

The ``Watch This Space'' event is now in its third year and is a four-day business-education initiative supporting pupil transition in Ebbw Vale.

The third day of the initiative was organised by Business in the Community (BITC) in collaboration with British Gas, Buy as you View, BBC Cymru Wales, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Cardiff Civil Justice Centre, Palser Grossman and T-Mobile, who have supported the scheme from day one.

Keen to raise children's future aspirations, these companies have been actively working with pupils from Cwm, Waunlwyd, Willowtown and Briery Hill Primary Schools, helping them to learn about what happens in business, what they can expect when they leave school and explaining the different roles and jobs available to them.

John Roberts, head teacher at Briery Hill Primary School, said, ``If Watch This Space manages to jog just one child's mind out of long-term unemployment, then it will have all been worth it.''

Watch This Space is one of 10 schemes called `Symud Ymlaen' funded by the Welsh Assembly Government through Education Extra. Devised in partnership with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council's Education Department, Watch This Space has been providing practical assistance to primary schools in Ebbw Vale keen to develop a co-ordinated and strategic approach to support pupil transition.

Children were able to have a go at making their own mini-movies using the BBC's mobile editing suite, were challenged on a British Gas assault course, and had their football skills tested by Coca-Cola.

CAPTION(S):

FUN LEARNING: All the fun of the fair. Primary school pupils enjoy an open day at Ebbw Vale Comprehensive school as part of their preparation for moving up to their new school
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Title Annotation:Appointments
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 24, 2003
Words:484
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