Funded by the European Union under Horizon Europe programme – Grant Agreement 101059425

Summer Start Academy

Start Academy Sofia


Evidence of results

Purpose related to Let's Care

Level of Education



Safe Teaching

Brief description of the Project


2017-Currently. 1 academic year.






Preventing school drop-out among vulnerable pupils in 4 Bulgarian cities, through a summer school that reduces the education gap.


The goals of the Summer Academy correspond to children’s specific needs. The
students are trained in different level groups depending on their knowledge, skills, and
needs. The goal is to motivate students to retain school, to help them pass the exams
successfully, and to receive adequate marks in basic school subjects, such as Bulgarian
language and Mathematics. In the academy it will strive to develop 21st century skills -
reading literacy, civic engagement, and communication skills that will make children
competitive to students who graduate from elite schools in Sofia. They invite
inspirational role models in the classrooms. They will track students’ progress on a
regular basis. The programme uses a method similar to the "Mantle of the expert" -
choosing every year a different topic and the students are in the role of experts (pilots,
ecologists, writers, scientists, etc.)

Type of Action

School reinforcement

Target Group and Determinants attended

EducatorsPolicy makers or educational authoritiesPrincipalsStudents (Ethnicity - ROMA))Students (Socioeconomic status)Teachers

Professionals involved


Networking - Actors and Institutions mobilised by the Project

Local authoritiesNGOs or third sector organisations


They work 1 school hour a day in Bulgarian language, mathematics and English. In this way, they succeed in
reducing illiteracy rates and narrowing the education gap in the summer between the most and least affluent
For the second issue, they use different motivational strategies, such as planning 1 school hour to explore the values of
the community and the people in it, or to meet with a guest. Each day ends with 1 hour of reflection on what has been
learned during the day. Students reflect on the things that have happened to them during the day, answer questions about
their emotions and progress.


IIlliteracy and inferiority complex are two big problems which stay in the focus of the summer school.

Grade of linkage with the Safe Education Model

The programme complies with the Safe Education Model, providing a safe learning space for the most vulnerable students.
This is reflected, for example, in the presence of daily emotional work workshops for the most vulnerable students, and in
the active involvement of families and local stakeholders in students learning.

Grade of linkage with the purpose of Let's Care

The programme's main objective is to reduce school failure and/or early school drop-out rates by reducing
the educational gap that is generated in the summer period between the most vulnerable pupils and those
with more economic resources. To this end, specific work is carried out in the subjects of Bulgarian language,
mathematics and english.

Grade of evidence about impact and political relevance

The organisation works with local entities. They are in close collaboration with HESED Foundation - an organisation
which works in the local field and has in-depth knowledge of the local community as well as personal contact with the
families of the students they want to attract to the academy.
However, there is no evidence of the impact of the programme in terms of number of evaluations carried out, studies
conducted, degree of satisfaction of students or other educational stakeholders, etc.

Grade of evidence about impact - Project deliverables

All the documentation can be found in the 'links' section.


Every academy recruits 40 students with learning difficulties for the 3 week summer academy. In 2022 they had 6 different
academies supported by local organisations. The two academies in Bulgarian capital Sofia are held at the HESED
Foundation's place called “MIR” centre (Model for integrated development).


Literacy, self-esteem, prevention of early school leaving

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