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Yorkshire graduate launches children’s holiday camp during final year of studies

A Psychology and Child Development graduate from Leeds Trinity University has launched a summer holiday camp for primary children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ellie O’Donoghue, 22, from Wetherby, has launched ScapeSchool, a summer holiday camp for primary school children aged four-11 while still in her final year of studies. ScapeSchool offers a comprehensive timetable of activities including arts and crafts, musical theatre, outdoor play and sport.

ScapeSchool was founded by Ellie and her business partner Hollie Bruce, who graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Psychology.

The business partners have tailored all activities around the Early Years Foundation Stages (EYFS) framework, after first coming up with the idea in January 2020. In less than six months, they created a business plan and launched the first summer camp at Walton Village Hall in July.

Alongside studying for a degree in Psychology and Development, Ellie worked full-time in a nursery with children aged from six months to 11 years. She has also completed training in EYFS, GDPR, Paediatric First Aid, Food and Safety Hygiene, Common Core Skills and Knowledge outlined by OFSTED and Health and Safety.

Ellie said: “Hollie and I started planning for ScapeSchool in January – working together and envisioning our dream. We finally took the leap in March and whilst the timing wasn’t great, ScapeSchool has been a massive success so far. We are both totally overwhelmed by the reaction we have received from parents, most of our days are fully booked and we never thought our first holiday club would be this successful.”

She added: “During lockdown, children missed out on months of socialising and being with friends in a fun environment, so they all needed it! This has meant that parents have been keen to get them back socialising and enjoying being a child again. It has been such a scary time for the children, so it has been amazing to see them all feeling comfortable and enjoying some normality; having fun and making memories with old and new friends.”

Brett Arnall, Alumni Relations Officer at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I felt extremely proud to hear about Ellie’s new venture and how well she was doing. It was actually a colleague that got in touch with me and was singing Ellie’s praises after her children attended ScapeSchool.

“Not only is Ellie doing well with a new business, she is excelling in the toughest of times with a business she launched before she had even graduated. This just goes to show what can happen when you have a sound educational experience behind you, someone you can successfully launch a business with, determination and bravery.”

ScapeSchool is open to any children between the ages of four and 11 until the end of August, with plans to expand the business and its services to all school holidays.


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