In June 2020, a £1 billion ‘Catch-up’ fund for education was announced by the government. The catch-up premium is funded on a per pupil basis at £80 per pupil. This will be based on the previous year’s census and will not include Nursery numbers, meaning Wilby Primary School will be in receipt of ££5840 (73 x £80). The spending of this money will be down to schools to allocate as they see best. To support schools to make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation has published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students:
https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools. The school’s strategic response to devising and implementing the Catch-up programme fully takes the EEF findings into account as appropriate to the needs of our setting.
Identified impact of lockdown:
Maths: Specific content has been missed, leading to gaps in learning. Children still have an appetite for maths and lockdown has not affected their attitudes however they are quite simply, ‘behind’. Recall of basic skills has suffered – children are not able to recall addition/ subtraction facts and times tables, and have forgotten once taught calculation strategies. Pupil are also less confident about solving word (reasoning and problem-solving) problems. This was reflected in both summative and formative assessments.
Speaking & Listening: The number of EYFS pupils entering school with speech and language concerns has increased. Pronunciation, sentence construction, understanding and the general ability to speak in sentences are the main areas of concern.
Writing: Children haven’t necessarily missed ‘units’ of learning in the same way as Maths, however they have lost essential practising of writing skills. Grammar, punctuation and spelling, plus handwriting has suffered, leading to lack of fluency in writing. Those who have maintained writing throughout lockdown are less affected, however those who evidently didn’t write much have had to work additionally hard on writing stamina and improving their motivation. Pupils spelling is less accurate –children are less likely to scrutinise their own work making use of spelling strategies taught and classroom resources (word-banks etc) to enable them to spell accurately/correct spelling mistakes independently
Reading: Some children accessed reading during lockdown more than any other subject. This is something that was more accessible for families and required less teacher input. However, children are less fluent in their reading and the gap between those children that read widely and those children who don’t is now increasingly wide.
Non-Core: There are now significant gaps in knowledge – Not all pupils have accessed topic units of work meaning that children are less able to access pre-requisite knowledge when learning something new and they are less likely to make connections between concepts and themes throughout the curriculum. Children have also missed out on the curriculum experiences e.g. trips, visitors and powerful curriculum moments.
Emotional development/mental health: The pandemic has affected our pupils in a whole variety of ways. Many of our pupils have reported experiences which have had a positive impact on their mental well-being. For example, some children say they have enjoyed having more time and sharing new experiences with their families. However, our pupils have shared that the pandemic has also affected wellbeing of our school community in a number of negative ways including:
- Loss: of seeing friends and family; of routines; of goals/milestones, such as end of year activities or exams; of school life; of normal life and activities.
- Friendships: lack of socialisation; loss of self-worth gained from peer groups; missing friends; difficulties maintaining friendships remotely.
- Anxiety, fear and confusion: fear about future uncertainty; confusion about new rules; anxiety about illness and hygiene.
- Disrupted sleep patterns: causing loss of concentration and affecting mood.
- School: worries about missing learning and falling behind; loss of routines;; lack of access to trusted adults.
- Illness:coping with the illness of friends and loved ones.
At Wilby School, Catch-up funding (Catch-up Premium and Suffolk Learning and Improvement Network (SLIN) ) funding is being used in a number of ways including:
- Catch-up learning groups: We will continue to fund the provision of an additional member of support staff who will provide catch-up provision. They will work with identified groups of children, providing ‘over’ and ‘pre learning’ of key maths and English skills. Each class will have 40 minute catch-up sessions spread across the week in the afternoons, to provide either focused ‘catch-up’ work in maths /English or focussed English intervention time. ‘Catch-up’ groups will remain fluid depending on day to day identified gaps in pupil knowledge. During morning numeracy and literacy lessons, class teachers will identify which pupils would benefit from ‘over-learning’ of skills that have been taught. It is important to note that often this will not always be pupils that have an SEN need but those which simply need more time and reinforcement for a concept to become embedded.
- Support groups providing Pre/overlearning of core skills: Teachers and trained support staff will also work with targeted planned intervention groups across the school day. For some children these groups may extend to half an hour before and beyond the school day. These groups will provide a mixture of handwriting, phonics, writing, maths and reading (including use of the use of a Prosody reading approach) intervention support depending on pupils need. When TAs are leading a group they will work closely with the class teacher ensuring that work set accurately matches pupil need.
- Nuffield Early language Intervention (NELI)*:In response to the identification of lowered levels of attainment in levels language development for reception age children who have been adversely affected by the pandemic we have decided to provide training and resourcing (materials and additional class/ support teacher hours) to set up the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme. Lasting for 20 weeks, NELI involves scripted individual and small-group language sessions delivered by trained teaching assistants (TAs), or early years educators, to children identified as being in need of targeted language support. The programme is focused on raising outcomes in speaking and language skills among young pupils whose education has been disrupted at a crucial time for their development.
- Support teacher planning and resourcing requirements and home-learning/homework provision: In response for the need to further embed maths skills that have already been taught and also to provide for the increased need for practice of a wide variety of reasoning/problem solving style questions identified, the school will invest in further maths mastery style resources including White Rose Premium online and Classroom Secrets differentiated resources.
- Provide for the emotional well-being of both staff and pupils: For pupils we will continue to provide funding for counselling and nurture-group provision for identified pupils (within school and external agencies); ensure curriculum time for PSHE is protected and that pupils know who their trusted adult in school is that they can talk to and ensure that the school website provides links to support mental/emotional health. For staff, that focus time to discuss mental/emotional health needs is provided and free counselling and support services are signposted
The broad aims for “catch up” at Wilby Primary School are:
- By the end of the 2021-22 year, attainment outcomes for all year groups will be at least in line with those at the end of the 2019-20 year.
- Identified gaps in EYFS language skills have been identified pupils who are working at below expected levels have reached expected attainment by the end of Autumn 2021.
- The mental health needs of pupils that have arisen as a result of the pandemic are met and supported by the school.
*This programme will also be delivered to Y1 pupils as appropriate to level of need.
What Catch Up at Wilby Primary School is:
(For all children)
- Ensuring that the school continues to provide an exciting, broad and well balanced curriculum that motivates pupils to learn
- Working through well sequenced, purposeful learning schemes which have been adapted to provide the catch-up/reinforcement of core subjects skills identified through assessment in July 2021.
- Focus on consolidation of basic skills. The core skills which enable successful learning will require increased curriculum time across all year groups. These include: handwriting, spelling of high frequency words, basic sentence punctuation, times-tables recall, basic addition & subtraction fact recall and reading skills relevant to age.
- Additional lesson time on core teaching. Reading, writing and maths teaching will require increased teaching time in order to cover missed learning. In order to keep a broad and balanced curriculum, some subject areas may be taught as blocked days (e.g ‘French Day’) rather than weekly lessons.
- Particular focus on early reading and phonics. This is always a focus in the school and will continue to be so in order to develop children’s reading ability and vocabulary.
- Time spent on mental health, wellbeing and social skills development. This will be at the core of all catch up work as many children will have not been in formal school setting for a number of months.
(For some children)
- Additional support and focus on basic core skills. Supported by additional staffing utilising catch up premium – dependent on need as identified through ongoing assessment.
- Additional time to practice basic skills. This again will be dependent on need of children in order to re-establish good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and mathematics) and there will be flexibility on timetables to allow this.
Catch up at Wilby Primary School IS NOT:
- Cramming missed learning
- Pressuring children and families into rapid learning
- Teachers time spent highlighting missed objectives
- Teachers time spent ticking off assessment points and extra tracking