Catch up program
Following the lockdown on March 28th due to COVID 19 the children of St Thomas Primary School had to adapt as learners and rely on home schooling, remote teacher support and a reduced amount of face to face teaching from their class teacher. This inevitably meant that many children have gaps in their knowledge from the previous year group when they returned in September.
At St Thomas, we have constructed a ‘catch-up’ plan to ensure children catch up on any lost learning time and potential gaps in knowledge. This plan will focus on quality first teaching, specific year group ‘gap’ filling, classroom intervention and small group targeted support with the child’s health and well-being at the centre of all we do.
What is the ‘catch-up’ premium funding?
The government has announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up. This includes a one-off universal £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020 to 2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time. Schools should use this funding for specific activities to support their pupils to catch up for lost teaching over the previous months and have the flexibility to spend their funding in the best way for their children and circumstances.
St Thomas' has been allocated £30,000 additional ‘catch-up’ funding to support strategies designed to close gaps in attainment for this academic year.
How will spending decisions about interventions be made?
Since July, leaders in school have been following best practice guidance documents and approaches published by the DfE (Department for Education) and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to ensure the additional funding is directed in the most effective way. Approaches taken by the school will be driven by our detailed knowledge of children’s current attainment and will draw upon approaches that are evidence-based that are proven to have a positive impact on closing gaps.
St Thomas takes a proactive approach to closing gaps and raising attainment. In addition to high-quality teaching and learning interventions within the school day, St Thomas is working with experienced teachers, already known to our school and with an insight into our specific needs. This is in response to the evidence from (EEF) that shows that ‘Tutors that have qualified teacher status are likely to have the most impact’.
During November 2020, the ‘catch-up’ premium strategy was written and scrutinised to ensure all strategies chosen will have a positive impact on children’s attainment. The catch-up programme will link closely to the school improvement plans and Pupil Premium Strategy.
Leaders will be held accountable by the governing body for how money is being used to achieve the goal of ‘catch-up’ Lesson plans will evaluate learning and identify gaps; assessment will be used regularly to assess progress against targets.
Quality First Teaching
The curriculum will be adapted to focus on the key skills and knowledge that children need in order to access the wider curriculum. Teachers will focus on embedding these key facts in the first two terms for all core subjects whilst still teaching a smaller percentage of non-core subjects. This will be picked up in the summer term. All teaching will take into account the children’s ability on return from the summer term 2020 and planning will be tailored to their needs. The first 10 days of the term will concentrate on wellbeing and sharing the plans for the term. The third week will see the completion of a range of formal and informal tests to support the teachers planning. The teaching will be monitored by the SLT each half term to ensure high quality of teaching across the school.
Focused in-class support for specific year groups
During November and December, Year 2 and Year 6 will receive specific targeted supported within the school day by their class teacher focusing on a range of different skills and knowledge.
There will be a Teaching Assistant in each class bubble to support the children at most risk of falling behind or further behind. These children will be planned for by the teacher and then work with the support of the TA in the class to allow for smaller ratios and more targeted intervention. Interventions records will be kept and each child below expectations will have a detailed provision map in place. The effectiveness of these is recorded on Provision Map Writer and is scrutinised by our SENCO.
Targeted Group Support (tutoring)
This is an area where we are investing the school’s catch up grant as we strongly believe it will have the most impact. We will select children at most risk of falling behind to partake in small group targeted intervention which will begin in January 2021. This will follow a period of time during Autumn 2 which will see specific training for these targeted interventions. These sessions will be run by a qualified teacher, who may be acting as a Teaching Assistant. The accountability for the success of these sessions will lie with them and the class teacher in order to have the most impact. The sessions will be fast paced and initially work on lost learning from the prior year group in order to give children the best possible chance of progressing in their current year group.
The teacher undertaking this role will liaise with class teacher and SLT and will present impact to HT and Chair of Governors on a termly basis.
Targeted Group Support (mentoring )
This will run from January 2021. Further details to follow.
Who will benefit from the funding?
During September 2020 and January 2021, all children across the school have undertaken high-quality assessments in reading, writing, phonics / spelling and maths. Through careful analysis of this assessment data, teachers have identified groups of children that will benefit from ‘catch-up’ support or other interventions to enable them to close gaps in understanding and attainment.