The Catch-Up Premium was introduced by the Department for Education in January 2013. The department provided schools with an additional £500 for each student in Year 7 who arrived at the school with a Key Stage 2 level below 4 in English or Maths. This has changed slightly and schools are now allocated money based not on specific student numbers but on previous allocation of funds. We use this funding to improve levels of literacy and numeracy for those students who require most support; from September this will mean students identified as Low Attaining Pupils based on KS2 data and students who struggle with specific aspects of literacy to an extent that it interferes with their progress at secondary level (KS2 data and a range of in-school assessments are used to identify these students).
In Culcheth High School the Y7 Catch Up premium has been spent in a number of ways, all designed to accelerate and enrich students’ learning. From 2013 to 2015, we had a dedicated literacy support coordinator who produced a comprehensive scheme of work, spanning three years, and who oversaw the progress of all students. These schemes of work and resources continue to be used where appropriate. Quality, individualised teaching and robust programmes of assessment mean that students’ needs are met far more effectively. A wide range of teaching and learning resources (both paper- and ICT- based) have been purchased and used with intervention classes, small groups and individual students. Students’ learning is supported by these specialist classroom resources designed to target specific areas of learning. Students on the literacy intervention programme are allotted two hours a week of additional, timetabled literacy intervention, though this is not funded by the Y7 Catch Up premium. In January 2017 a Pupil Premium/Literacy Achievement Mentor was appointed to provide further individualised support and intervention, as well as monitoring and tracking students’ progress.
Since receiving this money the school has:
- introduced an enhanced programme of literacy support, including an additional two hours of teaching per week, in Years 7, 8 and 9 (Y7 and 8 from September 2017);
- purchased the Accelerated Reader programme to develop the reading skills of students in Key Stage 3 more quickly and more effectively;
- purchased the Star Reader programme to test and track students’ reading ages;
- purchased a set of ten iPads to support literacy in the classroom;
- used an online literacy support programme;
- purchased a range of targeted literacy and numeracy resources to support rapid learning;
- significantly increased the stock of books in the school library, specifically with the aim of meeting the requirements of students of all reading ages and interests;
- improved assessment, tracking and monitoring of students by introducing more frequent, targeted activities that are scrutinised to evaluate students’ progress
- purchased text book packages supported by comprehensive assessment packages to support students learning and track their progress in even greater detail and depth
- purchased a three year contract with for an online mathematics teaching and assessment package, along with 40 logins for the students who are entitled to, and need, additional support with maths
- Purchased a subscription to Literacy Planet to encourage independent improvement in literacy (in designated class-time sessions, lunchtime sessions, and at home).
- Produced an Individual Literacy plan for all students on the literacy intervention programme to support literacy provision and intervention across the curriculum.
- Developed a cross-curricular tracking and monitoring schedule which includes: in-lesson observations of students on the literacy intervention programme across all subjects, student and staff voice activities, specifically relating to in-subject literacy support and students’ Individual Literacy Plans; and a summary report which is used as the basis for future improvement of cross-curricular support for literacy intervention students.
- Purchased Reading Plus, a software package designed to improve students’ reading speed and competency.
Impacts of spending:
- students are reading more, and are more enthusiastic about their reading
- Students reading and writing levels are improving
- Students reading ages are improving
- Students are more engaged with reading and writing
- Students are receiving more individual support
- Students have access to higher quality resources that are more targeted to their needs
- Students have been supported more comprehensively with their maths
- Students on the literacy intervention programme are making more rapid progress in KS3 (measured by average point score and levels of progress) than the general body of students
2012 - 2013 Outline of Spending
In 2012 – 13 the additional literacy support lessons were not in place. Spending focused on out-of-class support in the form of online literacy support, and in-class support in the form of iPads to support learning (these were also purchased in anticipation of the Accelerated Reader programme).
2013 - 2014 Outline of Spending
In 2013-2014, spending focused on setting up and resourcing the literacy support programme, which started in September 2013. Some funding was directed towards numeracy. A range of reading books and non-fiction books aimed specifically at particular reading ages were purchased. A range of textbooks and other teaching materials were purchased. A range of specifically targeted classroom resources were purchased.
2014 - 2015 Outline of Spending
In 2014-15, spending focused primarily on maintaining and expanding the Accelerated Reader programme and increasing the breadth and depth of resources available to students to improve levels of engagement and create a richer, more inspiring experience for students..
2015 - 2016 Outline of Spending
In 2015-2016, Y7 Catch Up funding was primarily spent on two fundamental areas of literacy and numeracy provision: renewing the Accelerated Reading subscription, including Star Reading tests and online book quizzes; and subscribing to a comprehensive package designed to rapidly improve numeracy, from Whizz Education.
2016 - 2017 Outline of Spending
In 2016-17, Y7 Catch Up funding was spent predominantly on literacy. A comprehensive set of paper and web-based resources were purchased for use with individual students or small groups during literacy intervention sessions. The stock of books aimed at students with lower reading ages was significantly increased to support the Accelerated Reader programme, and licences for the Accelerated reader programme were renewed. Most significantly, a Pupil Premium / Literacy Achievement Mentor was appointed; she will work with individual students and small groups of students to target specific areas of literacy. She will also track students’ progress across the curriculum and support teachers throughout the school in meeting the needs of students who struggle with aspects of literacy. The online maths package (MathsWhizz) was maintained for no cost because the three-year subscription was paid in full last year.
Students on the literacy intervention programme have performed well, overall, compared with other students. In Y7, literacy intervention students have progressed (on average, across all subject areas) two sub-levels, compared with non-literacy intervention students, who have progressed one. Though this trend is reversed in Y8, literacy intervention students in Y9 have improved their average point score in core subjects at a more rapid rate than their peers, up 1.31, on average, compared to 0.83 for their peers. Analysis of Accelerated Reader data demonstrates increased and regular reading is taking place amongst this cohort of students, and the increased spending on books means that a more diverse range of reading is taking place. The new resources that have been bought for literacy intervention and, in particular, the employment of the Achievement Mentor have led to specific improvements for individual students in key areas. MathsWhizz has had a significant impact on progress this year, particularly in Y7. Six students receiving maths intervention have reached a Level 5 and three have been moved up into the set above.
2017 - 2018 Outline of Spending
In 2017-18 the vast majority of spending from the Y7 Catch Up budget has been a contribution towards the salary of the Pupil Premium / Literacy Achievement Mentor. She has supported literacy intervention students in class and removed students from class for more individualised tutoring. In addition, and amongst other things, she has maintained and improved Individual Literacy Plans for all students on the intervention programme, tracked students across the curriculum, and engaged students and teachers in feedback resulting in a report that provides the foundations for further improvement in provision. Further support has been offered through the use of the Literacy Planet software and students have been given curriculum time, extra-curricular sessions, and home learning opportunities to improve their literacy and reading skills through this channel. An exam-board-approved ‘exam reader pen’ was purchased for specific students to use in in-school assessments and public exams to help make exams more accessible to students who struggle to interpret questions. The Accelerated Reader Programme, including Star reading tests, continued throughout the year, engaging students more effectively with reading as well as incentivising students to read more and tracking their reading progress.
Feedback from staff and student voice activities for the cross-curricular report on the use of Individual Literacy Plans (ILPs) was extremely positive. Within the feedback from teachers were suggestions for how the formatting of the plans could be improved to foreground key information, and requests for additional support for subject staff. In response, ILPs have been re-designed and further improved for 2018-19.
Information from Accelerated Reader shows that students on the literacy intervention programme are reading more, and reading a more diverse range of texts. Data from Accelerated Reader shows that many, though not all, students on the programme, made significant progress in improving their reading ages. Accelerated Reader is effective and has been very successful over the years that we have been using it; to improve further in the future we will seek to increase the amount of time available to students in school, and continually reiterate the importance of reading time at home.
Monitoring and tracking of student progress showed that by the end of Key Stage 3 (end of Y8), the gap between students on the literacy intervention programme and students who were not on the literacy intervention programme had been narrowed (with the average points gap dropping from 19.1 to 14.7). By the end of Year 8, more students on the literacy intervention programme (51.5%) were ‘on track’ compared to students who were not (21.3%). To sustain this and improve the GCSE performance of students who were on the literacy intervention programme in KS3, Reading Plus software will be purchased for the 2018-19 academic year and four sessions every week will be dedicated to improving general reading skills, with a specific focus on reading for the exams. A dedicated member of staff will run these sessions.
2018 - 2019 Outline of Spending
2018-19 spending has been focused on consolidating, improving and developing existing strategies. Accelerated Reader has continued as a core part of the literacy intervention programme alongside targeted group and individual support, delivered by English teachers and the Pupil Premium / Literacy Achievement mentor (whose salary is partially funded from Y7 Catch Up funding). There has been a very small amount of spending on reprographics. Reading Plus and Literacy Planet software was also used to support students on the literacy intervention programme, though this was funded separately.
The Literacy Achievement mentor has worked with individual students and small groups of students, using a range of previously purchased resources and resources / programmes developed in-house, focusing on specific areas of weakness. She has also developed, distributed and monitored the use of improved versions of the Individual Literacy Plans that we have been using for some years now. Cross-curricular monitoring, including student- and staff- voice has once again been completed and used to inform improved future practice.
Reading Plus (software designed to improve the speed and competency of students’ reading) sessions were timetabled and staffed for selected students throughout the year.
Impact for 2018-19 mirrors that of 2017-18 to an extent.
Feedback from staff and student voice surveys regarding the impact of the re-designed Individual Literacy Plans was positive, suggesting that teachers are using the materials to inform teaching and learning to make it more effective. Observations during the same review indicated that teachers were referencing the plans in a way that is beneficial for students.
Accelerated Reader data continues to show that students on the literacy intervention programme are broadening their reading and, generally, making significant improvements in reading ages. Reading Plus analysis shows improvements in students’ reading speeds and competency.
Monitoring and tracking shows that KS3 students on the literacy intervention programme made more progress than their peers at a number of points during the year. In Year 7, at two out of six data collection points, including the last of the year, more students on the literacy intervention programme were on or above target that non-literacy-intervention students. In Year 8, there was a general improvement in so far as the gap between literacy intervention students and non-literacy intervention students (in terms of the percentage of students on or above track) narrowed over the course of the year (-15.5% in September to -4.7% in June, with some variance in between). However, progress for this group is not as good as it was last year and this was reflected in the progress of KS4 students who had been on the literacy intervention programme in the past and in the 2019 GCSE results for Y11 students who had been on the literacy intervention programme. There is still work to do and a reinvigorated approach is planned for 2019-20.