The government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up lost time after school closure. This is especially important for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Schools should use this funding for specific activities to support their pupils to catch up for lost teaching over the previous months, in line with the curriculum expectations for the next academic year in actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak.
Number of pupils on roll: 270
Total number of students eligible for Catch-Up Funding: 268
Total amount of funding received: £21,440
Main Barriers to learning/gaps identified following the full return to school:
Initially, we will be targeting the catch up funding to KS1, as these children have missed significant schooling, over two academic years, as a result of two lockdowns. This also gives Reception children the time they need to engage in a highly active, play based curriculum, in order to develop the social, emotional and behavioural skills they need to be able to engage in more academic learning -the natural EYFS curriculum, which also encourages creativity, and speaking and listening.
Using our in house ‘Catch Up’ model, which we have entitled ‘GROWTH’, we are using the first weeks back to school to carefully gather information about the children in a fully rounded way, so as to ensure the maximum impact and growth as they restart their learning journey at school. Alongside the essential Wellbeing First ‘Roots’ curriculum, teachers are assessing where children are in their learning and identifying gaps.
Our GROWTH model is as follows:
Gather information - in order to identify gaps in knowledge and readiness for learning
Rapid Response - As soon as gaps are identified, interventions will be put in place to ensure best progress
Offer the very best teaching - making learning more accessible in smaller groups, with qualified teachers
Wellbeing First - The West Rise Way - Teaching how to be the very best learner possible
Targeted teaching - accelerating progress for all learners, especially for those from vulnerable or disadvantaged backgrounds
Happy, healthy humans all the way - A fun and creative curriculum which brings learning alive and gives children the thirst for learning they will need in order to catch up and grow
Teacher observation and evaluation (from the first week back) and leadership monitoring, clearly shows that most children have returned with a positive and ‘happy to be back at school’ mindset, are keen to learn and are enjoying the social aspect of being back with friends. Where children have struggled with the return to school, effective pastoral support has meant that our return to school figure is extremely positive, with very few children not in attendance.
Monitoring shows that classrooms are organised and well set up, offering an exceptional environment and climate for learning, with our school’s Wellbeing First ethos and toolkits for teaching, in place and working well.
However, although children are showing positive attitudes towards being back at school and towards learning, consistently across school, teachers are reporting from their early observations that children have regressed in terms of independence and maturity, as well as social and emotional interactions with their peers.
In KS1, children are finding the dynamic of being in a busy classroom of 30 children quite overwhelming and hard to negotiate, which in turn is having a negative impact on their ability to focus, listen and learn effectively. Analysis appears to show that the effects of being home in lockdown and engaging (or not) in home learning has either created over attachment in need, which has caused over reliance on adult support, and/or children have become used to learning in a much quieter learning environment and are finding it hard to focus. Children who attended the much smaller Keyworker Care during lockdown, are also finding it hard to settle in a larger group setting.
Therefore, our action clearly needs to be focused to supporting children’s ability to focus, to listen, and to teach strategies for learning to learn within the classroom. This means reducing numbers in the classroom, enabling children to access the very best learning with limited distraction. To enable this, we will be employing an additional qualified teacher to create a ‘fourth classroom’, four mornings a weeks, and therefore reducing numbers in class. Alongside this, a discreet piece of work to catch up on key skill development. The teacher will also be used in the afternoons to offer catch up programmes to groups.
We are awaiting further data to tailor our GROWTH (catch up programme), but we anticipate academic barriers in phonics, writing and maths. Aligned with Pupil Premium grant, we will use the funding to reach all vulnerable children in school. Impact will be measured by using tracking to ensure that most children reach AT LEAST their predicted end of year target by the Summer.