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“I now enjoy school more because of this” – how catch-up programmes are making an impact

Lee Raftery

Lee Raftery and Craig Evason, Deputy Headteacher and Assistant Head of Royal Liberty School in Romford, are leading on their school’s education recovery plans. They share how the interventions they’ve introduced have supported the pupils who need it most.


The catch-up funding we have received this year has been fundamental in allowing us to give extra provision and support to identified students. During lockdown our students followed their normal timetable on electronic devices sourced from both the school’s own supply and the DfE’s Get Help With Technology service. Students were identified for the first wave of catch-up through a number of factors, including disadvantage, those who struggled to engage in online learning and those with lower literacy and numeracy levels.  Increasing literacy and numeracy will ultimately have a significant benefit in progress across the curriculum.

We have put in place a fully comprehensive catch-up programme to make sure none of our pupils are disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic.


  1. We accessed the National Tutoring Programme and were assigned a Teach First academic mentor in maths. This is a full-time member of staff who has a full timetable, working with approximately 5 students in each year group. These students receive between 6-9 hours of small group maths tuition a fortnight.


  1. We have hired an English tutor for one day a week who worked with small groups across all years. This tuition is heavily subsidised and allows us to have high-quality, targeted support for the students who need it without placing additional demands on existing teaching staff. In the first term these sessions were targeted mainly at disadvantaged students, with progress monitored half-termly. The sessions continued virtually throughout lockdown, which wasn’t just great for the pupils receiving the support, it was a relief to their parents too who were concerned about the impact of lost face-to-face teaching time.


  1. We also identified other subjects which students found challenging in the first lockdown.  Through the National Tutoring Programme, we delivered MFL and science sessions after school, with the students in class and the tutor signing in remotely.  The tutors provided effective communication and feedback to teachers on strengths and further areas for development, with 100% of students making progress through the French and Spanish sessions.


  1. In addition to using external providers, we also utilised our own teaching staff and have introduced a compulsory period 6 lesson for year 10 and 11 students. This has provided additional time to focus on content along with addressing gaps in students' learning.  We have also utilised the small number of under timetabled staff to deliver small group withdrawal sessions during the timetabled day along with booster sessions in year 8 and 9 in Maths after school.


We can see that pupils are making progress, showing the success of these interventions across the curriculum. It’s clear the pupils are getting a lot out of them too:


Since being at these interventions my English has improved massively and I know this will benefit me now and forever! 

Year 8 student


Because of this some of my teachers have seen an improvement and said how well my writing is structured and how I use my punctuation correctly.

Year 8 student


I now enjoy school more because of this.

Year 8 student - this one has particular relevance as the student did not want to go to interventions and did not engage with school. Since these interventions, he has been in school every day and his progress and positive attitude has been noticeable.


Overall I think the intervention sessions have played a huge role towards my grade improving.

Year 11 student


I found the Spanish intervention really useful towards my progress. Coming out of lockdown has been difficult for many and I found it especially hard to concentrate, luckily I was given the opportunity for two hour a week intervention. This intervention was extraordinary as the tutor is able to focus and pin down on your weakness and it has helped me personally go from a 1+ to a 4+, which has also helped me push harder in other subjects. These interventions have made it possible! 

Year 11 student.


Find out more about the National Tutoring Programme

All state-maintained schools can access tutoring subsidised by 75% through the National Tutoring Programme, to support pupils who need extra help.

Find out how you can use the Catch-Up Premium towards the National Tutoring Programme.

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