Agenda Item No. 8


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning]: 18th July 2013


Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer


School Catch-Up Literacy and Numeracy Intervention Programme


Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide Members with an overview of the work of the Catch-Up Literacy and Numeracy Intervention Programmes.


1.             That Members note the good work of schools and the Catch-Up Co-ordinator (DR).

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To develop a shared understanding about the Programme to-date and provide further opportunity for scrutiny of the Programme going forward.


2.             Catch-Up Literacy (CUL) and Numeracy (CUN) are school based Intervention Programmes designed to help pupils who have difficulty developing their reading and number skills respectively.

3.             The Programme provides extra support to individual pupils via a trained adult who is usually a learning support assistant (LSA), based in the school and funded by the school.

4.             The Council has used Welsh Government grant funding to support the Programme and currently funds a part-time Catch-Up (CU) Co-ordinator at a cost of £26,000 per annum.

5.             The CU Co-ordinator co-ordinates the work of school based LSAs with identified pupils.

6.             The cost of delivering CU per pupil in schools across the Authority has not been calculated to date.

7.             However, this cost will need to be arrived at when considering future commissioning options and the need to secure value for money.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.             The Council has trained 635 support staff to deliver CUL and 249 CUN.

9.             There are 54 schools delivering CUL and 34 delivering CUN to collectively 700 pupils in 2013.

10.        700 pupils have benefited from the approach, each pupil receiving two, one-to-one sessions per week.

11.        Identified pupils receive Catch -Up from Year 2 to Year 6 and more recently through to Year 9.

12.        Raw data is recorded for all pupils in the Learning and Skills Data Unit.

13.        Regarding CU Literacy and in terms of tracking pupils' progress, it is only the current Year 6 pupils that have data recorded for the previous 3 years and it is therefore only data from this cohort that can be considered as evidence when analysing progress and sustainability of pupil progress over time.

14.        Secondary age pupils have only recently started accessing the intervention programme and as such three years worth of raw data is not yet available for analysis of progress or sustainability of progress over time.

15.        For these reasons, it is also not possible yet to determine if progress has been sustained for individual pupils from Year 2 through to Year 9, although it is possible to determine progress for pupils between Year 2 and Year 6.

16.        Pupils with the potential to 'catch-up' are identified early in Year 2 using a data matrix (called a scattergram) which compares a pupil's non-verbal reasoning scores with standardised reading scores.

17.        Pupils with medium to high non-verbal scores coupled with relatively low reading scores are identified as being the most capable of making accelerated progress in reading and to ultimately 'catch-up'.

18.        These pupils will usually be placed on the school Special Educational Needs Register (SEN) and identified as requiring a measure of support at School Action (SA) level.

19.        School Action support means that the school itself will intervene and implement an intervention programme tailored to the needs of the pupil, without the additional support of any external agencies.

20.        Learning Support Assistants usually deliver intervention programmes to identified pupils at SA level.

21.        A similar approach is used to identify pupils for CU Numeracy support although the process is less advanced due to the fact that CU Numeracy has not been operating in schools for the same duration of time and has only recently been co-ordinated by the CU Co-ordinator.

22.        Pupils identified in accordance with the process aforementioned have been tracked between Years 3 and Year 6. These were pupils identified as functioning below expectations in reading, but with non-verbal reasoning scores within expectations.

23.        87% of these pupils went on to achieve level 4 in reading in the end of Key Stage 2 statutory teacher assessment.

24.        Of the 13% who did not achieve a level 4, some were identified as requiring more specialised educational support and others had very poor attendance.

25.        Whilst it is not possible to state if the intervention programme alone was the sole cause of achievement at the end of Key Stage 2, it is reasonable to suggest that, having been identified as having difficulties with reading early on, these pupils were more likely to be at risk of underachievement in reading, had they not been subject to the intervention programme during the intervening years.

26.        Additionally, a snapshot of data from 117 pupils in 20 schools in 2011/12 indicated that the average gain in reading age for boys and girls was 17.4 months and 21 months respectively over a 6 month period. These pupils started the programme with reading ages well below their chronological age.

27.        The picture is less clear with CU Numeracy; however, a snapshot of 62 learners who accessed the programme reveals that 66% made double the rate of normal progress.

28.        Deliverers of CUL and CUN are accredited through the Open College Network.

29.        To date 337 deliverers of CUL have achieved Level 1 for literacy, 188 Level 2 and 154 Level 3.

30.        82 deliverers of CUN have achieved Level 1 for numeracy, 21 Level 2 and 15 Level 3.

31.        Several schools have achieved the Catch-Up Award for Excellence which recognises high quality provision. 3 schools have achieved the Bronze and 4 the Gold.

32.        In the Vale the large team of CUL and CUN providers has been co-ordinated and professionally developed by the Catch Up Co-ordinator (DR).

33.        This function (and DR) will transfer to the Regional Joint Education Service (JES) in readiness for September 2013.

34.        The Council will then commission this function from the JES using a portion of the School Effectiveness Grant (SEG).

35.        Additionally, it is the intention of the Data Unit to devise a data tracker specifically to track the progress of all pupils in receipt of CU intervention programmes from Year 2 through to Year 9.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

36.        A portion of the SEG will be used to commission a tailored approach to pupils in Vale schools.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

37.        There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

38.        There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

39.        There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

40.        There are no direct implications arising from this report.


Corporate/Service Objectives

41.        This report supports the Council's corporate objectives for Education and Lifelong Learning and the priorities identified in Education 2015.

42.        This report supports the objectives listed in the Service Plan for Learning and Skills 2013 -2017.

Policy Framework and Budget

43.        The recommendations in this report are within the existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

44.        Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

45.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Estyn Common Inspection Framework for Schools


Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion


Officers Consulted

Debbie Rowan, Catch Up Co-ordinator

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement


Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer