In England all state-funded secondary schools receive a literacy and numeracy catch-up premium to support year 7 pupils who did not achieve the expected standard in reading and maths at the end of key stage 2.
Last year 93,180 pupils were eligible for catch-up funding, comprising of 17% of the cohort. In 2016-17 this will rise to at least 34% of the cohort and over 191,000 pupils. Schools will receive this funding on 1 March but despite the significant changes that have been made to the key stage 2 assessments and a greater number of students not reaching the expected standards, the funding remains the same as the previous year.
How can schools utilise this funding to best effect to close the gap and what role can technology play?
Deciding what to do with this funding is a difficult choice. Senior leaders need to decide what is best for their pupils and burying your head in the sand, convincing yourself that SATs have simply got harder is not the answer.
It’s been well documented that technology aids teaching and can help children reach their potential, so investing in catch-up technology is a choice worth considering for schools that have the forward-thinking ethos that the future of education needs.
Technology can do many wonderful things in schools, it can help teachers quickly identify what a child does and does not know, empowering teachers to act on gaps in knowledge before they become poor SATs or GCSE scores, or far worse a child not reaching their potential.
Many teachers say that identifying the problem is only part of the solution, teachers simply don’t have the time to go through topics again with individuals. But this simply highlights the needs for intuitive technology that can do the bulk of this for you. Personalised intervention technology can go through these topics in an engaging way with quizzes, videos, and games, making learning fun and helping children catch up with their classmates from the comfort of their own home. By doing this work at home they are ensuring teachers are using valuable classroom time to those who desperately need it (highlighted in detailed reports) all while promoting a positive attitude to independent study, and the gamification in this tech incentivises them to become active learners.
Dixons Allerton Academy in Bradford are a good example of leveraging technology to support their children’s individual needs. Dixons Allerton created an online transition project for a group of year 6 students who were leaving their feeder primary schools and were joining the school in September. Students who had not made the expected progress in key stage 2 were provided with a Chromebook and access to the Transition Centre which had been developed in Frog’s Learning Management System. Through the Transition Centre students had access to a range of resources during the summer break to practice and develop their numeracy and literacy skills. This project was a huge success, the vast majority of students were engaged and the school was able to track students’ progress over the summer and identify where they needed support when they arrived at the school in September.
Published in Education Today, April 2017