What is the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium?

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium has been designed to mitigate the effects of the unique disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19). To use it effectively you’ll need to think about what’s different for your pupils and then focus on a small number of priorities and specific activities that will support your pupils to catch up for lost learning in your context. It’s also worth thinking about how your Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium strategy aligns with your approaches to your Pupil Premium spending and school improvement priorities.

Take a look at our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium: Purpose page for some useful questions to focus your thinking.

How much Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium will you receive?

Mainstream primary and secondary schools will receive £80 for each pupil in years reception through to Year 11 with numbers based on the October 2020 census. Maintained Special Schools, Hospital Schools and Alternative Provisions will receive £240 per place for the 2020 to 2021 academic year. For Independent Special schools, funding is based on pupil numbers from the January 2021 alternative provision census.

Our blog on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium offers more information and our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium: Value and Payments page has some useful questions to focus your thinking. It’s also worth reading our Finance Support Team’s blog on updating your Forward Financial Planning to account for staff costs and changes due to Covid-19.

How will you be held accountable for your use of the (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium?

The Department for Education (DfE) has stated that, “As with all government funding, school leaders must be able to account for how this money is being used to achieve our central goal of schools getting back on track and teaching a normal curriculum as quickly as possible.” Governors and trustees have a major role to play in this and need to have oversight of catch-up plan priorities and ongoing impact. It’s also important that parents understand how your catch-up plan will support their children.

Ofsted is carrying out ‘interim visits’ to schools which are, “…designed to support schools in their important work to welcome all pupils back full-time.” After each visit, the lead Inspector will write a letter to parents to provide them with information about what the school is doing to help their pupils back into full-time education but this won’t include any evaluation or graded judgement. Restarting routine inspections is planned for January 2021 but, unsurprisingly given the unpredictability of the spread of the virus, this date is under review. When inspections do recommence, the effectiveness of schools’ use of the catch-up funding will be judged under the quality of education being provided.

Take a look at our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium: Accountability and Monitoring page for some useful questions to focus your thinking.

How can you identify gaps in learning for all of your pupils without ‘testing’?

The Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) research has shown that, “Setting aside time to enable teachers to assess pupils’ wellbeing and learning needs is likely to make it easier for teachers and other school staff to provide effective support.” Ongoing ‘soft assessments’ based on learning conversations are more likely to provide you with diagnostic information about gaps in pupils’ learning and what they need to learn next than standardised assessments. They also give you the opportunity to gauge your pupils’ wellbeing and readiness to learn. You could use our Resources to Support the Identification of Gaps in Reading, Writing and Maths for Years 1-6 for this at regular intervals which will also help you show progress.

Our partner Learning by Questions (LbQ) can also help. Their app is filled with curriculum-aligned question sets which are automatically marked (reducing workload) and give immediate feedback so that teachers can focus teaching in the right areas.

Take a look at our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium: Diagnostic Assessments page for some useful questions to focus your thinking.

Are your curriculum and teaching aligned with the DfE’s key principles?

The message from the DfE is clear: education is not optional and the curriculum must remain broad and ambitious. At the same time, you need to focus on the essentials (phonics and reading, vocabulary, writing and mathematics); ensure that your teaching is inclusive for all pupils, especially those with SEND; integrate remote education into your school curriculum provision; make sure your resources and teaching materials support your curriculum delivery; and identify and address your staff’s professional development needs. And all of this without placing unnecessary burdens on your staff. Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium: Curriculum and Teaching page has useful questions and a menu of professional development, consultancy and resources to focus your thinking. It’s also worth checking our blogs – they offer pragmatic advice and solutions for:

Now is also a good time to review and improve your curriculum and make sure that you’re ready to teach your normal curriculum content by no later than summer term 2021. Our Concentric Curriculum enables you to clarify your thinking around your curriculum intent and gives you flexibility around its implementation. It’s an online, comprehensive solution to primary curriculum design and comprises a multitude of materials for curriculum mapping, short- and medium-term planning, and resources to support delivery of teaching and learning.

How are you planning for and providing interventions?

Your curriculum and high quality teaching are the most important factors in improving your pupils’ outcomes, but some children will still need high quality, structured, targeted interventions to make progress. Think carefully about how you’ll identify these children and how you’ll decide on the right interventions to address their needs. The EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit provides evidence-based approaches to improving learning outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged children and young people, and our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium: Interventions page has useful questions to focus your thinking.

When it comes to reading, creating a dyslexia-friendly classroom will benefit all your pupils. But if you have concerns that you have children who may be at risk of Dyslexia, our partner Lexplore Analytics offers a reading assessment, which uses eye tracking and machine learning technology, to give you an insight into how your children read.

How are you identifying and supporting your pupils’ social, emotional and behavioural needs?

The impact of the global pandemic on everyone’s mental and physical wellbeing, and the extended uncertainly it continues to bring with it, has been widely documented. Some of your pupils will be ‘newly vulnerable’ through illness, bereavement, redundancy, the impact of extended school closures or a combination of these. As local lockdowns continue the number of ‘newly vulnerable’ pupils is likely to increase. Pupils need to be supported so that they are ready to learn.

You might also find that you have children who have embraced learning during lockdown and have returned to school as fiercely independent, self-regulated learners. Supporting these pupils to reintegrate into the rhythm of school life will also have its challenges.

In January, the EEF published their research into Improving Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Primary Schools and summarised it into six practical recommendations. Their research shows that effective SEL can lead to learning gains of 4 months or more over the course of a year so it’s worth incorporating this into your curriculum intent and implementation.

As mentioned above, having ongoing learning conversations with your pupils will help you to gauge your pupils’ wellbeing and readiness to learn along with identifying gaps in pupils’ learning.

Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium: Social, Emotional and Behavioural Needs page has useful questions to focus your thinking.

How are you ensuring effective communication with your parents?

Maintaining good relationships with parents and carers is critical to ensure that your pupils flourish. The EEF has 5 tips for sustaining effective communications across the 2020-2021 academic year:

  1. Develop a clear plan for your communications with families across the academic year.
  2. Audit your current communications (especially with less-involved families) to assess what has worked well and what has not during the period of school closures and the planned return.
  3. Try to personalise messages as much as possible, being aware of parents’ varying literacy levels and the need for any translation.
  4. Reinforce simple, encouraging messages around sustainable home learning, routines and study tips. Also, remember to celebrate successes with parents.
  5. Avoid, where possible, complex communication about curriculum content, but focus support on self-regulation, such as establishing a quiet place to work, organisation of equipment, and work routines and habits.

Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium: Communications page has useful questions to focus your thinking along with ideas for helping parents to support their children’s learning.

Next steps

Visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium pages to find questions to prompt your thinking about solutions to help your pupils catch up for lost learning along with ideas and support from Juniper experts to help you implement your strategies and review your success.

You can also sign up to our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-Up Premium Webinars. On Wednesday 18 November we’ll be discussing Approaches to Diagnostic Assessment to Identify Lost Learning and Close the Gaps and on Thursday 19 November we’ll be discussing Curriculum and Teaching – Why You Should Make This the Focus for Your Covid-19 Catch-Up Premium.

Kathryn Day

Kathryn Day

After leaving behind careers in the wine trade and archaeology, Kathryn Day has worked in various education roles across both primary and secondary for nearly 20 years. She’s been a secondary ICT teacher and subject leader, a local authority computing adviser, a local authority school improvement adviser and a primary school deputy headteacher. Kathryn is Director of Training and Development at Juniper Education.