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1st February 2022 - What’s in a name?

Catch Up original logo

I suspect that those of you who are reading this have extensive experience of working with struggling learners, and you use the Catch Up® interventions because you know the difference they can make, when delivered as intended. But do you know where it all started?

In 1995, Diana Bentley and Dee Reid used their research allowance as Senior Lecturers in Primary Education at Oxford Brookes University, to undertake a small-scale investigation to explore ‘hearing children read’. This was the birth of ‘Prepared Reading'.

At a luncheon for wealthy benefactors, hosted by Betty Root MBE, the ladies were expressing concerns about poor literacy levels in schools and wondering how they could put their money to good use. Diana piped up – ‘We know what works!’ As a result, the charitable organisation World in Need agreed to support Diana and Dee with a small-scale investigation to test the strength of Diana’s claim. Diana and Dee recruited a director, Suzi Clipson-Boyles and their 10-week project began.

The results were impressive, and the birth of an intervention had begun. However, as with all new things, a name is critical. What should this intervention be called?

Suzi was monitoring the research project in Wales and interviewed an 8-year-old boy who was well aware of the gap between his reading skills and those of his peers. He told Suzi that it didn’t matter how hard he tried, because everyone else was also getting better and he felt he could ‘never catch up’. Naming the intervention with a positive ‘Catch Up®’ told that boy that yes, he could!

The intervention also needed a logo, so it was back to the children for ideas. A competition was held, and the winning design can be seen at the top of this page.

A board of Trustees was set up and The Caxton Trust incorporated as a charity on 4th December 1997; on January 14th, 1998, Catch Up® was launched.

Since that day, we have reached out to share the Catch Up® interventions with over 30,000 adults, and we estimate over 500,000 learners.

In our current recovery phase from lockdowns, and responding to the continuing challenge of Covid-19, we have had some suggest that Catch Up® is a negative name for an intervention, but for us it is important to remain true to our history and to remember that we are here to make a difference for struggling learners – and it was one of them that named us!

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