Excellence Awards

7th May 2019 - Catch Up® Excellence Awards: Fivemiletown College, FIVEMILETOWN - BRONZE award winner (Literacy)

Organisation: Fivemiletown College
Intervention: Catch Up® Literacy
Submitted by: Selene Irwin

Fivemiletown College is a mixed ability secondary school in a rural setting. We offer a wide range of courses, both academic and vocational, in collaboration with SW College (Omagh Campus) and St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley.

Approximately 30% of pupils are on stages 1-5 of the SEN register. We wanted to provide a user-friendly and supportive intervention to help pupils experiencing literacy difficulties, which could be carried out by classroom assistants. Catch Up® was chosen because it provided initial training to boost the confidence of the CAs and the intervention is carried out one-to-one with individual pupils in a nurturing environment, allowing a positive relationship between tutor and learner. Initial testing ensures that pupils focus on what they individually need to know.

Learners are selected by the SENCo for Catch Up® at the beginning of Year 8, using results from CAT testing, PTE tests, reading comprehension, reading accuracy and spelling tests to determine which pupils require literacy support. Parental approval is sought by letter and, if parents have any concerns or require more information about the intervention, the name of a school contact is given for them to telephone or arrange to meet.

The learners meet with their Catch Up® tutor during Form Class or Assembly twice a week for 15-minute sessions. The school provided funding for any CA who was interested to attend training, and a co-ordinator, who was one of the first in our school to be trained as a Catch Up® deliverer, is available to advise and provide support should any queries arise. The co-ordinator ensures that Catch Up® deliverers provide high quality sessions by observing them and checking their paperwork periodically.

A report is sent to parents at the end of the sessions, and further testing at the end of Year 8 and beginning of Year 9 determine that pupil progress has been made and maintained.

Case Study 1 - Catch Up® Literacy
When Child A was assessed in September, his reading age was 8 yrs 6 mths, against his chronological age of 11 yrs 10 mths – a gap of more than 3 years.
Before he took part in Catch Up® Literacy, Child A’s reading was slow and stilted. He was not a confident reader and did not like to read aloud; he would do anything to avoid it. With encouragement, Child A became a more confident and fluent reader, enjoying our Catch Up® sessions.
When Child A was re-assessed in May, his reading age had increased to 11 yrs 9 mths, representing a gain of 39 months over the 8-month period, and a ratio gain of 3.3. He has recently been seen in the school library, picking a book, and will now present in front of the class.

Fivemiletown College aims to educate, prepare and inspire all students to achieve their full potential as lifelong learners, thinkers and productive contributors to society. We provide a caring, supportive environment in which each student is encouraged and challenged to develop their strengths, interests and talents.