COVID Catch-Up Premium

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For the year 2020-2021, the academy received a total of £41,207. You can find a summary of our strategic plan, proposed impact and overall spending below:

COVID Catch-up Premium: Summary of Strategy and Impact 2020-2021

(A) Department for Education rationale:

The COVID Catch Up Premium was introduced to help get students back to following a ‘normal curriculum’ as quickly as possible with minimal learning gaps. Children and young people across the country have experienced unprecedented disruption to their education as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). Those from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds will be among those hardest hit. The aggregate impact of lost time in education will be substantial, and the scale of our response must match the scale of the challenge. The government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up. This includes a one-off universal £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020 to 2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all students make up for lost teaching time. The DfE has also set out the following Curriculum Expectations, to ensure that all students – particularly disadvantaged, SEND and vulnerable students – are given the catch-up support needed to make substantial progress by the end of the academic year. DfE asks that schools meet the following key expectations:

1. Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term, but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content...In particular, schools may consider how all subjects can contribute to the filling of gaps in core knowledge, for example through an emphasis on reading.

2. Aim to return to the school’s normal curriculum in all subjects by summer term 2021.

3. Plan on the basis of the educational needs of students. Curriculum planning should be informed by an assessment of students’ starting points and addressing the gaps in their knowledge and skills.

4. Develop remote education so that it is integrated into school curriculum planning.

(B) Developing a COVID Catch-Up Strategy

The Quality of Education team, part of the Academy Leadership Team, looked at the key priorities above and then broke them down into key foci for the Academy, as below:

1. Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects

●     Faculty Directors of Learning were asked to identify and justify any resources necessary to ensure a high quality curriculum could be delivered to all students - some funding was used to purchase online software licenses, revision guides and additional textbooks allowing them to be sent home. Where possible, eBooks and reusable resources were purchased to provide better value for money.

●     Examples included GCSE revision guides for Year 10 & 11 students in most subjects. In many subjects this included both hard copies and access to electronic resources for revision and self testing like in Science (AQA) and Maths (OCR).

●     Focus on Science investigation/experiment simulation to allows students to experience practical work online in Science, additional ‘Art sets' to allow students without access to resources to be able to create work at home.

●     A detailed Online learning Guide was produced and a series of demonstration workshops provided for staff to enable them to plan effective lessons, mixing both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded/self-paced) activities, including Assessment For Learning tools.

●     During the lockdown period (January to March 2021) students were able to follow their usual curriculum remotely using their iPads (Years 9-11) and loaned devices (where required) in Years 7 and 8. Some of our funding was used to provide students with devices, keyboards and Wi-Fi access to enable all students to access online learning.

2. Aim to return to the school’s normal curriculum in all subjects by summer term 2021.

●     Trust wide planning amongst Trust Leaders of subjects allowed the curriculum to be rearranged where appropriate, to prioritise key topics or skills and reorder others as required (for example, specially arrangements for Y11 groups that would have taken Triple Science converting to Combined Science for 2020-2021, then reverting back to Triple for the Year 11 group 2021-2022).

●     To support a larger numbers of ‘bubbles’ within year groups to support teaching in line with COVID guidance, additional rooms were used for teaching - this meant providing some additional hardware (leads/adaptors/2 projectors/6 laptops for additional staff to work from home)

●     Mega Seating Plan software was used to ensure accurate tracking of where every student was sat, in case of tracing/isolation.

●     To support communication with parents/carers. SchoolCloud Parent Bookings was purchased and allowed for virtual video meetings to be held with all parents/carers for Parents Evening and progress meetings.

●     All subjects were retained with no collapsing of the timetable needed, whether remotely, in person or both, during lockdowns and afterwards.

●      Additional revision guides/workbooks/eBooks allowed staff to target some of the common learning gaps and provide students with easy tools to use to catch up on any areas that were missed.

3. Plan on the basis of the educational needs of pupils.

●     Student mental health was a particular concern picked up early on, due to many experiencing anxiety, isolation, worry and other factors amplified by the lockdown. Additional specialist counselling (Think Well) was brought in to support identified priority students

●     Research from EEF and other groups highlighted reading as one of the key areas for ‘learning loss’, so 3 initiatives were brought in to support this - funding a 3 year extension to Accelerated Reader so students’ ability could be measured and then they could be targeted with books suitable to their reading ability and SORA, providing access to thousands of online texts. Both of these have been further integrated into normal routines from September 2021.

●     A number of Year 7 students were identified as joining us with weak reading skills. We purchased 15 Kindles and set up intensive small group intervention classes using specialist HLTAs for 12 sessions. This was funded using the COVID Catch up premium (both devices and staffing costs).

●     A number of Year 7 students were identified as joining us with weak numeracy skills. We set up intensive small group intervention classes using specialist HLTAs for 12 sessions. These staffing costs were funded using the COVID Catch up premium.

●     On return from lockdown a number of students were identified as behind for Maths due to gaps. They were provided with 1:1 Maths tutoring at our local Kip McGrath centre on Saturday morning and during the 6 week holidays. This cost £4,500.

●     Vulnerable students or children of key workers who continued to access on site provision during the lockdown required additional equipment and support. For example, they all needed headphones to access online learning on their iPads as they were in year group bubbles accessing their own timetable which was different to their neighbouring peers - so they needed their own earphones.

●     Year 11 were identified as a cohort who had been most affected by the 2 lockdowns. When they returned to school in Spring 2021 we provided them with additional period 6 after school lessons to support them in preparing to sit their in school assessment that formed their TAGs. Funding was used to pay internal specialist staff to lead these additional sessions.

●     Additional testing tools were purchased to help identify and support SEND students.

4. Develop remote education so that it is integrated into school curriculum planning

●      The academy already had extensive experience in Online/Blended Learning and platforms like Showbie were already in place and widely used by most students.

●     All students in Y9-Y11 already had their own iPad to use at home/in school, so to reduce digital inequality, Support & Guidance teams audited students most in need of a device in Years Y7/8, especially students falling under PP/RADY/SEND initiatives.

●     Additional DfE devices were deployed (nearly 80) but this was not enough, so the Academy also purchased cases and additional iPads to provide for these students to use. This cost £3,750.

●     Many students did not have scientific calculators so these were purchased to enable all students to access Maths learning from home. This cost £2,895.78.

●     SEND and other staff required access to Showbie Pro learning platforms to provide cover, out of school support and feedback, additional licenses were purchased.

●     As part of a Trust wide-initiative, a Zoom Pro subscription was purchased allowing all teaching staff to deliver live lessons/hold online meetings and share recordings via the cloud, in a safe and secure environment

(C) Allocation

●     Once the spending plan had been reviewed by Academy Principal and Business Manager, funds were then allocated based upon areas of need and potential impact in addressing these key foci. All orders & final costs were recorded on a detailed, itemised spreadsheet.

3. Impact: A number of key factors were identified for assessing impact of COVID spending, including:

●     Parental satisfaction with remote learning

●     Success of managing bubbles/controlling absences

●     Exam results Summer 2021

●     Student/parental feedback on attitudes and mental health

●      Adoption and use of additional online platforms Summaries of some of these key impacts are detailed below:

Remote Learning:

●     Parental Satisfaction: Survey in April 2021 showed that 85% of parents were aware of online expectations for students and 82% felt their children were actively engaged with remote learning.

●     79% of parents were positive about live lessons via Zoom, with only 10% not being supportive.

●     Zoom online video: Across the Trust, 13750 Zoom meetings and almost 7000 Zoom webinars have taken place, with over 815GB of recorded lessons and presentations. The vast majority have been on iPad/other mobile devices. There were no reported safeguarding incidents occurring in any meetings/webinars at The Granville Academy.

Exam Results Summer 2021:

●     Year 11: Despite concerns about cumulative learning loss/gaps after 15 months of COVID lockdown/issues, most Year 11 Summer 2021 results were in line with Summer 2020 results.

●     At the high ability end, English, Maths, Science 7+ results were significantly better than Summer 2020, suggesting they had made effective use of remote learning opportunities and additional resources supported by internal tracking of engagement.

●     Progress 8 and Progress 8 (EBacc) were also similar to 2020, suggesting that the Core Subject resources proved effective in supporting teaching & learning.

●     At the time of this report, It is likely that the current Y11 in Summer 2022 will return back to normal examinations, so the resources and approaches adopted for Y10 last year will be very helpful in supporting the students in preparation for these exams and ensuring that any learning gaps are minimised.