Education Endowment Foundation:Catch Up Literacy

Catch Up Literacy

Catch Up
Implementation cost
Evidence strength
Impact (months)
Independent Evaluator
NFER logo
A structured one-to-one literacy intervention for pupils struggling to read
Pupils: 557 Schools: 85 Grant: £430,000
Key Stage: 2 Duration: 2 year(s) Type of Trial: Efficacy Trial
Completed Jan 2014

This page covers the first (efficacy) trial of Catch Up® Literacy, which tested whether it could work in schools under best possible conditions. To read about the second (effectiveness) trial – testing a scalable model under everyday conditions in a large number of schools – click here.

Catch Up Literacy© is a one to one intervention for learners who are struggling to learn to read. It is delivered by Teaching Assistants and consists of two 15-minute sessions per week

There is evidence that Teaching Assistants are more likely to have a positive impact when delivering structured interventions than as general classroom support. The EEF funded Catch Up® Literacy because it is a structured intervention that is widely used in schools.

EEF tested whether the programme could have a positive impact on readers during the transition between primary and secondary school. The programme was delivered by its original developers and the pupils involved made two months additional progress in comparison to pupils receiving standard provision. There was also a positive impact on pupils’ enjoyment of writing and the job satisfaction of teaching assistants.

Based on this, the EEF then evaluated a revised model of the programme, which was designed to be delivered to a larger number of schools at the same time, and which was aimed at pupils in years 4 and 5, rather than pupils moving from primary to secondary school. This second study found no evidence that Catch Up® Literacy had an impact on pupils’ reading comprehension outcomes when compared to business as usual’ teaching assistant support. The less promising result may be due to the changes introduced to programme after the first evaluation.

There is mixed evidence across the two trials of Catch Up Literacy. Due to the lack of impact in the second trial, the EEF will be removing Catch Up Literacy from the list of promising projects. There remains strong evidence that one to one tuition is an effective way of improving literacy attainment, and the EEF continues to be interested in TA-led structured interventions

Future research could test the impact of Catch Up Literacy against an active” control group that receives the same amount of one-to-one tuition as the pupils who receive Catch Up Literacy.

Project type:Efficacy Trial
Key stage:Key Stage 2
Delivered by:TAs
Participant group:Individuals
Intervention length:30 Weeks
Cost per pupil:£30
Staff training duration:3