Children need personalised specialist support to catch up

After months of disrupted schooling, the Autumn term was a vital time to ensure that children’s social, emotional and academic needs were assessed and supported by WLZ’s Link Workers and specialist delivery partners as quickly as possible. Our Autumn data showed us that for many children this specialist support is needed now more than ever.

To address this need, 84% of WLZ children and young people participated in specialist social, emotional and academic support either face-to-face or remotely in the Autumn term.

It has never been more important that Link Workers co-ordinate this specialist support and collaborate with the session leaders to ensure it is tailored to each child. This helps children to remain engaged and on track. Link Workers use their deep knowledge of each child, taking into consideration school academic assessment data and feedback from parents, teachers and other support staff, to help delivery partners understand each child’s interests and goals.

We know that many children did not make the expected progress for their age-group in literacy during the first lockdown. In order to remedy this quickly, we rolled out as much academic support with existing partners as possible and started several pilot programmes.

The Catch Up Literacy Programme

This intensive literacy support is being delivered twice a week by a literacy tutor to 40 Key Stage 2 children, whose reading levels are significantly below age-related expectations, across three schools. The feedback from children, teachers and Link Workers is very positive, and the need is so great that we are increasing the scale of the pilot to another three schools in the Spring and Summer terms.

“Before each child participates, I have an in-depth induction with the session leader to ensure each child is right for the programme, and at the right point in their 2-year WLZ journey to benefit from the support. During the programme, I continually listen to each child’s feedback: adapting timings to best suit them, suggesting activities to the session leader that I know they enjoy and are good at, and making sure to celebrate their effort and progress.”
WLZ Link Worker

The quantitative and qualitative data we are collecting shows us that specialist support delivered by our partners and guided by the insight of our Link Workers will help to drive children’s progress in this environment. It will complement the teaching they receive from their schools and help them to catch up with their peers. We are pleased that The Catch Up Literacy Programme, alongside many others, adjusted very quickly to a remote delivery model, ensuring that support is uninterrupted during this key time.

Rosie Scott, Head of Partnerships

together, every child and young person can flourish.