Coronavirus (COVID-19) Catch-up Premium

Each school in the Compass Partnership will receive additional funding from the government to support children to ‘catch up’ in their learning. This funding will run alongside the National Tutoring Programme. Willow Dene will be allocated £240 per pupil.  This is a one off allocation for the academic year 2020 to 2021 to ensure that those identified as having missed opportunities to learn and develop get the best possible support to help compensate for this shortfall during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Identify student needs following COVID-19 and plan for future progress

All children at Willow Dene face considerable challenges because of their complex learning and health needs. The prolonged period at home for some children as a result of Covid-19 meant that some of our more vulnerable children were required to isolate at home. Whilst materials were sent home and additional support provided, there were barriers which meant that for some children, there was a gap in learning. All of our children benefit from a hands-on, active approach to learning within a highly structured environment with specialist resources and approaches, which are not always easy to replicate at home.

The ‘engage’ phase of our return plan is an important period during which we will gain an understanding of children’s needs following the break from school or exposure to the new environment in and outside of the school. From this we will make the necessary plans and adjustments to ensure children can continue to make progress and make up for lost opportunities.

At Willow Dene we recognise that children may have gaps in their learning, regardless of their ability to engage with class work projects and tasks. Some of these gaps may include the ability to self-regulate and manage behaviour, communicate functionally with others and maintain and improve on current learning. Within this we have considered children who:


  1. Have missed a lot of school (discussions with teachers)
  2. Found it more challenging to engage with or access remote learning (discussions with teachers and families)
  3. Did not have access to the technology needed, or whose home lives made home learning difficult (discussions with senior leaders and DSLs)
  4. Whose vulnerabilities or access modes made learning from home challenging (discussions with teachers)
  5. Have experienced difficult family circumstances


Catch-up approaches

Our catch-up approach will vary depending on the needs of individuals. Catch-up will focus on mental health and wellbeing, engagement and key knowledge and concepts; the content and style of which will not be significantly different to our current pedagogical framework.

In planning for catch-up, school leaders will focus on the three key elements identified by the EEF. These are:

  • Teaching and whole school strategies
  • Targeted support
  • Wider strategies

Leaders have developed an action plan that details their use of the funding in each area and the anticipated impact and timescale. This should then be shared with, and agreed by, the governing body who will have delegated responsibility for monitoring the use of this fund.


The Compass Partnership of Schools

Catch – up Premium Impact Plan

School: Willow Dene

Total allocation: £56,160   

Overall context – what are the main issues that the school has identified during the ‘engage’ phase of the return plan?


  • Willow Dene remained fully open throughout the lockdown period, enabling many children to continue their schooling as normal. However, there were some children, for health reasons, who were not able to attend.
  • A large percentage of our children find it difficult to access remote learning, a result of their learner profile which requires access to concrete objects and experiences. Many of our children benefit from a highly structured environment where learning opportunities are carefully planned, this is not always able to be replicated within the home environment. Some of our children require access to specific technology and resources that are not present within the home to develop their learning.
  • All our children are identified as vulnerable and have EHC plans. For many children, learning from home may have been challenging. This may have included children’s sensory regulation and exercise needs not being met within the restrictions of lockdown or difficulties managing behaviour when different routines and structures are imposed within a home setting.
  • All school staff members are specifically trained and can identify small steps of learning and therefore capitalise and adapt learning opportunities to suit the needs of individuals in the school environment. Some situations cannot be transferred across to a home environment because it may involve distraction free areas or situations where a high level of postural support is needed or another adult to engage the student in learning.
  • Our well-trained staff support and scaffold learning through modelling and facilitation which encourages independence, problem solving and the acquisition of skills and knowledge. This may not be available at home as most parents are not educators and have not received the level of training staff have on how to recognise and support their children’s learning. Further to this, parents are often juggling other children and responsibilities which makes it difficult for our children to have the attention they need to engage in learning tasks.
  • Some children have had little or no appropriate social interactions with peers due to a lack of understanding of restrictions or through anxiety generated through the current pandemic.
  • Children at Willow Dene have very individual needs and planning and resourcing within the school takes account of this. For all of our children, providing access to high quality resources to support with conceptual development is extremely important.  



Teaching and whole school strategies (effective use of technology, staff CPD, support for teachers to have time to assess and feedback etc.)

Allocation and accountability

Expected Impact and Timescale

Children at Willow Dene require access to quality and diverse manipulatives to support concrete learning, this is especially the case in numeracy. Access to appropriate online resources for numeracy can be more challenging for the greater number of our children who require access to highly motivating and concrete experiences. In order to provide catch-up support, additional resources will be sought that can heighten children’s visual and concrete experiences which cannot be easily replicated at home. We know that children benefit in early numeracy from exposure to the exploratory resources and games which we have in school. Catch up funding will enable these resources to be shared widely with parents to support numeracy development at home and to aid children’s motivation tor targeted work in school.   





Katie Dooley- £10,000



Autumn- Spring


Children will have had access to high quality numeracy resources, with a focus on manipulatives and objects to support concrete learning both at home and school. As a result, children are well engaged in their numeracy learning both at school and home.

Appropriate concrete resources will have been provided to families as part of children’s individually tailored work packs in the event that children are engaged in home learning.

Children will have had suitable opportunity to continue their numeracy learning at home with the use of these additional concrete resources.

Parents will have developed skills in supporting their children’s numeracy development through the use of concrete objects and the sharing of our assessment system for numeracy.



Music plays an important role for our learners and aids motivation. The Jammin Group, led by our team of Music Therapists, has been extremely successful to date. However, with Covid restrictions, a newly configured approach to support musical experiences is needed and one which can extend into the classroom. This will support children to share and develop musical experiences in a social way, utilising music and technology.


Matthew Reay- £6000



Learning from the Jammin Group will have been extended to the wider school in terms of positive musicality growth during distanced/home learning.

A wide variety of instruments will have been purchased which has allowed for them to be shared at home and for children to engage in shared musical experiences in and out of school.

Instruments will have been widely used by staff to support activities in home learning e.g. Use of different instruments in greeting songs.

The use of music and technology will have been carefully considered for the needs of our learners so that music practice at distance is engaging and motivating for pupils.

Our early development learners rely heavily on objects to support their engagement with the world around them.  Some children require regular exposure to 'big effect', high contrast stimuli in order to engage them and elicit intentional responses.  Some children have returned to school after the shielding period less responsive, possibly because a high contrast learning environment is harder to recreate in the home. Expanding the range and variety of these would allow children to encounter multiple new stimulating resources, hopefully resulting in children being more alert and responsive to sensory stimuli.

Lisa Parascandolo- £4160



Big effect and high contrast resources will have been purchased and organised so that they can be utilised to increase motivation in and out of school.

Children will have had greater exposure to new and stimulating environments which impact positively on their ability to engage with the world around them.

Children demonstrate that they are more alert during focused work sessions where these resources are present and are displaying behaviours in response to these stimuli.

Parents will have used these resources and will be able to say the impact that they had on their child in terms of learning and stimulation.

Children working from home will have had access to high quality and varied resources which allowed them to work effectively towards learning goals.

Many of our children find less structured times of the day to be challenging. This can be a result of physical or attention needs. It has always been important to the school to teach play and leisure skills in order to support children to be able to make the best use of their leisure time. With the potential for our vulnerable students to be learning from home, , with parents at home juggling their work and children’s learning, it is more important than ever to support children to develop play skills through access to concrete resources which can be further extended to support social experiences.


Emma Bennett- £6000

Autumn- Spring


Support will have been given to parents on what and how to use resources to support children’s play and communication needs.

Children will have had access to games and stimulating play resources which were used to aid communication development and build positive social experiences with others.

Parents will have accessed a range of resources which support interaction, physicality and individual play experiences.

During the period of isolation children's opportunity to experience and explore natural materials, plants and growth was reduced as a result of indoor living. Children have not had opportunities to learn from and build with their hands which is extremely important to their development. It is essential that children rebuild their relationship with the natural world through access to new and diverse experiences where they can evoke change. In order to encourage creativity, exposure to new and stimulating experiences and develop a sense of awe and wonder, resources to support this will be purchased.


Kelly Welch- £4000


Children will have had access to stimulating and varied resources which encourage interaction with the outside world and build connections from within it.

Opportunities and experiences outside of children’s realm of experience will have been utilised to develop engagement with the curriculum and to provide children with new and diverse ways of interacting with the world around them.  

Children will have learnt about wider aspects of science and design and put this knowledge to functional use in classrooms and at home.

Children’s experiences of the wider culture of society and its history will have been minimised during lockdown.

The absence of visits/visitors over the period of isolation has limited cultural, historical and geographical experiences for our children. Providing resources in additional artefacts, concrete examples and varied texts to support teaching and learning will be important to ensure that children continue to benefit from diverse learning experiences in the classroom.


Joshua Garrett-Smith- £6000



Children will have had access to high quality cultural, historical and geographical resources which will have enabled cultural learning to continue in the absence of visitors and trips.

Resources and experiences will have been shared through weekly lessons in the event that children are learning from home.

Concrete examples of curriculum areas exist so that children have had the opportunity to draw meaningful links between past, natural and cultural events.

Access to meaningful texts supported teachers and parents to share different cultures and ways of life with children thereby enriching their experience.

Targeted support (one-one, small group, intervention programme, additional time at end or beginning of day etc.)

Allocation and accountability

Expected Impact and Timescale

We currently employ a play therapist for one day per fortnight who works individually or in small groups with children. In order to provide additional support for children over the course of the year, we intend to increase the play therapist to one day per week and employ an art therapist for the same number of days. Some of the outputs of these therapies are a reduction in anxiety, developing coping strategies and learning to express and experience feelings which is critical for children at this point. Over the last year we have had positive results from this input.


Claire Bayfield

Autumn- Summer


Double the number of children will benefit from art and play therapy which will have contributed effectively to their mental health and ability to engage with the curriculum. These children will have been carefully selected through conversations with teachers, parents and senior leaders to ensure that they would most benefit from these sessions. The target group of children will have found the period of isolation especially unsettling or traumatic and/or be those who had limited social and play opportunities.

Some of our children have barriers to accessing learning and leisure experiences as a result of physical disabilities. It is important that these children have a wide range of opportunities for stimulation within their environment, be it at home or in school. Parents found that during lockdown there were reduced opportunities for their children to be stimulated. It is therefore important that we look into ways to modify experiences at school so that they can be replicated in the home environment. This is so that children can develop their learning skills through motivating activities, making choices, experiencing and finding enjoyment in the world around them. In order for children to access these stimulating environments we may need to custom design some pre-existing resources to make them fit for purpose.

One project for consideration is adapting a footspa so that it is more easily accessible to our students, this may include reconfiguring the shape of the footspa with the support of someone who works with these types of materials.

Another project is creating rigs that parents can use so that children have interesting and motivating resources around them when they do not have the use of their hands. We will also consider how technology can be utilised as a tool to promote learning at home and transfer learning between settings.



Katie Dooley and Matthew Reay



Students who have limited mobility, communication and gross and fine motor skills will have had bespoke resources to engage with learning opportunities which enhanced their experience both at school and home.

Children will have had periods where they could explore, experience and engage with different experiences, allowing for some independence.  Following testing in school information will have been shared with families who then may borrow resources or duplicate this at home.

The potential for creating bespoke alterations to materials will have been explored with the outcome being adaptions or new ideas.