How Catch Up works

Catch Up® interventions

David Gonski's 2012 report 'The Review of Funding for Schooling' highlighted a significant gap between Australia's highest and lowest performing students. He concluded that a concerning proportion of Australia's lowest performing students are not meeting minimum standards of achievement.

Catch Up® Literacy and Catch Up® Numeracy are structured one-to-one interventions proven to significantly improve the achievement of learners who find literacy or numeracy difficult. Easy to manage, deliver and sustain, they involve 15-minute individual sessions delivered twice a week by trained teachers, teacher aides, mentors or volunteers.

Catch Up Literacy A book-based reading intervention which enables struggling readers to achieve more than double the progress of typically developing readers.
Catch Up Numeracy An intervention addressing 10 key components of numeracy which enables learners who struggle with numeracy to achieve more than double the progress of typically developing learners.
  • Achieve impressive progress in Reading and Number ages of learners with two proven interventions that have already helped over 500,000 learners
  • Maximise funding with cost-effective interventions delivered by trained support staff
  • Implement easy-to-manage interventions suitable for struggling learners age 6-14, using 15-minute individual sessions, twice a week

Each intervention begins with assessments for learning, which enable the adult to identify an appropriate focus for the individual learner - for Catch Up® Literacy, a book of an appropriate level of difficulty; for Catch Up® Numeracy, activities of an appropriate level of difficulty that address a specific component of numeracy.

Each intervention then comprises two 15-minute individual sessions per week, delivered in most cases by teaching assistants, in which the learner reads from the chosen book/takes part in the chosen numeracy activity, and completes some linked writing/recording that addresses identified miscues. Throughout both interventions, the emphasis is on providing effective personalised learning support for the individual learner within a positive, supportive and enabling framework.

Find out about how the interventions work


Catch Up® Literacy was created by Diana Bentley, Dee Reid and Suzi Clipson-Boyles (Oxford Brookes University) in response to research (Thomas and Davies, 1997), which found that ‘18% of all 7/8 year olds have reading difficulties’. Catch Up® then received repeated requests for a similarly effective numeracy intervention, which resulted in Catch Up® Numeracy being developed during 2007, based on the extensive research of Dr Ann Dowker (University of Oxford).

Over 500,000 struggling learners have been helped with the Catch Up® interventions and over 21,000 supporting adults, including teaching assistants, teachers, carers and mentors from the UK and worldwide, have been trained to deliver them. Catch Up® is now used in over 4500 schools across the UK, with both interventions being available in English and Welsh medium.

*© Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority 2012.

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