Catch Up Numeracy (re-grant)

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

Catch Up® Numeracy is a one to one intervention for learners who are struggling with numeracy. It is delivered by Teaching Assistants and consists of two 15-minute sessions per week. 


Key Stage 1

Key stage




EEF Summary

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® Numeracy because it is a structured intervention that has some evidence of promise from previous evaluations.

The first trial was designed to find out if the programme worked in developer led conditions and found that pupils receiving the intervention made additional progress in comparison to pupils receiving standard provision. The study also found a positive impact for providing pupils with the same amount of structured one to one support without using the specific Catch Up® Numeracy materials. This suggested that it was the additional one to one support, rather than Catch Up® Numeracy itself, which led to improved outcomes.

The EEF funded a second evaluation which compared two ways of supporting large numbers of schools to deliver structured one-to-one TA support. It compared pupils receiving Catch Up® Numeracy with pupils receiving equivalent TA support based on best practice guidance in the EEF’s guidance report on TA deployment. The study provides no evidence that Catch Up® Numeracy had an impact on pupils’ maths outcomes compared to the alternative. Catch Up® Numeracy pupils ever eligible for free school meals made 2 months’ less progress than similar pupils receiving other TA provision.

Schools may choose to implement their own structured TA intervention, which is likely to have a similar impact for all pupils, and might be more suitable for those eligible for free school meals. The EEF has no plans for another trial of Catch Up® Numeracy and the programme will be removed from our Promising Project list. 

Research Results

Were the schools in the trial similar to my school?

  • There were 142 schools analysed in the trial, located in the North East, Yorkshire, Peterborough and London
  • 122 of the schools were Good or Outstanding schools
  • Before the intervention, the average percentage of pupils in participating schools achieving expected levels at Key Stage 2 in English and maths was 77%
  • 22% of the pupils in participating schools were eligible for FSM.

Could I implement this in my school?

  • The programme is available to buy from the charity Catch Up® and is available for a range of ages (6-14)
  • Participating schools appoint a member of staff as Catch Up® Numeracy Coordinator to coordinate the intervention and to support the TAs. TAs and Coordinators each receive three half-days of training
  • Catch Up® Numeracy requires schools to commit to off-site training of TAs and the delivery of TA support to individuals rather than groups
  • Schools tend to prefer to run TA support in group rather than one-to-one sessions. More than half of schools in the active control group delivered most or half of sessions to groups of children


Delivered by



Participant group


1 Year

Intervention length

How much will it cost?

The average cost of Catch Up® Numeracy is £39 per pupil per year over three years. In addition, nine half-days of supply cover were required for attendance at training (three for each TA and three for the school coordinator). 



Cost per pupil


2 TAs, 1 Teacher

No. of Teachers/TAs


1 Days

Training time per staff member

Evaluation info





Key Stage

Key Stage 1

Start date

October 2015

End date

July 2017

Type of trial

Effectiveness Trial

Evaluation Conclusions

  1. There is no evidence that Catch Up® Numeracy had an impact on pupils’ maths outcomes, on average, compared to a control group which received a similar amount of TA-led support. This result has a low to moderate security rating. 

  2. Among pupils eligible for Free School Meals, those who received Catch Up® Numeracy made two months less progress in maths compared to those who did not. This result may have lower security than the overall finding because of the smaller number of pupils. 

  3. There was some weak evidence to indicate that children who received Catch Up® Numeracy developed a more positive attitude towards maths compared to those in the active control group.

  4. Schools implemented the intervention with a high level of fidelity. However, there was some mis-selection of pupils, which suggests that intervention programmes for low attaining pupils may not reach all pupils for whom they are intended.

  5. Teaching assistants reported that they valued the Catch Up® Numeracy training. However, there was no evidence that Catch Up® Numeracy changed the attitudes of teaching assistants to maths and maths teaching.

  1. Updated: 17th April, 2019

    Printable project summary

    1 MB pdf - EEF-catch-up-numeracy-2015.pdf

  2. Updated: 14th February, 2019

    Evaluation report

    2 MB pdf - Catch_Up_Numeracy.pdf

  3. Updated: 13th November, 2017

    Statistical Analysis Plan

    692 KB pdf - Catch_Up_Numeracy_SAP_2017.11.08__FINAL.pdf

  4. Updated: 3rd August, 2016

    Project Protocol

    1 MB pdf - EEF_Project_Protocol_Regrant_-_Catch_Up_Numeracy_effectiveness.pdf

Full project description

The Catch Up® Numeracy programme trains teaching assistants (TAs) to provide numeracy support to pupils in Years 3, 4, and 5 (ages 7–10). It aims to improve the numeracy of low attaining pupils. The support consists of two 15-minute one-to-one sessions led by TAs each week over a school year. In this trial, pupils were selected by schools based on maths attainment and the professional judgement of teachers. If participating pupils were judged to have reached an age-appropriate level of numeracy on the basis of termly assessment, they were ‘rolled-off’ the programme and no longer received support. Each school was asked to appoint a member of staff as the Catch Up® Numeracy Coordinator to coordinate the intervention and to support the TAs. Prior to the start of the intervention, TAs received three half-days of training and Catch Up® Numeracy Coordinators received one half-day of training. Catch Up® Numeracy was developed by the Catch Up® charity, part of the Caxton Trust, together with Dr Ann Dowker of Oxford University.

This was a randomised controlled trial involving 150 schools. Schools were randomly allocated to either deliver Catch Up® Numeracy or be in an ‘active control’ comparison group delivering a broadly time-equivalent amount of TA-led numeracy support sessions informed by the EEF’s ‘Making best use of teaching assistants’guidance report. The implementation and process evaluation involved: surveys of TAs, school coordinators, and senior leaders; analysis of delivery data; and case studies of intervention and comparison schools. The intervention began in September 2016 and finished in July 2017. Impact was measured using the Progress Test in Maths by GL Assessment.