Catch Up Numeracy

This page covers the first (efficacy) trial of Catch Up® Numeracy, 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 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 2

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

Catch Up Numeracy

Months' Progress
Evidence Strength

Equivalent time one to one support

Months' Progress
Evidence Strength

Were the schools in the trial similar to my school?

The project involved 54 schools, most of which were located in the Midlands or the South of England. 34% of the pupils in the project were eligible for free school meals. 75% of the schools in the trial were rated as either good or outstanding by Ofsted. 

Could I implement this in my school?

Catch Up Numeracy is available for schools to purchase from the Catch Up team. 



Delivered by



Participant group


30 Weeks

Intervention length

How much will it cost?

The training provided by Catch Up costs £350 per attendee. The cost of TA salaries and cover while TAs are training should also be considered. 



Cost per pupil


3 Days

Training time per staff member

Evaluation info





Key Stage

Key Stage 1

Start date

September 2012

End date

July 2013

Type of trial

Efficacy Trial

Evaluation Conclusions

  1. Within this trial, one-to-one support by TAs led to a significant gain in numeracy skills.

  2. Catch Up makes similar significant gains, but there is little evidence that Catch Up Numeracy provided any additional gains in numeracy outcomes over and above those from one to one teaching itself.

  3. Schools can find it challenging to run two 15 minutes sessions per week, due to timetabling and other issues.

  4. Structured interventions, such as Catch Up Numeracy, should be planned into the timetable from the start of the new school year to ensure they are given priority and status.

  1. Updated: 8th May, 2019

    Printable project summary

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

  2. Updated: 9th December, 2016

    Evaluation Report

    638 KB pdf - EEF_Project_Report_CatchUpNumeracy.pdf

  3. Updated: 8th May, 2019

    Evaluation Protocol

    367 KB pdf - Catch_Up_Numeracy_Protocol_Final.pdf

Full project description

Catch Up® 1 Numeracy is a one to one intervention for learners who are struggling with numeracy. It consists of two 15-minute sessions per week, delivered by teaching assistants (TAs). The approach is based on research indicating that numeracy is not a single skill, but a composite of several component skills that are relatively discrete. The intervention breaks numeracy down into ten elements, including counting verbally, counting objects, word problems and estimation. Pupils are assessed on each component and instruction is targeted on those areas requiring development. 

In this evaluation, the intervention was run for 30 weeks and delivered to Year 2-6 pupils who were struggling with numeracy, as identified by TAs. The Catch Up Numeracy intervention was compared to a ‘business as usual’ control group and a ‘time equivalent’ intervention group, who received the same amount of one to one teaching by TAs, but did not use Catch Up Numeracy. Those TAs delivering Catch Up Numeracy were supplied with detailed session plans and received three half-day training sessions, led by Catch Up and Dr Ann Dowker of the University of Oxford. The project ran from September 2012 to July 2013.