Every Child Counts

Of course they do … and Every Child Matters as well … and No Child (should be) Left Behind …

Every Child Counts is a partnership initiative between the Every Child a Chance Trust and current Government – . It should swing into operation next September ( the political climate being what it is it would be a betting person who holds his/her breath for this to happen). Its aim is to replicate the successes of Every Child a Reader and is aimed at Year 2 primary pupils who have fallen behind their peers. The programme aims to enable the lowest attaining children to make sufficient progress to reach expected levels of attainment at Key Stage 1 and beyond. It provides training and support for teachers so they can work with children in one-to-one and/or small group intervention sessions. Pupils receive daily intervention sessions for approximately twelve weeks.

Interestingly, this intervention at a moment in the lives of our young children when across mainland Europe others are just beginning their formal education.

The BBC reports The cost of the scheme per child is £2,500 – a price worth paying, according to the government, to reduce the 15 million adults who currently struggle with maths. and comments that 30,000 children would be in the tranche and they will get 20 hours of tuition from specialist teachers.

I am quite interested in the CPD of these specialist teachers are/will be and what the opportunity costs of participating in such a programme are to the children concerned.

The Charity’s web site displays this statement:

Results so far for Every Child Counts are based on the entry and exit data routinely input by teachers at the beginning and end of every child’s one-to-one teaching programme. They show that children make excellent progress. They do not, however, compare this progress with that made by similar children who have not had the benefit of the programme. A full external evaluation has been commissioned to provide this type of data. The Universities of York and Durham will conduct a randomised controlled trial in the 2009/10 school year, comparing children who have taken part in the programme with those on the waiting list to receive help.

Do I read from this that the data has also not been compared with the rest of the Y2 children? What would happen to them if they had had the same 20 hours of concentrated 1:1 input?

Teachers know that choosing the right moment to give the right teaching is what professional judgement is all about. One of the questions here to ask is, ‘Is this the right thing at the right time with the right children?’ and perhaps, ‘What other interventions would make a difference?’ – perhaps a ‘swimming’ one or a ‘healthy eating’ one or even a ‘keyboarding/typing’ one.

All committed interventions have their strong and weak points and all will have their advocates. There is no rush – I have read the research carried out on the bais of comments in the Williams Review but, as yet, nothing confirms to me that numeracy intervention at Y2 is the optimal thing at the optimal time with the optimal cohort.

My really BIG question is … ‘What else could you spend £2500 on that would make a real difference?’ … would love your answers … the comments button is available !!

Attribution: Original image: ‘calculator
by: Anssi Koskinen

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