Back on Track
About 'Back-on Track'
Within our educational remit, Sólás delivers a very successful schools programme known as 'Back on Track' along with an after-school ‘Kids Den’. Started back in 2010, ‘Back on Track’ facilitates a process of early intervention and support to children in mainstream education who have been identified as having an additional educational need, are NOT receiving statutory support, and are therefore at a high risk of failure and further exclusion. This preventative action, which utilises the skills of retired teacher volunteers, involves weekly one-on-one support in literacy and/or numeracy along with the development of individualised work tailored to meet each a child’s identified needs. The programme has been running for nine years and over the last 12 months alone has supported the educational development of over 500 children who are at risk of being overlooked.
Feedback from our 2019 programme
"We really do appreciate this opportunity for some of our children who are struggling. Our BOT volunteer is an absolute star. The children are really enjoying the support that they are getting from her. She is giving them a real confidence boost. She is a real asset and is so caring and kind to what are some of our more vulnerable children. Thanks again!" - Black Mountain PS, Belfast
"We are extremely grateful for the Back on Track programme. Both of our BOT volunteers are fantastic and are doing great work with the children!" - Balnamore PS, Ballymoney
What is the 'Back-On-Track' programme?
‘Back-On-Track’ is an early intervention programme that supports primary school children experiencing difficulties in literacy and numeracy. We liaise with SEN Co-ordinators in schools to identify children who require additional support in literacy and/or numeracy. We then assign retired volunteers to work with them for a specific period and to support the overall development of children who would otherwise struggle in their formative years of educational development.
The 'Back-On-Track' programme is designed to:
Improve the quality of early school experience for children experiencing learning difficulties
Positively influence children’s motivation and ability to access and progress in further education and training·
Create a positive perception of learning amongst those children who currently 'struggle'·
Provide child focused intervention by very experienced volunteers where the child is at the centre of the process·
Facilitate higher levels of achievement than would be expected had the intervention not been put in place.
Develop confidence and improve communication skills
Improve social skills and
Provide hope for a brighter future
Why is the programme needed?
On average 25% of children in main stream primary education are on their school’s Special Education Needs Register.
We believe that with the right early intervention a significant majority of these children can be helped to achieve their true potential.
Who does it help?
Children aged 4 to 11 in main stream primary education and on the schools SEN Register at stage 1 to 3.
Participating schools in NI
As of 2019 we have 40 schools across NI participating in the programme. We are currently updating our schools list - check back for more info.
To measure and demonstrate our impact we publish an annual report. The 2019 programme report will be completed soon.
When do we run it?
The Back on Track programme is scheduled to run during term time (two terms per year) for a minimum of 15 weeks. Schools may register at any time during the school year.
Where is it located?
The programme is run within the participating school premises. Registered schools across NI (see list above).
If your school is not currently involved and you would like more information on how we can help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Volunteer’s Role
Each volunteer provides weekly one-to-one support sessions. This usually takes place over a 3 hour period 1 morning per week for a block period of 15 weeks. Each volunteer can be assigned up to 4 children. The sessions, designed by the volunteer in liaison with the child/child’s teacher and/or school SENCO, aim to enhance the child’s confidence and self-esteem and equip them with the skills and knowledge to help them re-engage with their education and learning, participate better in the classroom and have a more positive school experience which will improve their future prospects. We currently have 80 volunteer teachers working with us across nearly 40 different schools in Northern Ireland (for full list of participating school see the document above).