CHILDREN who fall behind while at primary school are to spend up to three extra hours a week concentrating on numeracy and literacy when they transfer to secondary, under plans to be piloted this September.
Breakfast clubs, lunchtime sessions and after-school classes will help 11-year-olds who failed to reach the required standard in national tests this summer.
Children who need an exceptional amount of help may also be withdrawn from other lessons to create more time for the basics, as part of a pound;9.5 million pilot.
More than 200 schools in 17 areas have agreed to take part in the Government's programme to boost standards in the early years of secondary school.
The pilot schools will decide themselves how best to provide these pupils with extra English and maths tuition. Their experiences next year will influence how the national scheme is introduced.
The Department for Education and Employment has recommended that all pupils struggling with literacy spend an extra 90 minutes a week in English lessons. Most maths underachievers will not need extra time, officials say, unless tey suffer extreme numeracy problems.
Around 30 per cent of 11-year-olds would currently be eligible for some extra tuition.
Professor Michael Barber, head of the DFEE's standards and effectiveness unit, said: "The old way of thinking was to teach all children for the same amount of time. We want all children to achieve high standards and ensure that pupils who need more help get that extra tuition."
Each pilot school will receive pound;25,000 to spend on training, books, equipment or extra staff which must be spent during the next academic year.
From September the pilot will extend the national literacy and numeracy strategies into the early secondary years for all pupils with an emphasis on those children who fell behind at primary school.
A science strategy and a programme of thinking skills and pupil motivation are still being developed. Pupils are also to be involved in setting individual targets for themselves in order to boost their motivation. These schemes are now expected to be tested out early next year.
Literacy hour success, 8
Michael Barber, 22-24