200 primary schools wanted to test promising literacy programme

A small group literacy intervention that was found to improve the literacy skills of primary school pupils will be tested on a large scale in English primary schools, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) announced today.

Abracadabra (ABRA) is a 20-week intervention designed to develop literacy skills in Year 1 pupils (five and six year olds). Teaching assistants are trained to deliver 15-minute sessions to small groups of pupils four times per week. The sessions are designed around texts that are suitable for early readers and focus on developing phonics, reading fluency and reading comprehension.

The trial will test two different versions of the programme. One group of pupils will use an online platform to cover the content, while another will an offline version, which uses resources such as magnetic letters and cards.

An earlier and smaller EEF-funded randomised controlled trial of ABRA found that both versions of the interventions had a positive impact on primary school pupils’ literacy results. Pupils who received the offline intervention made slightly more progress than those who used the online platform.

The new EEF grant of £658,255 will allow the programme to be tested in 200 English primary schools and with 9,000 Year 1 pupils. The independent evaluation by the York Trials Unit will find out if the intervention can produce similarly good results when delivered across many different schools.

Schools interested in taking part can find out more on the project page.

Notes to editors

  1. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is a grant-making charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus–The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. The EEF is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £87 million to test the impact of 142 projects reaching more than 960,000 children and young people in over 9,200 schools, nurseries and colleges across England. The EEF and Sutton Trust are, together, the government-designated What Works Centre for Education.
  2. The re-grant has been awarded to:
GRANTEEPROJECTGRANT AWARDEDNUMBER OF SETTINGS (PUPILS)
Coventry UniversityAbracadabra (ABRA)£658,255200 (9,000)