EEF recruiting 920 schools for six promising projects

An online programme that encourages a love of reading in children is one of six promising projects that will be tested on a large scale in 920 primary schools and with 48,670 pupils across England, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) announced today.

Delivered by Renaissance Learning, Accelerated Reader aims to help schools foster the habit of independent reading among primary and early secondary pupils of all abilities. Through a combination of Accelerated Reader software, dedicated reading time and ongoing professional development for staff, schools are able to quickly screen pupils to find their reading level and then easily match pupils to popular books at the appropriate reading level, and interest level, and monitor results and show where, and what kind of, intervention is needed.

An earlier and smaller EEF-funded randomised trial found Accelerated Reader increased the reading age of pupils by 3 additional months. Low-income pupils benefited even more, with their reading age improving by 5 additional months.

The new EEF grant of £885,000, which will be managed by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), will allow the programme to be tested in 200 English primary schools and with 18,000 Year 4 and 5 pupils. The independent evaluation will find out if the intervention can produce similarly good results when delivered across many different schools.

The other five grants will also test projects that have been previously evaluated with positive results to find out if they work on a larger scale. They are:

  • Catch Up Literacy, a structured one-to-one literacy intervention for learners aged 6-14. This trial will focus on Years 4 and 5 pupils who are struggling to learn to read. Led by teaching assistants and delivered by Catch Up, the intervention teaches pupils a range of reading strategies, including phonics, to enable them to become fluent readers. In a smaller trial, the intervention was found to have an impact of two additional months’ progress.
  • Grammar for Writing, delivered by the University of Exeter, was previously found to have a whole class impact of 2 months’ progress. The programme is a way of teaching writing that helps pupils to understand how linguistic structures convey meaning, rather than teaching grammatical rules in the abstract.
  • Thinking, Doing, Talking Science, delivered by Science Oxford with Oxford Brookes University, is a programme that aims to make science lessons in primary schools more practical, creative and challenging by training teachers in a number of strategies to encourage pupils to use higher order thinking skills. It was previously found to have an impact of three additional months’ progress, with less advantaged pupils benefiting from five additional months’ progress.
  • Affordable Primary Tuition, delivered by Tutor Trust, will test the impact of Maths tuition in primary schools for struggling Year 6 pupils. The Trust recruits university students and recent graduates, which enables it to provide a professional, paid-for tuition service at a competitive rate. It predominantly aims to support schools in challenging communities and pupils who are looked-after or eligible for free school meals.
  • Read Write Inc. Phonics and Fresh Start, delivered by Queen’s University Belfast and Ruth Miskin Training, will test the impact of the two systematic phonics based literacy programmes. Read Write Inc. Phonics is a whole school approach for early readers from Reception to Year 2 and for children in Years 3 and 4 who are not yet accurate and speedy readers. Fresh Start is a catch up programme for those children struggling to read at the end of primary school.

The EEF will invest almost £4m to independently evaluate these six projects and the results will be used to inform the EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit, an accessible summary of educational research.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today:

“Evidence is teachers’ greatest ally when it comes to deciding between different programmes or interventions. The most useful thing it can tell them is, if they replicate the intervention, will they get the same results in their classroom.

“We know that the six programmes we’ve announced new funding for today can all improve results for primary school pupils. But only by evaluating them on a larger scale will we be able to find out if they can be implemented successfully in many different schools.”

The 6 re-grants have been awarded to:

GranteeProjectAge RangeGrant AwardedNumber of schools (Pupils)
Catch UpCatch Up LiteracyYears 4 and 5£518,547170 (2,720)
NFER and Renaissance LearningAccelerated ReaderYears 4 and 5£885,950200 (18,000)
Queen's University Belfast and Ruth Miskin TrainingRead Write Inc. Phonics and Fresh StartYear 1 - 6£1,038,782120 (11,900)
Oxford Brookes University and Science OxfordThinking, Doing, Talking ScienceYear 5£780,045180 (8,100)
Tutor TrustAffordable Primary TuitionYear 6£266,278100 (1,200)
University of ExeterGrammar for WritingYear 6£172,163150 (6,750)

Notes to Editors

  1. The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust, with a Department for Education grant of £125m. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £57 million to 100 projects working with over 620,000 pupils in over 4,900 schools across England.
  2. The Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research developed by the EEF in collaboration with the Sutton Trust and a team of academics at Durham University led by Professor Steve Higgins. The expanded Toolkit covers 34 topics and summarises research from over 10,000 studies. The Toolkit is a live resource which is regularly updated as new findings are published.
  3. NFER is the leading independent provider of rigorous research and insights in education, working to create an excellent education for all children and young people. We are a charity, whose robust and innovative research, assessments and other services are widely known and used by key decision-makers. Any surplus generated is reinvested in projects to support our charitable purpose @TheNFER