EEF recruiting schools to take part in six new trials

A new trial will find out if teaching teenagers real-world maths such as estimating the cost of a gas bill or calculating the interest on a bank account can improve their maths GCSE results, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) announced today.

10,000 pupils in 130 English schools will take part in the evaluation of Young Enterprise’s Maths in Context programme which provides teachers with training and a set of lesson plans to help them teach maths in real-world contexts.

Around a quarter of questions in GCSE maths exams involve applying maths to real-world contexts, but most students only achieve a grade E or F in these questions. This suggests that many find it difficult to apply the maths skills they have learnt in class to real-world contexts. It is hoped that by focusing on how maths can be used at a personal level, pupils taking part will find it more engaging and relevant to real life, as well developing essential financial literacy skills.

The grant to evaluate Maths in Context is part of a £700,000 fund the EEF launched with the Money Advice Service to explore ways to give school pupils the tools and information they need to manage their money well. It is one of six new randomised controlled trials announced today.

EAL funding round

Three of these new EEF trials will test different ways to improve the attainment of pupils who speak English as an additional language (EAL) and have been funded as part of a £2m fund the EEF launched with Unbound Philanthropy and The Bell Foundation. It draws on previous research from Oxford University, commissioned by the three funders that found that there is a significant variation in the results achieved by pupils classified as EAL. While many EAL pupils catch-up with their peers by the age of 16, some groups do not and are at particular risk of underachieving.

Family SKILLS, coordinated by Learning Unlimited and Campaign for Learning in partnership with the Family Learning Local Authority Group (FLLAG), will focus on parental engagement to improve the literacy skills of reception class pupils with EAL and their parents. Parents will be helped to develop their own literacy and language skills so they feel more confident about supporting their child’s learning at home. In addition, families will be given an introduction to the education system in England and the culture of schools, as well as advice on how to make the most of bilingualism. The trial will focus on those identified as underachieving and will involve 6,300 pupils.

Additional grants to Challenge Partners and Enfield Council will fund trials of two different programmes that train teachers to support their EAL pupils in the classroom

  • Through three days of training, EAL in the mainstream classroom (delivered byChallenge Partners)helps teachers of Year 10 classes to plan lessons with EAL pupils in mind, develop specific resources for these pupils and differentiate between pupils with different language skills.
  • Integrating English (delivered by Enfield Council), gives four days of training to Years 5 and 6 teachers to enable them to teach a functional approach to linguistics and grammar.

Round 9 general funding round

Two of the six grants announced today are part of the EEF’s general funding round. Achievement for All is a whole-school approach to closing the attainment gap between children deemed vulnerable to underachievement – including those on free school meals and those with special educational needs - and their peers.

This programme focuses on four elements: leadership; teaching and learning; structured conversations with parents and carers; and wider outcomes like enjoyment and engagement. Every school that takes part in the intervention will receive bespoke content and coaching, based on analysis of their individual data and their own perceived issues.

Delivery will focus on primary schools in the North East as part of the EEF’s five-year campaign to improve literacy levels in the region.

Finally, a grant to the University of Oxford, UCL Institute of Education and A+ Education will allow an independent evaluation of a strategy to improve language and social emotional development in three and four year olds. The programme supports early years practitioners to use research-validated assessment tools as a framework for evaluating and improving quality within their settings in areas known to predict children’s later development; and for developing their own knowledge and skills

Integrating English

Enfield Council

Training mainstream teachers in improving their language pedagogy, through “LILAC” and ongoing support

Progress: 80%
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All six of the trials announced today are now recruiting schools to take part. The results of the evaluations will be published on the EEF website and used to inform the Teaching and Learning Toolkit, an accessible summary of education research.

Commenting on the grant to trial Young Enterprise’s Maths in Context programme, Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“Most of us would agree that developing a good level of financial literacy is important to success later in life.But many young people are struggling to translate the skills they learn in maths lessons into real-life contexts. Our evaluation of Maths in Context will help give teachers and schools a clearer picture of the best ways to equip young people with the practical maths skills they need to succeed.”

On the three new grants to programmes that focus on raising the attainment of pupils with EAL, Sir Kevan added:

“While it is true that there are some groups who speak English as an additional language who go on to do well at GCSE, there are certainly some that don’t and whose outcomes are very poor.

“We need to make sure that all pupils who have English as an additional language go on to gain fluency in English so that they achieve well in school, have good career prospects and a bright future here in the UK. To do this effectively, it’s vital that schools and teachers have access to high-quality evidence of what does and doesn’t work.”


The 6 new Grants

Financial education funding round (co-funded with Money Advice Service)

GranteeProjectNumber of schools (Pupils)Type of trialAge group
Young EnterpriseMaths in context130 (9,750)EfficacyKey Stage 4

EAL funding round (co-funded with Bell Foundation and Unbound)

GranteeProjectNumber of schools (Pupils)Type of trialAge group
Challenge PartnersEAL in the mainstream classroom100 (15,000)Pilot + Efficacy Key Stage 4
Enfield CouncilIntegrating English100 (4,500)EfficacyKey Stage 2
Learning UnlimitedFamily Skills140 (6,300)EfficacyEarly Years (Reception)

Round 9 (general funding round)

GranteeProjectNumber of Schools (Pupils)Type of TrialAge Group
Achievement for AllAchievement for All 140 (4,800) EffectivenessPrimary, Key Stage 2
University of OxfordUsing Research Tools to Improve Language in Early Years 120 (2,000) EfficacyEarly Years

Notes to Editors

  1. The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by The Sutton Trust, as lead charity in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus–The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £75 million to 127 projects working with over 767,000 pupils in over 7,543 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. Today’s two new findings will feed into it.
  3. Young Enterprise, incorporating Personal Finance Education Group (Pfeg), is the UK’s leading charity that empowers young people to harness their personal and business skills. Through their hands on employability and financial education programmes, resources and teacher training, they want to eradicate youth unemployment and help young people realise their potential. They are supported by more than 5,000 volunteers and 3,500 businesses in schools, colleges and universities. They also support teachers in 18,000 schools to plan and deliver financial education programmes. For over 50 years Young Enterprise has worked with over four million young people across the UK to empower them to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need for the world of work through enterprise.
  4. Maths in Context has been funded as part of a £700,000 fund the EEF and the Money Advice Service launched to explore ways to give school pupils the tools and information they need to manage their money well.
  5. The Money Advice Service helps people manage their money through a free and impartial advice service. They also work in partnership with other organisations to help people make the most of their money. They are an independent service, set up by government
  6. Today’s three EAL grants have been funded as part of £2m fund from the EEF of £2m fund from Unbound Philanthropy and the Bell Foundation that builds on previous research from Oxford University, commissioned by the three funders, that looked at the academic achievement of pupils classified as having English as an Additional Language (EAL). The ground-breaking reports found that there is a massive variation in the results achieved by pupils classified as EAL. While some EAL pupils catch-up with their peers by the age of 16, average attainment figures mask a huge range of different outcomes. The report called for more research to improve outcomes for EAL pupils at particular risk of under achieving.
  7. The Bell Foundation works to change lives and overcome exclusion through language education for excluded individuals and communities, with the aim of changing practice, policy and public opinion through evidence.
  8. Unbound Philanthropy is a private grantmaking foundation dedicated to ensuring that migrants, refugees, and their families are treated with respect and dignity, are able to contribute fully in their new communities and can ultimately thrive in a society that is comfortable with the diversity and opportunity that immigration brings.