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