EEF remit extended to include projects working in the early years

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has agreed to extend its remit to include the evaluation of projects working in the early years. The news was announced by the Minister of State for Schools, David Laws MP today.

The announcement comes as the Government launches its consultation into extending the pupil premium - funds which schools receive to help improve the results of their disadvantaged pupils – to disadvantaged three and four year olds from April 2015.

Since it was established in 2011, the EEF has successfully championed the use of evidence-based research in helping schools decide how to spend their pupil premium funds most effectively. It has awarded £42 million to test 75 projects working with over 500,000 pupils in over 2,400 schools across England.

Recent polling finds that over half of all secondary school leaders use the Sutton Trust-EEF Toolkit, which summarises the findings of over 10,000 research studies in an accessible format, to help improve teaching and learning.

The extended remit will enable EEF to strengthen research into the most effective interventions in the early years and improve their accessibility to practitioners. The EEF will conduct rigorous, independently evaluated trials of early years interventions as well as consolidating and disseminating the lessons that can be learnt from existing research.

Dr Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the EEF, said:

"There is extensive research demonstrating the existence of an attainment gap in the early years, the impact of this gap on later educational outcomes, and the value of high-quality early years provision for disadvantaged pupils. As a result, we are confident that working in the early years will increase the likelihood of the EEF achieving its core objective of breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.

“The new Early Years Pupil Premium increases the amount of support available for children from low income families, but its impact will depend on how well it is spent. That’s why developing a secure understanding of what really works is so critical. We welcome the opportunity to help build an impartially evaluated evidence base which can be used to improve the life chances of disadvantaged children.”

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 through evidence-based research. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £42 million to 75 projects working with over 500,000 pupils in over 2,400 schools across England.
  • 2.The Sutton Trust/EEF Teaching and Learning 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.The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) surveyed a representative sample of 1,163 teachers in March 2014 and found 54% of secondary school leaders - heads, assistant heads and deputies - said they used the Sutton Trust-EEF Toolkit.