Education Endowment Foundation:Getting involved in education research: Our experience of an EEF trial

Getting involved in education research: Our experience of an EEF trial

Dawn Baxter
Dawn Baxter
Digital Communications Officer

Magnus Harrison from, Benchill Primary School tells us about their school’s experience taking part in an EEF trial.

Blog •2 minutes •

At Benchill Primary School, we were looking for a new approach to support our pupils’ reading development as one of the core school attainment priorities in our School Improvement Plan.

I came across the opportunity to take part in the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) trial of Reciprocal Reading, a structured programme that aims to develop children’s reading comprehension skills. The programme sounded like a good fit for our children and a suitable approach to meeting our wider goals as a school.

Taking part in the trial meant we would also be able to deliver the approach for free. We would be able to access professional development and make changes to our approach without adding extra strain to our budgets.

Reciprocal Reading is a targeted programme, meaning that those children who are struggling with reading comprehension are the main focus. They learn skills in small group activities, which they then can take back into the whole class environment.

What was the impact?

As a staff, our main takeaway was quality of the training provided: we felt well-prepared and confident delivering the sessions in school.

We observed a clear impact for our pupils too. It seemed that small group work enabled those children who were previously apprehensive about contributing to discussions were, increasingly, able to share their ideas and learn from others. Our teachers observed new-found confidence when the children returned to the whole class environment, and made use of the new skills they picked up in the intervention sessions.

Our termly test data also suggested real learning gains for these children.

Now the trial has completed, we are still running Rreciprocal Rreading sessions as part of our intervention program.

How did we find it?

Getting involved in education research might sound demanding, but in our experience, the high-quality training, fantastic resources and planning materials we received (for no charge!) were well worth the effort.

We will definitely look to get involved in any future trials of programmes that align with our school priorities. I would recommend any other school to do the same!