Switch-on - Effectiveness Trial

Switch-on has been developed over many years by Jose Coles and Paula Burrell, who are part of the School Improvement Service in Nottinghamshire. It is an intensive daily 10-week literacy intervention delivered on a one-to-one basis by teaching assistants who have been trained in the approach. Switch-on aims to close the reading attainment gap for vulnerable, underachieving Year 3 children who were working below age-expected levels at the end of Key Stage 1. 

As part of this project a network of 21 Switch-on trainers will be trained to deliver the Switch-on Reading and Switch-on training to teaching assistants. Each trainer will recruit 9 schools to the project and train between 2 - 4 TAs at each school.

Why are we funding it?

A previous EEF efficacy trial of the Switch-on Reading approach targeted at underachieving pupils in Year 7 showed a positive impact on reading outcomes. The overall impact on reading was an additional three months’ progress over and above a ‘business as usual’ control. The intervention appeared to have a larger effect for those pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) and special educational needs (SEN), with an effect size equating to an additional five months’ progress for the lower attaining group. However due to a smaller sample size the result for FSM pupils was not statistically significant.

How are we evaluating it?

The intervention will start in November 2015, with 190 schools being randomised to one of three arms: Group 1 will be trained and resourced to implement Switch-on (reading and writing), Group 2 schools will be trained and resourced to implement Switch-on Reading and Group 3 schools will be the control group who will conduct ‘business as usual’ and will receive no additional training as part of the project but will be given £1,500 to enable them to purchase the training and the resources after the project is complete. The interventions will begin in schools in January 2016 and will run for 10 weeks. All Year 3 children will be tested for reading attainment at the end of the intervention period, in early April 2016.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in early 2017.