Education Endowment Foundation:Graduate Coaching Programme

Graduate Coaching Programme

Perry Beeches Academy
Implementation cost
Evidence strength
Impact (months)
+5
months
Project info

Independent Evaluator

NFER logo
NFER
Testing the impact of a one to one academic coaching programme.
Pupils: 373 Schools: 4 Grant: £306,000
Key Stage: 3 Duration: 2 year(s) Type of Trial: Efficacy Trial
Completed February 2014

The Perry Beeches coaching programme provided regular academic tutoring to Year 7 pupils struggling with reading and writing. The intervention was delivered through one-to-one or small group sessions with a trained coach, usually a graduate.

The EEF funded this study partly because graduate coaching programmes of this type are popular with schools, and partly because of existing evidence of the effectiveness of small group and one to one tuition.

The study found a large positive impact on pupil outcomes. Pupils involved in the intervention made five months’ additional progress in literacy, compared to other pupils. Exploratory analysis found impacts to be highest when a larger amount of contact time was provided, although there may have been some inconsistency with the way different schools recorded contact time.

Providing extra graduate contact time for pupils may be effective, but it is also expensive: this programme cost around £1400 per pupil per year. While funding graduate coaches could be an effective intervention for struggling pupils, it may not be a cost effective approach to improving attainment for all. 

  1. The programme had a positive impact on pupils’ attainment in reading, spelling and grammar, equivalent to approximately five additional months’ progress. The evaluation did not seek to prove that the approach would work in all schools, but did identify strong evidence of promise.
  2. The programme had a similar effect for pupils eligible for free school meals as for their peers.
  3. There was considerable variation in the way that the initiative was delivered across the four schools. Pupils received a mixture of one to one and small group support, but the frequency and duration of sessions ranged widely between schools and students. There was also variation in the training and supervision coaches received.
  4. Coaches felt that pupils engaged well with the variety of sessions and that both one to one and small group work was beneficial. However, it was not possible to identify the precise contribution of one to one sessions and greater definition of the approach may be required were the approach to be trialled in a larger number of schools.
  5. The cost of the programme was high compared to other literacy catch-up approaches — including those delivered one to one — due to the salary costs of coaches and the intensity of support provided.
Outcome/​Group
ImpactThe size of the difference between pupils in this trial and other pupils
SecurityHow confident are we in this result?
Reading, spelling and grammar
+5
Months' progress
Reading, spelling and grammar (FSM)
+5
Months' progress
N/A