Success for All (SfA) is a whole-school approach to improving literacy in primary schools. All teachers and senior leaders are involved, with the school receiving a total of 16 training and support days. Teachers receive pedagogical training – for example on effective phonics teaching – and teaching materials such as structured lesson plans. For the school leadership team there is support in areas such as data management, ability grouping and parental engagement
EEF funded this project – the first independent trial of Success for All in the UK – because of the large body of US evidence showing positive effects on children’s literacy, and growing interest from UK schools in the programme. If found to be effective, SFA could offer struggling schools a comprehensive and structured approach to improving children’s literacy.
This trial found that Reception pupils in SFA schools made a small amount of additional progress compared to pupils in other schools after two years. The effect was slightly larger for pupils eligible for free school meals, but in both cases it was smaller than those found in previous evaluations. One possible reason for this is that some schools struggled to implement the programme as intended. For schools with high quality implementation, the effect of the programme appears to have been higher. The comprehensive, highly structured nature of Success for All means that schools need to make substantial commitments to deliver it properly. This was a challenge for some schools in this trial.
EEF has no plans for a further trial of Success for All. Schools considering Success for All should be aware of the commitment involved in adopting the programme and that higher quality implementation was associated with greater impact in this trial.
- Children who took part in Success for All (SfA) made 1 additional month’s progress, on average, after two years compared to children in other schools. The 3 padlock security rating means that we are moderately confident that this difference was due to SfA.
- Children eligible for free school meals (FSM) made 2 additional months’ progress after two years, compared to FSM children in control schools. The smaller number of FSM pupils in the trial limits the security of this result, though combined with other findings in the report it provides some evidence that SfA does improve literacy ability for children eligible for free school meals.
- Of the 27 schools receiving SfA, 7 dropped out of the programme completely, and 5 did not implement it to the minimum expected level. There is some indication that lack of engagement with the programme resulted in poorer implementation which may have affected the programme’s impact.
- Some schools found SfA prescriptive and adapted the content and delivery of the programme. However, there is some evidence that schools delivering SfA as prescribed by the developers saw larger gains in children’s literacy after two years than those that completed fewer aspects of the programme.
- Overall, schools that successfully delivered SfA were enthusiastic and valued the programme in their school.