Research projects

The Literacy Octopus! An evaluation of different ways of improving literacy at Key Stage 2 based on the latest research evidence

Project director: Ben Styles
Project leader: Pippa Lord
Sponsor: The Education Endowment Foundation
End date: January 2018

An exciting new research project is exploring a range of ways to help schools and teachers to improve their Key Stage 2 pupils’ literacy skills, all based on the latest research evidence.

Funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Department for Education and the London Schools Excellence Fund, this initiative involves a number of high profile organisations helping schools to improve literacy in Key Stage 2.


Through an RCT design, schools that agree to participate will be randomly selected to receive free support or materials via one of several different approaches, all designed to improve Key Stage 2 literacy by drawing on research evidence. 780 schools will be involved in the ‘active trial’; 540 of these schools will receive support, and 240 will be allocated to a control group where they will continue ‘business as usual’.

There will also be a simultaneous trial to explore the impacts of sending schools materials (i.e. a ‘passive trial’). Schools will not need to be officially recruited to the passive trial; materials will be distributed through letters and emails.
More about the methodology


Attainment outcomes will be measured using Key Stage 2 literacy results in the year following the interventions (Summer 2016). Teachers in intervention and control schools will complete a before and after questionnaire about their awareness and use of research evidence in their schools.

Project code: EEFA

Information for schools

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