Research projects

The Literacy Octopus: Evaluation of best practice in communicating and engaging schools with literacy research


The interventions will be led by a group of four organisations who help to supply teachers with ways of improving their practice using evidence-based materials. Each organisation has developed interventions with varying levels of support, from light touch sharing of materials, to more active support through CPD sessions and online help. The evaluation will test the different ways that these materials are communicated and delivered.

Through an RCT design, schools will be allocated to receive free information or support from one of these organisations, or to a control group where they continue ‘business as usual’. The activities will include the following:

NFER will be evaluating the trial, and will be recruiting 780 schools to take part. Attainment outcomes will be measured using Key Stage 2 literacy results from the National Pupil Database (NPD). Teachers in intervention and control schools will complete questionnaires about their use of research evidence and support in their schools.

In addition to the main randomised trial, there will be a ‘passive trial’, where a large number of primary schools across the country will be randomly allocated to receive materials or to be a ‘business as usual’ control group.