EEF publishes two new evaluation reports

Today the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published independent evaluations of two trials: a pilot of a programme to support schools to develop pupils’ spoken language skills; and an intervention designed to improve children’s coping skills.

Voice 21: Improving Oracy

12 schools took part in the evaluation of a pilot of the Voice 21 Oracy Improvement Programme. Developed by School 21, the intervention is designed to support schools to develop their pupils’ use of speech to express their thoughts and communicate effectively.

The EEF funded the trial to find out whether School 21’s approach to oracy could be scaled to other schools; and whether the programme is a promising way to improve oracy outcomes.

Schools taking part in the trial spent one hour a week of lesson time developing pupils’ spoken language skills, and received materials and training in oracy based approaches.

The independent evaluators from Alpha Plus reported that the programme showed promise. They found that it was well received by teachers and all school staff felt there were improvements to pupils’ oracy skills. Teachers also believed that the programme could be implemented in most schools. Although teachers were not confident that the observed improvements to oracy skills would have an immediate impact on attainment, some felt that there could be longer-term academic benefits.

The EEF will explore options for funding a larger-scale evaluation of the approach.

Zippy's Friends

70 schools took part in a trial of Zippy’s Friends, an intervention designed to improve children’s coping skills.

Teachers delivered sessions to Year 1 and 2 pupils built around stories about a stick insect (Zippy) and his friends, who are young children. The stories involved issues children might encounter, such as: friendship, conflict, change, and difficult feelings. The children discussed the issues raised, and took part in games and role-play activities about emotions and coping.

The trial was designed to find out the effect of Zippy’s Friends on reading attainment and emotional self-regulation. The independent evaluators from Queen’s University Belfast found no difference between pupils who took part in the programme and those who didn’t. However, it is thought that positive academic outcomes from Social and Emotional Learning programmes may take longer to feed through so the EEF will monitor the long term attainment outcomes for the schools that received Zippy’s Friends.