North East Primary Literacy Campaign

In 2016, the EEF launched a five-year campaign to boost literacy levels for pupils in the North East, with a particular focus on those eligible for free school meals. The campaign aims to reach all 880 primary schools in the region.

We have committed £5 million towards this endeavour, match-funded by Northern Rock Foundation.

The campaign has three main strands:

  1. Practical guidance: the EEF has published two major guidance reports, Improving Literacy in Key Stage 1 and Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2, specifically developed to support this Campaign. They were subsequently mailed to all primary schools in England in May 2017. A third and final guidance report, Preparing for Literacy, focused on the early years, will be published in spring 2018.
  2. Local advocacy: we are working with eight advocate-partners in the North East, the first five of which began in September 2016, with the other three beginning to work with schools in summer/autumn 2017.
  3. Programmes support: Five evidence-based literacy projects began delivery in schools in September 2016, with more due to begin in the next year. To date £3.9 million has been committed – most of it on grants, but also including the guidance report, advocacy, and evaluation – to reach around 400 primary schools.


Read Write Inc. Phonics and Fresh Start

Queen's University Belfast, Ruth Miskin Training

Testing the impact of a systematic and rigorous phonics programme on early readers and also those that have fallen behind at the end of Key Stage 2.

Progress: 80%
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Philosophy for Children (re-grant)


Testing a philosophy programme that aims to develop children’s social skills and cognitive ability, and improve the quality of teachers’ talk

Evidence Strength
Impact (months)
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Guidance reports

Preparing for Literacy

Seven recommendations to support improving early language and literacy

Preparing for Literacy

Improving Literacy in Key Stage 1

Eight recommendations to support the literacy of 5-7 year-olds

Improving Literacy in Key Stage 1

Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2

Seven recommendations to improve literacy teaching for 7-11 year-olds

Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2

Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools

Seven recommendations related to reading, writing, talk, vocabulary development and supporting struggling students.

Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools


Evaluating the Campaign

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) are responsible for a two-year formative developmental evaluation of the campaign (2016-18), while the University of Nottingham will take the lead on the summative impact analysis of the campaign on pupil outcomes (2016-21). The evaluation protocol can be found here and the final report will be published in 2021.


If you are interested in getting involved in our campaign work in the North East, please contact the EEF's programmes manager, Thomas Martell.