Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
The aim of the study is to assess how well the Supporting Parents on Kids Education (SPOKES) programme works. SPOKES is a twelve week group intervention that helps parents to develop skills to support their child’s reading. SPOKES has previously been evaluated, focusing on children’s behaviour with some success. There is also evidence that parental behaviours have a large impact on children’s school attainment. This is the first study to look specifically at reading outcomes of SPOKES, although child and parenting behaviours will also be measured.

Who can participate?
Study participants are year 1 children identified as ‘struggling readers’. A struggling reader is defined as having early difficulties in their literacy learning using the previous year’s teacher-completed Early Years Foundation Profile 5+. Parents will be recruited through their child’s school and it is estimated that 720 parents will be recruited through 45 schools.

What does the study involve?
Children will be randomly allocated to one of two groups: either the intervention group or the control group. Where possible, children will be allocated to one group or the other within the school. This is because, being within the same schools, the children will be receiving the same education beyond the SPOKES programme, and children within schools tend to share more similar characteristics than children from different schools.
Parents of the intervention children will receive the SPOKES programme over one term and parents of the control children will receive books returned in their children’s book bags over a ten-week period.
The children (control and intervention) will have their vocabulary assessed in school prior to the programme commencing and their literacy (letter identification, word reading and phonetic awareness) after the end of the programme. At this point programme parents will also complete a questionnaire on parenting behaviours and teachers will complete a questionnaire on child behaviour.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There are no anticipated risks associated with the intervention given that the programme has been trialed previously. We anticipate primary benefits being an improvement in reading skills.

Where is the study run from?
The programme is based in Plymouth (UK). The study will be in schools in the Plymouth area.

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
June 2012 to August 2015

Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Who is the main contact?
Dr Louise Tracey

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Louise Tracey


Contact details

Institute for Effective Education
Berrick Saul Building
University of York
YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Evaluation of the Plymouth Parent Partnership: Supporting Parents on Kids Education in School (SPOKES) programme – a pupil-level randomised controlled trial



Study hypothesis

The aim of the evaluation is to independently assess whether the SPOKES programme, delivered to parents of Year 1 struggling readers leads to improvements in children's reading levels.

Ethics approval

The Education Ethics Committee, University of York, 07/01/2013

Study design

A two-armed randomised controlled trial, to include 45 schools, with struggling readers randomly allocated to control or intervention within schools.

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request an information sheet


Literacy education


Children allocated to intervention or control on a school basis.
Parents of intervention children to receive the SPOKES programme. Parents of control children to receive a bag of children's books.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Primary outcomes are related to literacy achievements.
1. Pre-test, the British Picture Vocabulary Scale II (BPVS) (Dunn, Dunn & NfERNelson, 1997), an individually-administered, norm-referenced test of receptive vocabulary for Standard English.
2. Post-tests: Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests – Revised/ Normative Update (WRMT-R/ NU) (Woodcock, 1998) containing individually administered tests of reading. Sub-tests used will measure letter awareness, word recognitions and phonological awareness. To be administered at end of programme and for selected cohorts a six-month follow-up (cohorts 1-5) and a twelve month follow-up (cohorts 1 & 2).
3. Year 1 phonics screening check, a compulsory check carried out in schools in the summer term to assess Year 1 pupils’ phonics decoding skills. To be collected through the National Pupil Database during Summer 2015.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) with impact supplement (Goodman, 1997). This is a behavioural screening questionnaire to measure children’s emotional wellbeing.
2. Parenting Young Children (PARYC) (McEachern et al., 2012), a parenting questionnaire using the subscales supporting positive behavior; proactive and positive parenting were used.

Both secondary outcome measures to be collected at immediate post-test, 6 month follow-up (Cohorts 1-5) and 12 month follow-up (Cohorts 1 & 2).

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Parents of Year 1 children who have been identified as having early difficulties in their literacy learning using the previous year’s teacher-completed Early Years Foundation Profile 5+
2. Parents have agreed to (and are able to) participate in the programme if they are selected.

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

720 participants in total

Participant exclusion criteria

1. Parents who had already attended the programme or been previously included in the trial
2. Parents whose children match the eligibility criteria but whose parents do not wish to participate

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Institute for Effective Education
Berrick Saul Building University of York York
YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Sponsor details

9th Floor
Millbank Tower
21-24 Millbank
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Education Endowment Foundation. Plymouth Parent Partnership: SPOKES Evaluation Report and Executive Summary

Intention to publish date


Participant level data

Not expected to be available

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2016 results in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

18/12/2017: publication reference added.