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

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
In the Mathematics: Made to Measure report, Ofsted highlighted consistent problems with achievement in maths. The number of pupils not reaching their expected level gradually increases during compulsory education; and pupils who are eligible for free school meals (FSM) have lower attainment than their peers (Ofsted, 2012). One to one tuition has previously been shown to be an effective way of improving learning, but costs can be unaffordable. An alternative is using online tutoring however the effectiveness of this has not been evaluated yet. We want to evaluate the Online Maths Tuition intervention being delivered by Third Space Learning. The evaluation aims to find out if the this helps to improve pupils’ maths skills during their final year at primary school (Year 6), especially the maths skills of pupils who are currently working at KS2 Level 3 or an insecure KS2 Level 4.

Who can participate?
Year 6 pupils (in 2014/15) in participating schools, who are predicted to have poor maths skills will be eligible to take part.

What does the study involve?
Participating primary schools will be randomly allocated to receive either the online maths tuition to identified Year 6 pupils in September 2014 or September 2015. Pupils will be asked to log on to a computer each week for their online maths tuition, each session will last about one hour. The learning objectives for each session are identified by the pupils’ teacher. All sessions are recorded so teachers can review progress. The study will use the national KS2 maths test as the outcome therefore pupils will not need to sit any additional tests for the study.

What are the possible benefits & risks of participating?
Possible benefits to taking part in the study include receiving additional support for pupils struggling in maths, exposure to a new technology to improve performance and exposure to participating in a national study in education. We don’t foresee any risks to the participants.

Where is the study run from?
The evaluation teams are based at the University of York and Durham University, the project is managed jointly between these two sites. Participating schools are based broadly in four geographical locations in the UK: Yorkshire, London, West Midlands & Calderdale.

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
March 2014 to March 2016

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

Who is the main contact?
Prof David Torgerson

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof David Torgerson


Contact details

York Trials Unit
Department of Health Sciences
University of York
YO10 5DD
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1904 321340

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number

Version 1.3 ; 12/02/2014

Study information

Scientific title

Independent evaluation of the Third Space Learning’s Online Maths Tuition service: a cluster randomised controlled trial


Study hypothesis

What is the effectiveness of the Online Maths Tuition programme compared with “business as usual” on the maths skills of participating children?

Ethics approval

1. Durham University School of Education Ethics Committee,11/03/2014
2. University of York Health Sciences Research Governance Committee, 12/03/2014

Study design

Pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet

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


Education, maths skills


The intervention is an online maths tutoring programme provided by Third Space Learning. Year 6 pupils identified by teachers to receive the intervention will log into the online tutoring service weekly. The focus of each weekly session will be identified by the teacher. Teachers will be able to log into the service to review progress and identify and set goals. The intervention will be delivered for one academic year.

Usual teaching

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Key Stage 2 (KS2) maths score. Pupils complete the national Key Stage 2 maths tests during Year 6 of primary school, typically testing takes place in May of each academic year, results are usually available from September of that year. For the purposes of this study we will be accessing tests taken in May 2015.

Secondary outcome measures

KS2 English score. Pupils complete the national Key Stage 2 English tests during Year 6 of primary school, typically testing takes place in May of each academic year, results are usually available from September of that year. For the purposes of this study we will be accessing tests taken in May 2015.

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Primary schools willing to implement the Online Maths Tuition intervention if allocated to intervention
2. Those schools willing to undertake all related research procedures

Pupils/Children: Each participating primary school will identify approximately 10 eligible pupils (plus 3 reserve) using pre-specified criteria, the identification of whom will take place during the last school term of Year 5. The pre-specified criteria are Year 6 pupils (in 2014/15) and predicted to achieve level 3 or an insecure level 4 in maths by the end of key
stage 2 (based on teacher assessments) will be eligible to take part. Pupils with special educational needs (SEN) will be eligible for inclusion in the intervention if they meet the pre-specified criteria.

The 3 pupils identified as ‘reserves’ will only receive the intervention in specific circumstances, for example if one of the original 10 pupils leave the primary school permanently or refuses to use the intervention.

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

Approximately 60 primary schools. Approximately 600 pupils/children in total.

Participant exclusion criteria

Pupils who have a statement for special needs will not be eligible for the intervention

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

York Trials Unit
YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


University of York (UK)

Sponsor details

c/o Sue Final
Intellectual Property Manager
Research Innovation Office
Innovation Centre
York Science Park
YO10 5DD
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1904 435154

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

The Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Planned publication in a high-impact peer reviewed journal.

IPD Sharing plan:
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study will be stored in a non-publically available repository FFT Education

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

See additional file ISRCTN54650649_BasicResults_07Mar17

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

15/03/2017: The basic results of this trial have been uploaded as an additional file