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
This study is being done to assess the effectiveness of a training course for primary school teachers in helping pupils do better at science. The project aims to make science lessons more challenging, more practical, and more interactive. Rather than teaching science as a body of facts to be learned, the approach emphasises ideas and the principles of scientific inquiry: how to ask good questions and design simple experiments to find out the answers.

Who can participate?
Primary schools in Oxfordshire.

What does the study involve?
The participating schools are randomly allocated to either the intervention group or the control group. Year 5 teachers in the intervention group schools receive four days of professional development training in ‘Thinking, Doing and Talking Science’, and later have time to work with colleagues to ensure the programme is being implemented effectively in their school. The aim is not to provide participating teachers with a set of ‘off-the-shelf’ lesson plans to be delivered in schools; rather it is to support them to be more creative and thoughtful in planning their science lessons. Previous research suggests that the programme has a substantial impact on children’s attainment in science. Teachers in schools in the control group carry on teaching science as usual and do not access the ‘Thinking, Doing, Talking Science’ resources (although they can participate in other science courses if they wish). The study also includes a survey on children's attitudes towards science and a questionnaire asking Year 5 teachers how they teach science.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Two teachers at each intervention group school receive professional development sessions in science teaching, and extra time to plan their science lessons. This opportunity is also given to two teachers at the control schools after the one-year trial period finishes. Schools also receive free resources.

Where is the study run from?
Institute for Effective Education, University of York (UK)

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

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

Who is the main contact?
Dr Pam Hanley

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Pam Hanley


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

Improving primary science teaching: a new approach to teaching Year 5 science


Study hypothesis

The aim of the evaluation is to independently assess whether professional development, delivered through this project to two teachers in each school, leads to improved attainment in science (particularly in children’s thinking and reasoning skills in science) as well as benefiting mathematics and literacy.

Ethics approval

The Education Ethics Committee, University of York, 27/07/2012

Study design

Delayed treatment clustered randomised controlled trial, with random allocation at school level

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 to request a patient information sheet


Science education


Teachers in participating (intervention group) schools will receive four days of professional development training in 'Thinking, Doing and Talking Science', and will later have time to work with colleagues to ensure the programme is being implemented effectively in their school. The programme aims to share strategies for teaching science that will increase children's enthusiasm for the subject and at the same time raise their attainment.

In the schools in the control group, teachers will carry on teaching science as usual and not access the 'Thinking, Doing, Talking Science' resources (although they can participate in other science courses if they wish).

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Achievement scores on age-appropriate science tests designed to cover the relevant primary curriculum and address factual recall and thinking/understanding. The tests have been designed by drawing questions from standardised assessments (Russell, T. and McGuigan, L., published by CRIPSAT) across a range of science topics.

Schools were asked to administer first post-test measures between 9 and 23 June 2014.

Secondary outcome measures

Pupil attitudes to science questionnaire based on Kind, P., Jones, K. and Barmby, P. , 'Developing Attitudes towards Science Measures', International Journal of Science Education, 29:7, 871 - 893.

Students will sit their KS2 SATs w/c 11/5/15 (second post-test stage).

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

Year 5 teachers at state primary schools in Oxfordshire, plus one colleague (preferably the science co-ordinator) in single-form entry schools so at least two teachers per school are involved. All Year 5 pupils in the 2013-4 academic year.

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

40 schools

Participant exclusion criteria

Children who match the eligibility criteria but whose parents do not wish them to take part

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Institute for Effective Education
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

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2015 results in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

07/12/2017: Publication reference added.