Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Switch-on is an intensive ten-week literacy program targeted at children in primary school who are not meeting the literacy levels expected for their age. It aims to help children to participate more fully in the classroom by becoming more confident, active and independent readers, using a range of methods to improve their reading and help them reach their full potential. Switch-on is delivered by specially trained teaching assistants (TAs) in daily 20-minute sessions. The aim of this study is to assess whether the program, can improve reading skills of pupils Year 3 pupils in UK primary schools, aged 7-8 years old, who failed to reach expected reading standards (Level 4 English, Key Stage 2) in the previous school year. The study looks at two versions of the program to see whether there is a difference in results (improvement in reading skills) and to compare the effect of each of these versions against children not taking part in the program.
Who can participate?
Year 3 pupils attending UK primary schools, aged 7-8 years old, who have failed to reach expected reading standards in the previous year
What does the study involve?
Participating schools are randomly allocated to one of three groups. Those in group one are allocated to the “Switch-on Reading” group, which includes only reading exercises. Those in group two are allocated to the “Switch-on Reading and Writing” group, which includes the teaching of reading skills and writing skills. The sessions in both groups are run on a daily basis by a specially trained teaching assistant and takes 20 minutes over a ten week period. Pupils in group 3 are not given any extra sessions and are taught as usual.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Not provided at time of registration
Where is the study run from?
188 schools in England (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
December 2014 to September 2016
Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Mr Nico Jabin
Mr Nico Jabin
NatCen Social Research
35 Northampton Square
A three-arm cluster-randomised controlled trial of two variants of Switch-on, an intensive reading intervention, delivered to 7-8 year-old pupils that did not reach the required reading level at the end of Key Stage 1
Pupils participating in Switch-on will have better reading outcomes than equivalent pupils receiving business-as-usual support for their reading. The main hypothesis will either compare the two interventions jointly against the control, or, if a preliminary analysis indicates a difference in effect between the two interventions, separately.
National Centre for Social Research Ethics Committee, 31/07/2015
Interventional three-arm cluster randomised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details to request a patient information sheet
Low reading skills among 7-8 year old pupils
Switch-on is an intensive ten-week literacy intervention targeted at children not demonstrating age-expected levels at primary school. It aims to enable children to ‘participate more fully in the classroom by becoming more confident, active and independent readers, who can use a range of effective reading strategies in order to achieve their full reading potential’ (Nottinghamshire County Council Switch-on training manual). Switch-on is delivered by specially trained teaching assistants (TAs) in daily 20-minute sessions.
Participating schools are randomly allocated to one of three groups:
Group 1: Participants take part in the "Switch-on Reading" program, which involves reading exercises only, taught by trained teaching assistants (TAs).
Group 2: Participants take part in the "Switch-on Reading and writing" program, which involves reading and writing exercises, taught by trained teaching assistants (TAs).
Group 3: Participants receive no intervention for the duration of the study.
At the end of the intervention period, participants undertake the Hodder Group Reading Test to test their reading skills.
Primary outcome measure
Reading skills, measured through the Hodder Group Reading Test (HGRT) at the end of the intervention period
Secondary outcome measures
No secondary outcome measures
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Pupils in Year 3 (aged 7-8 years)
2. Reading age at the end of Key Stage 1 fell short of expected standards (according to teacher assessment)
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
Based in schools implementing a whole-school Reading Recovery (another intensive reading intervention)
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
NatCen Social Research
35 Northampton Square
Education Endowment Foundation
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
The trial results are expected to be available in September 2016.
IPD sharing statement
1. Type of data stored: Anonymised pupil level participant data, including: pupil month of birth; gender; FSM status; allocation to treatment or control group; treatment dose; pre-intervention test description and outcome; post-intervention test description, date and outcome; and school level demographic info (on percentage of pupils with SEN, FSM status, EAL, school type, urban/rural location)
2. Repository name: the Education Endowment Foundation’s archive (which is managed by the Fischer Family Trust)
3. Timing for availability: Requests to the Education Endowment Foundation from August 2017 onwards
4. Whether consent from participants was obtained: parental consent was obtained
5. Comments on data anonymization: data set is anonymised
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Stored in repository
Basic results (scientific)