Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
The role of the home environment and parents essential during the first five years of life if children are to do well in school and in later life. The Peep Learning Together Programme (run by Peeple) teaches parents about how children learn and develop, helping them build on what they are already doing at home to support their child’s education. The Programme consists of an initial home visit, and 20 one-hour sessions delivered by a trained practitioner to groups of parents and children attending the sessions together in nursery settings. The aim of this study is to find out whether the Peep programme works in improving young children’s early language and early reading skills.
Who can participate?
Any school in England with a nursery unit can take part in the study and any parent with a child aged 3-4 years who attends the nursery.
What does the study involve?
The study is made up of two parts. In the first part of the study, participating schools are randomly allocated to one of two groups. Those in the first group continue as normal for the duration of the study. Those in the second group deliver the 20-week Peep Learning Together Programme to parents and their 3-4-year-old child for two school terms. The programme involves learning about social and emotional development, communication and language, literacy, math skills, and health and physical development. At the start of the school term before the programme is delivered and then again at the end of the school year, children in both groups have their language and reading skills assessed.
In the second part of the study, parents and school staff who received the programme are interviewed in order to collect their views in order to find out what success and challenges schools faced when delivering Peep.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The potential wider benefit of taking part in the study is contributing improving language and literacy development in young children. There are no notable risks involved with participating.
Where is the study run from?
1. The Peeple Centre (UK)
2. Queen’s University Belfast (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
January 2017 to December 2018
Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Dr Sarah Miller
Peep Learning Together Study Protocol 11Jan17 FINAL
A cluster randomised controlled trial evaluation of the impact of the Peep Learning Together Programme on parents and their nursery school child's language and literacy skills
1. The Peep Learning Together Programme (LTP) improves communication, language and early literacy outcomes of three to four-year-old children
2. The Peep LTP improves children's social and emotional development
3. The Peep LTP improves parent outcomes including: the home learning environment, parenting confidence and parenting stress
4. The programme works differently for children from different socio-economic backgrounds
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work Research Ethics Committee, Queen's University Belfast, 23/03/2017
Cluster randomised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
Participating schools are randomised to the control or intervention group. Settings in the control group will not deliver the Peep programme but will instead continue with their usual classroom practice (business as usual). Settings in the intervention group will deliver the 20-week Peep Learning Together Programme to parents and their 3-4-year-old child for two school terms, between January and May 2018 (5 months).
The Peep Learning Together Programme (LTP) is based on the Opportunities, Recognition, Interaction, and Modeling (ORIM) framework. The Programme aims to improve parenting skills and the quality of the home learning environment in the early years and in this trial will target parents of three to four year old’s. It teaches parents about how children learn and develop, to help them build on what they are already doing at home to support their child’s education (home learning environment). It contains comprehensive materials for practitioners which provide background theory and clear guidance for practice as well as resources for parents.
The Programme is delivered to parents/carers together with their children. For the purposes of this project, the Programme will consist of an initial home visit, and 20 one-hour sessions delivered over two terms, with groups of parents and children attending the sessions together in nursery settings. Peeple will provide two days of training for nursery practitioners to help them work with parents.
The training covers three elements:
1. The theory on which the Programme is based, and its existing evidence-base
2. The Programme structure and content
3. The skills and attributes needed to deliver the Programme, and the practicalities of Programme delivery, including a practice delivery session.
The Programme and resources cover five topics:
1. Social and emotional development
2. Communication and language
3. Early literacy
4. Early math
5. Health and physical development.
Each session focuses on a particular topic related to children’s development and includes discussion, songs and stories, as well as advice and approaches for parents to adopt at home. For this evaluation, the delivery will focus on social and emotional development, language and communication, and early literacy development, and additional mentoring support will be given to the practitioners to maintain quality (approximately one day a month).
The evaluation team will monitor and assess usual practice in all settings by means of a baseline and post-test survey (six months post baseline). Outcome data for all intervention and control settings will be collected at baseline (October 2017) and post-test (May 2018) only; no follow up data collection is planned within this trial. Settings will be allocated to intervention and control using minimization (using the programme Minim) to create groups that are balanced by level of deprivation, a covariate likely to be related to the primary outcome.
Primary outcome measure
1. Child language and communication skills will be measured using one of the three following tests: Renfrew Action Picture Test; British Picture Vocabulary Scale; or the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Preschool 2 at immediate post-test (May 2018)
2. Early literacy development will be measured using Concepts about Print at baseline (October 2017) and at immediate post-test (May 2018)
Secondary outcome measures
1. Children's social and emotional learning will be measured using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ3) at baseline (October 2017) and at immediate post-test (May 2018) and the Brief Early Years Skills and Support Index (BESSI) at immediate post-test (May 2018)
1. Quality of the home learning environment will be measured using the Home Learning Environment (HLE) at immediate post-test (May 2018)
2. Parenting skills will be measured using the play and enjoyment, empathy and understanding, self-acceptance, learning and knowledge subscales of the Tool to Measure Parental Self Efficacy (TOPSE) at immediate post-test (May 2018)
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Not previously delivered the Peep Learning Together Programme
2. Located within the 50% most disadvantaged Super Output Areas (SOA)
3. Ideally have a good or outstanding Ofsted rating
4. Willing to be randomly assigned to condition at the level of the setting
5. Willing to engage with the intervention and implement it with parents and children
6. Able to recruit 10-12 families
7. Willing to administer pre-test measures and provide child background information to the evaluation team.
All parents of children aged three to four years in participating EY settings
Target number of participants
Approximately 1500 parents and 1500 children (in total across 150 settings).
Participant exclusion criteria
Early Years settings
Parents with a child outside the 3-4 year old age range.
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
The Peeple Centre
P.O. Box 1404
Trial participating centre
Queen’s University Belfast
School of Social Science, Education and Social Work 69-71 University Street
Queen's University Belfast
Education Endowment Foundation
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Planned publication in a high impact peer reviewed journal to be published by December 2019.
IPD Sharing plan:
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study will be stored in a non-publically available repository. The Education Endowment Foundation (educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk) is using the FFT (fft.org.uk) to collect and store the data.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Stored in repository
Basic results (scientific)