Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Family SKILLS is a 30-hour family literacy programme targeted at Reception year pupils with English as an additional language and their parents or carers. It aims to support families in developing their children’s English and literacy skills by equipping parents with greater knowledge of how their children are taught to read, developing parents’ English language skills and acquainting parents with strategies and activities to support their children’s literacy development at home. The aim of this study is to assess whether the programme has a positive impact on the literacy progress of Reception year pupils in UK primary schools, aged 4-5 years old, who have English as an additional language (EAL).
Who can participate?
Reception Year pupils attending UK primary schools, who have been identified by the school as having EAL, and their parents/carers.
What does the study involve?
Participating schools are randomly allocated to one of two groups. Those in group one are allocated to the “Family SKILLS” intervention group, and the Family SKILLS programme is offered in this school. Schools in group 2 are allocated to the control, and continue business as usual. All children from both groups are assessed via a literacy test about 8-9 months later.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Not provided at time of registration
Where is the study run from?
155 schools in England (UK)
When is study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
March 2016 to July 2017
Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Family SKILLS trial
Cluster-randomised controlled trial of Family SKILLS, a family literacy programme for families with English as an Additional Language (EAL), delivered to 4-5-year-old pupils with EAL and their parents/carers
Pupils whose families participate in Family SKILLS will have better literacy outcomes than equivalent pupils receiving business-as-usual support in reception year.
National Centre for Social Research Ethics Committee, 29/04/2016
Interventional two-arm cluster randomised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Low literacy among 4-5 year old pupils with English as an additional language
Family SKILLS is a 30-hour family literacy programme targeted at the parents of Reception year children with English as an Additional Language (EAL), with children attending some sessions. Family SKILLS aims to support families in developing their children’s English and literacy skills by equipping parents with greater knowledge of how their children are taught to read, developing parents’ English language skills and acquainting parents with strategies and activities to support their children’s literacy development at home. These new skills and knowledge should allow parents to grow in confidence and engage more closely in their children’s learning. Ultimately, this should lead to improvements in literacy among children. Family SKILLS will delivered by specially trained family literacy trainers in weekly sessions. The number of weeks and duration of sessions will be decided between the trainers and schools, depending on the length of school terms and room availability. The sessions will take place after school within the school campus. Sessions will cover various topics including the benefits of bilingualism, oral traditions and home literacy, reading and phonics, learning through play, and schools and education in the UK.
Schools will be randomly allocation to two intervention conditions:
1. Schools in Group 1 (intervention schools) will receive the Family SKILLS programme between January and April 2017
2. Schools in Group 2 (control schools) will continue with ‘business as usual’. The process study will explore what BAU includes
Pre- and post-intervention assessments will be carried out in October 2016 and June/July 2017 using the CEM BASE progress test, provided by the University of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM).
Primary outcome measure
Literacy skills, measured through the CEM BASE progress test, provided by the University of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM). Pre-intervention assessments will be carried out in October 2016 and post-intervention assessments will be carried out in June/July 2017.
Secondary outcome measures
Home Literacy Environment, measured using a bespoke parent survey. Pre-surveys will take place in September/October 2016 and post-surveys will take place in May/June 2017.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Pupils in reception year (aged 4-5) an their parents/carers
2. English as an additional language (as defined by the school)
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
Participants not fulfilling inclusion criteria
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 January 2018.
The EEF has commissioned the Fischer Family Trust, in partnership with the Institute of Education (IoE), to manage its data archive. Within a month of the report being published, NatCen will provide a standardised dataset for import into the EEF longitudinal database and anonymised datasets to be submitted to the UK data archive, as well as syntax files and project documentation Data stored will include Pupil identifiers, such as the Pupil Matching Reference retrieved from NPD using UPN, school identifiers, pupil context (gender, month of birth, FSM eligibility), treatment allocation and standardised attainment test data collected for the evaluation. Parental consent for the archiving of data is collected at the start of the trial. Parents who do not consent are still allowed to receive the intervention. For more information, see https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Evaluation/Applying_for_NPD_Data/The_EEF_Data_Archive_-_advice_for_evaluators_(including_consent)_FINAL_MAY_2016.pdf
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Stored in repository
Basic results (scientific)