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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Fresh Start

A research project of the School of Education.


The project is evaluation of a phonics programme called Fresh Start. The evaluation will be conducted as a co-operative venture between independent evaluators and schools themselves. 


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Fresh Start (£39000.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)


The project therefore has two objectives. It is to some extent a traditional evaluation of a promising intervention, seeking evidence of whether Fresh Start (Ruth Miskin) works to enhance reading ability over and above standard treatments. And it will also provide evidence on whether schools are capable of undertaking small independent trials that can be aggregated to provide solid evidence for any intervention. NGRT is used as assessment measure pre and post. The primary outcome measure will be the difference in the gain score between the two arms of the trial, expressed as an effect size, where the gain is the average difference between individual scores on tests A and B. Analysis will be by cluster. Then the results will be meta-analysed for the aggregated trial.


The four trials are being led by Harlow Education Consortium, Withernsea High School, Ercall Wood Technology College and Bridgwater High School and all are working with at least one other school. Each trial is being run as a randomised controlled trial and the results will be aggregated.


From the School of Education