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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Future Foundations Summer School

A research project of the School of Education.


The project being evaluated is a randomised controlled trial of a summer school programme conducted on three sites in the UK. There is some evidence of a summer learning loss in the UK, especially for disadvantaged children as they move from primary to secondary school. One proposal to address this is the provision of summer holiday schools for potentially disadvantaged pupils who are reaching the end of their primary schooling. Future Foundations developed and conducted a four week academic summer in August 2013. 


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Future Foundations Summer School (£93390.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)


The aims of the programme were to transform the future for pupils in the year 5 and 6 age group from disadvantaged backgrounds by offering small group academic tuition and the opportunity to take part in a wide range of enrichment activities. The academic content of the intervention focused on attainment in literacy and numeracy.


The programme is loosely based on the US BELL Summer School and BELL Accelerated Learning programmes, and is more closely associated with a pilot study of a programme conducted by Future Foundations in the UK in 2012. All three have evaluated their work as a success, and there are indeed many indicators of success in terms of satisfaction and attitudinal measures. However, none has yet convincingly demonstrated a beneficial impact on student learning for the year 5 and 6 age group, as assessed by formal testing.


From the School of Education