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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Third Space Learning

A research project of the School of Education.


This project is led by York University with a total funding of £100,048 of which the School of Education, Durham funding is £11,076

The Education Endowment Foundation has funded the University of York and Durham University to evaluate the Online Maths Tuition intervention being delivered by Third Space Learning (TSL) and supported by Nesta between 2014 and 2016.

This intervention will provide one to one support for pupils during sessions lasting one hour. Class teachers identify areas of development for each pupil and select modules which help to address these needs. Online sessions are available throughout the school day, providing teachers the flexibility to engage with the intervention. The intervention is delivered via online tutors trained in the UK National Curriculum and based in India. All sessions are recorded and teachers have access to all recordings for their pupils, thus enabling teachers to monitor their pupil’s progress and identify any other needs.

The intervention aims to help improve pupils’ maths skills while in their final year at primary school (Year 6), especially the maths skills of pupils who are currently working at KS2 Level 3 or an insecure KS2 Level 4.

TSL will be responsible for implementing and delivering the Online Maths Tuition intervention.

Research Question for independent evaluation

What is the effectiveness of the Online Maths Tuition programme compared with “business as usual” on the maths skills of participating children?


This will be a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial. Approximately 60 schools will be randomly allocated to be offered the intervention either in 2014/5 (intervention group) or in 2015/6 (acting as the control group during 2014/15). Teachers at all participating primary schools will be asked to identify 10 Year 5 pupils, plus 3 reserve pupils towards the end of the academic year who would benefit from online tutoring. Teachers will be encouraged to target pupils who are predicted to achieve KS2 level 3 or an insecure KS2 level 4 in maths at the end of Year 6.


We will use KS2 maths scores for our primary outcome with KS1 maths scores used as a baseline measure. KS2 English score will be used as a secondary outcome measure. 
Long term outcomes will be collected through the National Pupil Database


From the School of Education