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Durham University

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Development of the Teaching and Learning Toolkit

A research project of the School of Education.


This project is being run in conjunction with CEM at Durham University with total funding of £138,808.

The project has two strands:

  1. To update and extend the Sutton Trust/ Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Pupil Premium Toolkit with new evidence from research evidence as this becomes available.
  2. To undertake an overarching evaluation (using meta-analysis) of the impact of EEF projects disadvantaged pupils which can support a wider cost/benefit analysis of different research based approaches.

The research therefore aims to develop the methods used in the creation of of the Pupil Premium Tookit, initially funded by the Sutton Trust to establish, develop and maintain an accessible web-based summary of research evidence for schools looking for information to help them decide how to allocate their resources, to support the learning of disadvantaged pupils in particular.

It also aims to develop a methodology to synthesise the emerging findings from EEF projects so that they can feed into further updates of the Toolkit.


Publications and impact

Higgins, S.E. (2013) What Can We Learn From Research? in D. Waugh & S. Neaum Beyond Early Reading (Critical Teaching Series) St Albans: Critical Publishing Ltd.

Higgins, S.E. (2013) Matching Style of Learning in J. Hattie & E M. Anderman (Eds) International Guide to Student Achievement (Educational Psychology Handbook) pp 337-438 London: Routledge

Higgins, S. (2013) Self regulation and learning: evidence from meta-analysis and from classrooms. In D. Whitebread, N. Mercer, C. Howe & A. Tolmie (Eds.), Self-regulation and dialogue in primary classrooms. British Journal of Educational Psychology Monograph Series II: Psychological Aspects of Education – Current Trends: Number 10. Pp 111-126 Leicester: British Psychological Society

Higgins, S., Katsipataki, M., Kokotsaki, D., Coleman, R., Major, L.E., & Coe, R. (2013). The Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit. London: Education Endowment Foundation. Available at:

Higgins, S., Xiao, Z., & Katsipataki, M. (2012). The Impact of Digital Technology on Learning: A Summary for the Education Endowment Foundation London: EEF. Available at:

In March 2013, the Cabinet Office announced the creation of a ‘What Works’ network for social policy, to inform decision-making on £200 billion of public spending. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Sutton Trust were designated as the national ‘What Works’ centre for educational attainment and the Toolkit forms the heart of this work. The Toolkit was cited as an exemplary model of the presentation of clear, high-quality evidence which the four new centres (in crime, economic growth, ageing, and early intervention) should aim to emulate. The Toolkit has also had a direct influence on policy spending with £100M funding for Summer Schools for disadvantaged pupils in 2012 and another £50M committed for 2014. This policy was developed by the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office who used the evidence about the costs and benefits of interventions in the Toolkit to identify the focus on summer school provision.

Ofsted have also cited the evidence summarized in the Toolkit as influencing their judgments about effective use of the Pupil Premium. This has already had a significant effect on schools, as Ofsted have responsibility for reporting on how effectively schools are spending their Pupil Premium allocation. Since 2011, a significant number of English Local Authorities have also endorsed the Toolkit, all linking to the Toolkit through their websites and online support for schools. The Toolkit is also recommended on the Welsh Government’s ‘Learning Wales’ website for effective allocation of funds from the Pupil Deprivation Grant and the Toolkit was reviewed by the Research and Information Service in a briefing for the Northern Ireland Assembly’s discussion of the Pupil Premium in England.

The influence of national policy, Local Authorities and Ofsted has supported wider uptake by schools to guide their spending, their teaching priorities and learning opportunities provided to disadvantaged children and young people when allocating their Pupil Premium funds. A representative survey of schools commissioned by the Sutton Trust, and undertaken by NFER in 2012, and repeated in 2013, asked schools about their priorities in spending the Pupil Premium and indicated that nearly half of secondary schools and about a third of primaries used the Toolkit to inform their spending decisions about the £1.875 billion allocated to support disadvantaged pupils. This level of take up in schools is corroborated by the ‘Evaluation of the Pupil Premium’ report by Manchester and Newcastle Universities for the Department for Education.


From the School of Education

From other departments

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