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Durham University

Research & business

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Switch On

A research project of the School of Education.


The project evaluated was a randomised controlled trial of an intervention called Switch On which has adapted a long-standing New Zealand intervention called Reading Recovery for use with Year 7. The intervention involves daily short individual sessions for 12 weeks. Here Switch On was offered to Year 7 pupils eligible for the pupil premium who did not achieve Level 4 English at Key Stage 2 (KS2).

The trial has successfully completed and the findings are in process of publication. The overall result was an effect size of +0.24, based on the pooled standard deviation of the gain score for both groups. All sub-groups (by sex, first language, ethnicity, SEN, FSM, and score at the outset) had positive results for the intervention. The intervention was especially effective for SEN pupils and those with low scores at the outset.


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Switch On (£18175.31 from Education Endowment Foundation)


The intervention was generally well-conducted and the pupils seemed very happy with their reading sessions. Staff need training and then some monitoring to ensure that they adhere to the protocol.


From the School of Education