The EEF has published an evaluation of Fresh Start, a phonics intervention that seeks to help pupils at risk of falling behind their peers in literacy.
The study in 10 schools in England looked at 433 Year 7 pupils who had not achieved National Curriculum Level 4b or above. Pupils were allocated to intervention and control groups and those who participated in Fresh Start were removed from regular English lessons for an hour three times a week.
Pupils who used Fresh Start made an estimated three months’ extra progress in literacy. The effect size was moderate (+0.24) and the EEF judged the evidence strength as moderate. Pupils who received free school meals showed the same effect size (+0.24), but the smaller numbers of participants in the subgroup made this finding less robust.
According to the EEF, all 10 schools in the study plan to continue using Fresh Start.