Intervention details

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Success For All

Strong for Primary reading
UK Evaluated in the UK

Intervention description

Success for All (SFA) is a whole-school intervention which provides extensive staff training and materials to improve all aspects of school organisation and functioning but with the spotlight on literacy. The focus is on early and intensive intervention to detect and resolve reading problems as early as possible.

In the foundation stage, the programme provides a whole day theme-based curriculum focusing on language and literacy development. In years 1 to 6, children are placed in ability groups across years for daily 90-minute reading lessons. These lessons follow a set structure, are fast-paced and emphasise cooperative learning, phonics and metacognitive skills.

Children are formally assessed every eight weeks and reading groups adjusted accordingly. Additionally, pupils identified as struggling readers receive daily twenty minute one-to-one tutoring sessions from a trained teacher or teaching assistant, utilising the class materials and teaching additional metacognitive skills. Priority is given to Year 1 pupils to target struggling readers as early as possible and thereby prevent the need for later remediation.

Staffing requirements

Trained teaching assistants can also act as reading lesson teachers to enable smaller group sizes.

The Success for All programme also involves establishing a Family Support Team, which is designed to work with parents to help ensure their child’s success. The Team (comprised of a Headteacher or deputy, facilitator, learning mentors and sometimes a school governor) aims to raise attendance, reduce lateness and promote parental involvement.

Professional development/training

In year one staff will receive up to 16 days support for a full primary programme, this includes set up days, training days and at least three days working with the school leadership team.

In year two, staff will receive ten days of support. The support then continues for another two years.

Evidence Summary

The Best Evidence Encyclopaedia (2009) rated Success For All Literacy as having strong evidence of effectiveness for beginning reading and struggling readers, and moderate effectiveness for pupils with English as an Additional Language.

The What Works Clearinghouse (2008) found Success For All Literacy to have positive effects on alphabetics, mixed effects for comprehension, and potentially positive effects on general reading achievement.

The Blueprints For Healthy Youth Development review rates Success For All Literacy as a promising programme for impact on academic performance.

Social Programs That Work (2008) identified Success For All Literacy as meeting the Top Tier evidence standard for K-12 (primary) education.

The Education Endowment Foundation recently ran a project which found that Success For All Literacy had some impact on Key Stage 1 literacy.

The studies found a mean effect size of +0.27 for primary reading.

Strong for Primary reading
No. of studies 25
No. of students 17,748
Average effect size +0.27

Key research

The Best Evidence Encyclopaedia found a strong evidence of effectiveness in primary schools.

The Whats Works Clearinghouse found Success For All had positive effects on alphabetics, potentially positive effects on reading fluency, and mixed effects on comprehension and general reading achievement for students in grades K-4.

Social Programs That Works (2008) highlighted as a key finding an improvement in school-wide reading ability in second grade (Year 3) of 25-30% of a grade-level, three years after random assignment.

The Education Endowment Foundation (2017) evaluation focused on the outcomes of 1,767 pupils starting in Reception, and followed them through to the end of Year 1. The effect size was slightly larger for pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) compared to FSM pupils in control schools after two years.

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