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Primary education

Our aim is to improve primary education outcomes for children. We fund research and interventions that help to understand the factors affecting educational opportunity and identify how educational disadvantage can be addressed.

Our work in primary education (ages 4-11) explores the acquisition of skills and capabilities, such as oral language and communication, literacy and numeracy skills, digital skills and social and emotional development.

We also fund research designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning. This includes exploration of different pedological approaches, the shape and role of assessment and the nature of school effectiveness and improvement.

We want to help address the shortage of teachers through funding research that examines the factors affecting recruitment, retention and professional development.

Educational disadvantage is a theme across all our work – we want to understand the prevalence of different forms of disadvantage faced by children at risk of falling behind in their learning or being locked into trajectories of low achievement.

 

Our team


  • Eleanor Ireland
    Programme Head, Education
  • Programme Head, Education

  • Director, Education

Our impact in primary education


  • Ofsted are now assessing schools according to how well they support summer-born children after Dr Claire Crawford’s research revealed the extent to which the difference in educational outcomes between children born at different times of the year continues to affect them throughout their lives. In addition, local authorities are now required to make places available for children to start school in the September after they turn four.

  • The Education Endowment Foundation’s guidance on making the best use of teaching assistance incorporates recommendations from Professor Peter Blatchford’s research, which has also informed the development and introduction of Education and Health Care Plans for children with special educational needs.

  • Our report by Professor Stephen Gorard on parental involvement interventions informed the development of the Sutton Trust’s Parental Engagement Fund which aimed to identify what works to engage parents, improve the home learning environment and support child development. Two of the interventions identified have gone on to large-scale EEF trials.

Primary education projects

In progress

Education | 2020 – 2022

Competitive effects of free schools on student outcomes in neighbouring schools

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Two young girls being taught fractions and decimals, learning from a school workbook together
In progress

Education | 2020 – 2021

Teaching fractions and decimals to children aged 3 to 11

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Teenage-pupil-wearing-woolly-hat-writes-on-whiteboard-The-influence-of-headteachers-on-their-schools-PROJ
In progress

Education | 2020 – 2022

The influence of headteachers on their schools

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In progress

Education | 2019 – 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

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In progress

Education | 2019 – 2021

‘Intractable’ schools: can an Ofsted judgment prevent sustainable improvement?

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In progress

Education | 2019 – 2021

Composite classes, class size and human capital accumulation

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In progress

Education | 2019 – 2020

Teaching grammar in primary schools: an evaluation of Englicious

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In progress

Education | 2018 – 2021

Identifying children at risk of reading disorder

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In progress

Education | Welfare | 2018 – 2019

Impact of the universal infant free school meal policy

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In progress

Education | Welfare | 2017 – 2020

Pupil special educational needs and disabilities: identification, access and patterns of mental health support

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In progress

Education | 2017 – 2020

Educational attainment of children in need & children in care

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Reported

Education | 2016 – 2019

A follow up survey of break and lunch times in schools

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Latest in primary education

See all

We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.

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