Education Endowment Foundation/Unbound Philanthropy

EAL Randomised Controlled Trials

Project Aim

In 2014, Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Unbound Philanthropy and The Bell Foundation commissioned a practitioner-focused research project to identify the most at risk EAL learners in England and to understand which interventions have the most potential to support those pupils.

Following the publication of this ground-breaking research, EEF, Unbound Philanthropy and The Bell Foundation launched a £2million fund to test strategies that boost attainment for EAL pupils through a series of large-scale Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs).

Project Partners

This project is co-funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Unbound Philanthropy and The Bell Foundation.

EEF is an independent charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.

Unbound Philanthropy is a private grant making foundation dedicated to ensuring that migrants, refugees, and their families are treated with respect and dignity; are able to contribute fully in their new communities; and can ultimately thrive in a society that is comfortable with the diversity and opportunity that immigration brings.

About the Project

Three projects have been identified for RCTs and will be tested and independently evaluated in hundreds of schools across the UK. The results will help to build an evidence base of the most effective ways to improve the attainment of those groups of EAL pupils most at risk of underachievement. The results will also be added to the Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit, a resource used by almost half of all school leaders which offers schools an accessible summary of educational research to inform their decision-making.

Learning Unlimited’s Family Skills programme, run in partnership with the Family Learning Local Authority Group (FLLAG) and the Campaign for Learning, will focus on parental engagement to improve the literacy skills of reception class pupils with EAL and their parents. Parents will be helped to develop their own literacy and language skills so they feel more confident about supporting their child’s learning at home.

Additional grants to Challenge Partners and Enfield Council will fund trials of two different programmes that train teachers to support their EAL pupils in the classroom:

  • Through three days of training, EAL in the mainstream classroom (delivered by Challenge Partners) helps teachers of Year 10 classes to plan lessons with EAL pupils in mind, develop specific resources for these pupils and differentiate between pupils with different language skills.
  • Integrating English - LILAC (delivered by Enfield Council), gives four days of training to Years 5 and 6 teachers to enable them to teach a functional approach to linguistics and grammar.


Research and university partners