Grammar for Writing: A Randomised Controlled Trial Study

Frequently asked questions


Who is eligible for the trial study?

Schools are eligible for this trial study if they have BOTH:

  • At least 29% FSM/Ever6 in the school
  • At least 20 students in Year 6 (September 2016 cohort)

What if we don’t have 29% FSM?

The requirement for 29% FSM/Ever6 has been set by the funder EEF. However those schools which have marginally less than 29% FSM/Ever6 should get in touch with the Exeter team.

We have three Year 6 teachers – are all required to take part in the trial study?

Yes, all Year 6 teachers within a school are required to take part.

This will ensure all Year 6 students within a school will receive the same intervention.

What does the CPD include?

The trial study will involve Year 6 teachers participating in 4 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) days which will: introduce the teaching approach, develop teachers’ grammatical subject knowledge, and familiarise teachers with the two teaching units for the trial study. 

Where is the CPD?

There are likely to be 3 venues:

  • a convenient location for the cluster of schools in the NE
  • a similar convenient venue for schools in the NW
  • a London location

When is the CPD?

As the CPD will be repeated regionally to minimize travel needed, the precise dates for the CPD days cannot be confirmed yet. However they are likely to be spread through the year, with the first one in September 2016 and the remaining ones likely to be in November 2016, February and May 2017.

Are there any travel expenses provided for the CPD days?

A modest contribution will be available for travel costs to and from the venues.

Who will be delivering the CPD?

Professor Debra Myhill – Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, Director of the Centre for Research in Writing. Debra’s research interests centre upon: composing processes in writing; the role of grammar and metalinguistic understanding in writing; the relationship between talk and writing.

Dr Susan JonesSenior Lecturer, Director of Doctoral Programmes. Sue’s research interests also focus on the role of grammar and metalinguistic understanding in writing, as well as gender issues in writing pedagogy.

Rebecca Cosgrave and Jenny Core from Babcock LDP Primary Literacy team based in Exeter.

Who decides whether a school is a Comparison or Intervention group?

Schools participating in the trial study will be RANDOMLY allocated by the York University team in July?

What is involved if we are an ‘Intervention school’?

Each school will pay £500 towards the CPD and teaching materials. The year 6 teacher/s will participate in 4 CPD days and will need to teach two fully-prepared units of work developed by the Exeter team; a fictional narrative unit (4 weeks) and a persuasive writing unit (2 weeks). The school will also need to send by the end of June 2016 their ‘end of term data’ on their Year 5 cohort who will be starting year 6 in September 2016. 

What is involved if we are a ‘Comparison school’?

Each school will receive a contribution of £500 towards buying in the CPD, with a member of the Exeter team coming to your school to deliver the CPD. The total cost for the 2/3 CPD days will be around £2000. Schools in areas where there are a number of Comparison schools can share the cost of this training. The school will also need to send by the end of June 2016 their ‘end of term data’ on their Year 5 cohort who will be starting year 6 in September 2016.

Do schools have to sign any forms for taking part?

All participating schools, both from the Intervention group and the Comparison group, will have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which specifies all responsibilities and pupil data required for the trial study.

Who is funding this trial study?

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent grant-making charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential and make the most of their talents.