E4I focus on Switch-on

Posted on 30 May 2018

The intervention we will be looking at this week from Evidence4Impact is Switch-on. Switch-on currently sits within Nottinghamshire County Council. The intervention has been developed by Jose Coles and Paula Burrell and is delivered by a network of national trainers.


Switch-on has been rated as ‘moderate’ for secondary reading, but ‘no impact’ for primary reading. This lets educators know that the intervention has a moderate chance of improving pupils’ outcomes in reading at secondary level if it is implemented as designed.

Switch-on is a one-to-one literacy intervention for struggling readers from KS1 to KS3. The purpose of the intervention is to achieve functional literacy for as many pupils as possible, and so to close the reading achievement gap for vulnerable children working below age-expected levels. It is led by trained teaching and support assistants, delivered daily in 20 minute one-to-one sessions and made up of alternate reading and writing sessions.

The Education Endowment Foundation ran a project in 2013 investigating the effectiveness of Switch-on Reading, which found it to be effective for weak and disadvantaged readers at the stage of transition to secondary school. The study found an effect size of +0.24 for secondary reading.

The EEF funded a second trial to test whether Switch-on would have an impact using the type of delivery model needed to make it available to a large number of schools. The training for the TAs was delivered by a team of trainers, rather than the original developers. In this trial participating pupils made no additional progress in reading compared to pupils in control schools. This could be due to the change in delivery approach, of the difference in pupils’ age to the earlier trial.

The EEF and Switch-on are now exploring whether it is possible to develop and test a model that is deliverable in a large number of schools whilst retaining more of the key elements of the original intervention.

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