The Literacy Octopus reaches out to help primary schools

A major new initiative will help teachers improve pupils’ Key Stage 2 literacy through the exploration of a range of evidence-based approaches based on the latest research findings. Funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Department for Education and the London Schools Excellence Fund, the Literacy Octopus project will offer resources and support schools in their literacy development while measuring the impact of the different approaches on pupil attainment.

Schools that participate will be randomly allocated free support or materials via one of several different approaches, all designed to improve literacy by drawing on research evidence. Activities range from booklets and magazines outlining effective strategies, to more active support through CPD sessions and online help.

The NFER is currently recruiting the schools and will carry out the evaluation. Six partner organisations will deliver the support to schools: the Institute for Effective Education (at the University of York); Campaign for Learning in partnership with Train Visual; the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (part of Durham University); and NatCen with researchED.

A baseline survey with a small number of schools is being carried out this term. Different groups of schools will receive varying types of evidence-based literacy support and/or materials in the spring and early summer term of 2015, and staff will complete a follow-up survey in spring 2016.

Schools wishing to take part should go to, and use the online ‘register your interest’ tool. Please pass this information on to any primary schools that you represent or have links with.