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How effective is a summer school for catch-up attainment in English and maths?

Gorard, S.; Siddiqui, N.; See, B.H.

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The current study is an efficacy trial of a summer school programme, targeted at literacy and numeracy catch-up for pupils in years 5 and 6. During the summer holidays the intervention provided extra schooling in English and maths along with a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. The programme developers recruited 435 pupils who volunteered to participate in the programme and agreed to be randomised into treatment and control group. The randomisation resulted in 239 pupils participating in the treatment group and 196 pupils in the control group. The pupils were assessed on Progress in English (PiE) and Progress in maths (PiM) standardised tests after four weeks of the programme. The overall result for English was an ‘effect’ size of +0.17, with FSM-eligible pupils making even more progress. The effect size in maths was 0, with FSM-eligible pupils making even less progress. As a programme to assist disadvantaged children with their preparation for transition to secondary school, the intervention showed some promise, and most pupils clearly enjoyed their time at the summer school. Parents appreciated the provision of free academic help and enrichment activities over the long summer holiday. But despite considerable efforts from the developers, they recruited fewer than half the intended target of pupils, and attendance once the programme had started reduced the number further. This, added to the cost, suggests that summer schools are not the most effective way to improve attainment for struggling pupils.


Gorard, S., Siddiqui, N., & See, B. (2015). How effective is a summer school for catch-up attainment in English and maths?. International Journal of Educational Research, 73, 1-11.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 6, 2015
Publication Date Aug 5, 2015
Deposit Date Jul 10, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 5, 2017
Journal International Journal of Educational Research
Print ISSN 0883-0355
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 73
Pages 1-11
Keywords Summer school, Disadvantage, English, Maths, Evaluation.


Accepted Journal Article (303 Kb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International journal of educational research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International journal of educational research, 73, 2015, 1-11, 10.1016/j.ijer.2015.07.003.

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