Brilliant Club impact study

The Brilliant Club impact study found that the English Mastery programme had a significant positive effect - equivalent to four months' additional progress.

Here is an overview of the findings - you can read the full report here.

The English Mastery curriculum and teacher development programme is a comprehensive intervention that aims to raise attainment for all pupils in key stage 3 English. The programme aims to deepen and accelerate students’ reading and writing progress by exposing them to a cumulative, knowledge-rich curriculum and by training subject teachers on the specific curriculum topics. Compared to traditional curricular, more challenging texts are studied and greater emphasis is placed on vocabulary acquisition, cultural capital, background knowledge and explicit grammar instruction. This report summarises the results of an independent evaluation conducted by the Research and Impact Department at The Brilliant Club. A total of 1700 pupils were involved in this evaluation. Of these, 851 pupils in seven schools received the intervention and completed a GL Assessment’s Progress Test in English (PTE) once a year over the duration of the intervention in Year 7, 8 and 9 (treatment group). A group of 849 pupils in seven other schools completed the PTE in Year 9 but received no intervention (control group). Prior attainment(Key Stage 2 reading scores) and demographic data (age, gender, FSM and EAL status) were collected for both groups of pupils.

This report includes three sets of analyses: 

1) A cross-sectional comparison of Year 9 English scores between treatment and control groups to examine the overall effects of the intervention

2) A longitudinal analyses on progression in the treatment group and a comparison of expected progression with national data in both groups

3) Subgroup analyses to explore whether the intervention had differential effects on pupils with different characteristics.

Key Findings

  • The English Mastery Programme had a significant positive effect on pupils’ English scores, regardless of pupils’ prior attainment and demographic characteristics.
  • Pupils in the treatment group scored on average 4.32 percentage points higher than the control group. The effect size of the intervention was medium (d’=0.28), equivalent to four months’ additional progress (Education Endowment Foundation, 2012).
  • Overall, the intervention had similar effects across three years. It was particularly beneficial for pupils with lower prior attainment, and marginally more effective for non-Free School Meals (FSM) pupils.
  • The intervention had similar effects for girls and boys, with girls consistently outperforming boys in all three consecutive years.