Achievement for All

Achievement for All (AfA) is a national charity originally established with Department for Education funding – the AfA Schools Programme is a whole-school initiative and the content is bespoke for each school’s specific needs, based on an analysis of its data and perceived issues. However, all schools focus on four elements: leadership; teaching and learning; structured conversations with parents and carers; and wider outcomes (enjoyment and achievement for all pupils in all areas of school life). The activities are decided through regular half-day visits from AfA Achievement Coach to the individual school, but can include reviews of teaching practice, developing CPD or designing extra-curricular services. The programme focuses on a target cohort of underachieving pupils, but aims to improve outcomes for all pupils.

Why are we funding it?

The initial pilot of AfA was independently evaluated. It compared the progress of children with special educational needs (SEND) in AfA schools with the progress of SEND pupils nationally. This found that AfA cohorts had higher rates of progress than other SEND pupils, though the effect sizes were often small. This is promising data and our trial will test the programme using a more robust methodology.

Primary schools in the North East will be encouraged to take part in this trial as part of our North East Primary Literacy Campaign, co-funded with the Northern Rock Foundation. Read more about the campaign here.

How are we evaluating it?

A team from Manchester University, led by Neil Humphrey, has been appointed as the independent evaluator. The design is a two-armed randomised controlled trial involving 140 primary schools, with

70 schools receiving AfA and 70 acting as a business as usual control group. Schools will identify vulnerable learners in Years 4 and 5 and the wellbeing of these children will be assessed through the project, allowing us to see whether AfA impacts on the resilience and engagement of these pupils.

Achievement for All will assign coaches to the 70 intervention schools and begin working formally with them from January 2017. They will continue working with schools for 2 years and the impact of the programme will be assessed using Key Stage 2 assessments taken in summer 2018 and the following year, as well as an assessment of social outcomes.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in Spring 2020.