Effectiveness of the 1stClass@Number 1 trial

What is the 1stClass@Number 1 trial?

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) have commissioned the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to carry out an evaluation of the effectiveness of the 1stClass@Number 1 (1CN1) intervention delivered by Edge Hill University (EHU). 1CN1 is a mathematics intervention that trains teaching assistants to provide additional maths support to Year 2 pupils who are achieving at around 12 months behind age-related expectations. Schools will be asked to nominate 12 – 16 pupils to be screened for eligibility for the trial. After screening, 8 pupils will be selected to the trial and they will be randomly allocated to either the intervention or control group.

This effectiveness trial will assess the impact of 1CN1 on maths outcomes/attainment for Year 2 children and especially those in receipt of Free School Meals (FSM). The delivery of 1CN1 will take place in the Autumn/Spring terms of 2023/24.

This EEF project is part of a wider DfE funded programme called the Accelerator Fund. The Accelerator Fund aims to increase access to evidence-informed programmes.

 A link to EHU’s privacy notice for 1CN1 can be found here.

Who is conducting the trial?

EEF has commissioned and funded this trial. NFER is conducting the evaluation.

Which schools can take part?

To take part in this trial, schools must:

  • be an Infant or Primary school with children in Year 2, as of 1st September 2023.
  • NOT be taking part in the following EEF-funded programmes in the academic year 2023-24: ARK Mathematics Mastery or Mathematical Reasoning.
  • NOT have a Teaching assistant (TA) currently working in the school who has already completed any 1CN1 training.
  • NOT have delivered 1CN1 since 1st September 2019.
  • nominate a TA and a Link teacher who are able to access face-to-face training in one of the 16 training venues.
  • pay the subsidised training cost of £200 (usual cost is £1,100).

16 training groups will be set up at venues across the UK** and will include some of the 55 Education Investment Areas (EIA). At least 50% of successful schools will be based in the EIA and, in the event applications exceed demand, applications from EIA based schools will be prioritised particularly those with a high FSM percentage. All schools with a high number of FSM pupils in Year 1 during 2022-23 are encouraged to apply.

**venues to be confirmed in March 2023

This is a randomised controlled trial where eligible pupils within each school will be randomly assigned to either the intervention group (receives the 1CN1 programme in addition to normal mathematics lessons) or the control group (receives only normal mathematics lessons). All schools will be committing to:

  • nominating, screening and selecting pupils to participate in the trial (guidance will be provided).
  • providing the nominated pupils’ data (name, DOB, UPN, FSM eligibility) with NFER.
  • administering the Sandwell screening and the baseline Quantitative Reasoning Test (QRT) tests to all nominated pupils (tests to be provided and marked by NFER).
  • confirming with NFER which 8 pupils have been selected after the Sandwell screening test.
  • delivering the intervention to the 4 pupils randomised to the intervention group.
  • completing intervention attendance records for the 4 intervention pupils, as well as information about any other maths support provided to the intervention or control pupils during the trial period (maths intervention record).
  • completing an endpoint QRT assessment test with the 8 pupils participating in the trial.

Timeline for key activities 2023-2024 



January – June 2023

School recruitment – Headteacher commits to taking part in the project and signs MoU.

April - July 2023

NFER contact schools sharing guidance on how to nominate pupils, parent letter and request for pupil data for the 12-16 pupils.

School provides pupil data with NFER - pupil name, DOB, UPN, FSM eligibility and Class name.

NFER share detailed guidance on the selection of final 8 trial pupils along with Sandwell screening guidance.

September 2023

NFER share pupil assessments with schools.

School completes Sandwell and QRT tests and return them back to NFER.

NFER mark the tests and share the results of the Sandwell along with the detailed guidance to support in schools’ selection of 8 pupils for the trial.

Schools confirm 8 participating pupils, link teacher, and teaching assistant with NFER.

October 2023

NFER complete randomisation and notify schools of their pupils’ assignment to control or intervention group.

EHU invoices schools for the subsidised training cost of £200.

November 2023

Teaching Assistant training commences, delivered by EHU followed by 1CN1 delivery with the 4 pupils in the intervention group.

TAs keep attendance records provided by NFER from start of intervention delivery to completion.

NFER conduct TA training observations, lesson observations and reflective interviews in schools from November 2023 – March 2024.

December 2023

EHU Trainer visits intervention schools.

March 2024

Final training day delivered to TAs.

NFER shares online surveys to be completed by the TA and link teacher.

NFER Test Administrators visit schools to complete endpoint testing.

TAs/link teachers return intervention attendance records for the 4 pupils in the intervention groups to NFER, as well as a maths intervention record for the 8 trial pupils.

NFER Researchers will visit case study schools to conduct interviews with TAs/link teachers and focus groups with pupils.

July 2024

Incentive payment of £500 for the evaluation data made to schools by EHU


How will my school and teachers benefit from taking part?

All participating schools will receive the full 1CN1 training and resources package. This will be provided at a reduced cost of £200 (usual cost is £1,100). The payment will include:

  • Full training for the TA and link teacher from the school.
  • An extensive readymade resource pack to support the lessons back in school.
  • An essential visit to the school by the ECC Trainer to support delivery and management of 1CN1.
  • Telephone and email support.
  • Access to the ECC online resources site.

In addition to the above, all schools will:

  • be able to retain the Sandwell testing kit (worth approx £250) after completion of the trial and can use it thereafter to assess pupils by purchasing additional materials.
  • also receive thank you payment of £500 once all required data has been provided to NFER.

The trial aims to provide evidence that will be useful for teachers, departments and schools when making decisions about 1CN1 programme. Your school’s participation will help to strengthen the evidence on the impact it can have on pupils’ attainment and how to robustly evaluate the programme.

By participating in the trial, we hope teachers will learn practical information that improves their maths teaching, benefit from the experiences and results of the trial and help generate new knowledge that can benefit all teachers’ everyday maths lesson decisions.

How will the findings be used?

All participating schools will receive a link to the published report with trial findings and this will also be freely available on the NFER and the EEF websites. 

Who needs to give agreement for participation in the trial?

Schools will join the trial once their headteacher has signed the MoU. Schools will be provided with an information sheet and this is also available here.

We will provide schools with a letter for parents to inform them about the study and their child’s participation. Schools should share the letter with parents/carers of the nominated pupils before providing their details with NFER. If any of the nominated pupils are withdrawn from the trial by their parents/carers, their data should not be shared with NFER.

NFER will conduct pupil focus groups in a small number of schools to gather pupils’ views and perceptions of the programme.

The trial team really appreciate schools’ and participants’ support for the data collection.

What happens if a school, TA/link teacher or pupil wants to withdraw from the trial?

A school, TA/link teacher or pupil can withdraw from the trial and/or from their data being used in the trial at any time. If a school withdraws from the trial (i.e. decides not to complete the endpoint assessment), NFER will still use the trial data the school have provided and access NPD data for the school unless they tell NFER otherwise.

If a TA or link teacher is replaced with another member of staff, both NFER and EHU will need to be informed and the staff’s contact details updated.

Parents can choose to withdraw their child from the data collection of the trial at any time. They can do this by returning the form at the bottom of the parent letter to their school. Schools must not provide data about children whose parents withdraw them from the data collection. If the withdrawal takes place after the study commences, schools must notify NFER of such pupils to be removed from datasets and subsequent analysis immediately by contacting the NFER Team.

How will NFER use and protect the data collected?

All data gathered during the trial will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018, and GDPR, and will be treated in the strictest confidence by NFER. Your school’s key contact details for the study will be shared securely between Edge Hill University and NFER – so that NFER can get in touch with schools to provide guidance for pupil selection, collect pupil data, share surveys and arrange any observations or interviews. NFER will share the TA and link teacher contact details with EHU, so that important information related to training can be shared with them. NFER will not share any identifiable pupil-level data with Edge Hill University. NFER may share summaries of pseudonymised[1] data from TAs’ or link teachers’ interviews and aggregated anonymised data from the TA and link teacher surveys with Edge Hill University to support their research.  

NFER will match the pupils’ data to further background data available in the National Pupil Database (NPD) such as gender, FSM eligibility SEN status. This will be done via the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service (SRS).

All pupil-level and TA/link teacher level data that will be shared by schools and EHU with NFER will be done so via a secure school portal.

No school, teacher or pupil will be named in any report arising from this work, nor will we include any information that might mean that someone else could identify them.

A Privacy Notice for the trial is available here.

For more information on how EEF processes and uses your data, please see EEF’s privacy notice.

How should my school sign up for this trial?

Expressions of interest are currently being collected, please complete the short form here. If your school is eligible for the trial, Edge Hill University will send the Memorandum of Understanding for your school’s Headteacher to sign.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you want any further information about this trial, please contact Jishi Jose or Lydia Wallis, NFER Researchers on 1CN1trial@nfer.ac.uk.

[1] Pseudonymisation is a technique that replaces or removes information (like names or other meaningful identifiers) in a data set that identifies an individual.