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The impact of Reading Recovery ten years after intervention

Reading Recovery ten years after intervention

Since 2005/06, 101,000 children have taken part in the Reading Recovery programme, resulting in a potential benefit of up to £1.2 billion to the UK economy.

Melanie Richards

Deputy Chair KPMG UK and Partner Corporate Finance, Debt Advisory

KPMG in the UK


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The Impact of Reading Recovery ten years after intervention

Every Child a Reader  was a flagship project for the KPMG Foundation that targeted some of the most disadvantaged children in the UK.

It began as a three year (2005-2008), £10 million pilot project. It aimed to show that the literacy difficulties affecting many children, particularly the most disadvantaged, could be addressed through a targeted Reading Recovery intervention. The project, led by the KPMG Foundation, was funded through a powerful collaboration of charitable trusts and the government. Supporters included the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Indigo Trust, JJ Charitable Trust, Man Group plc Charitable Trust, Mercers Company and SHINE.

Key Results

To view the KPMG Foundation's summary of the impact of the programme, click here.

To measure the true impact of the project, Professor Jane Hurry and Dr Lisa Fridkin of UCL Institute of Education tracked the progress of a sample of the children involved. This comprehensive study, The impact of Reading Recovery ten years after intervention, analyses the impact of the Reading Recovery intervention.

The study followed 239 children involved in the original 2006 evaluation. In the initial study, children who received Reading Recovery were compared with matched children who attended similar schools where Reading Recovery was not offered. The research found that the children’s academic achievements in school Years 9 and 11 (age 14 and 16) were significantly improved as a result of the intervention. Key findings include:

  • Children who had received Reading Recovery achieved significantly higher overall GCSE point scores than the comparison group.
  • 49% of children who had received Reading Recovery achieved five or more GCSEs at the former A* to C grades including English and Maths, compared to 23% of those who had not. 
  • Just 2% of children who had received Reading Recovery achieved no GCSE passes, compared to 7% of children in the comparison group.
  • The study also found that by Year 9 (age 14) 34% of the children who had received Reading Recovery had a Special Education Needs (SEND) status – significantly fewer than the 52% of children who had not participated.

The economic benefits of Reading Recovery

Pro Bono Economics was commissioned by the KPMG Foundation to carry out an economic analysis of the costs and benefits of the Reading Recovery programme, drawing on the ten-year findings.

Assuming that the positive effects in the follow up study apply to all 101,000 children supported by Reading Recovery during the evaluation period, the potential benefits of Reading Recovery support to UK society are calculated to be £980-1,200 million.

Key findings include:

  • Reading Recovery support increased the likelihood that a child will attain 5+ good GCSEs (including Maths and English) by 18-26 percentage points and reduced the proportion of children requiring a Statement of SEN/EHCP by 7 percentage points.
  • Estimated potential benefits are £9,200-12,100 per Reading Recovery pupil compared to around £2,800 in costs, giving a net benefit of £6,400-9,300 per pupil.
  • These findings imply that every £1 spent on Reading Recovery since 2005/6 will create a potential societal benefit of £3.30-4.30.
  • Reading Recovery support increases the expected lifetime income from employment of around £6,300-9,100 per pupil. This is equivalent to approximately 70% of the total societal benefit.
  • Savings to Local Authorities are conservatively estimated as £2,900 per Reading Recovery pupil relating to a reduction in the number of children with a Statement of SEN/EHCP. This is equivalent to approximately 30% of the total societal benefit.

Further resources

Assessing the impact of the Reading Recovery Programme – An economic analysis can be found here.

To find out futher information about Reading Recovery please click here.

For further information on Pro Bono Economics please click here.

To read the full press release, please click here.

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