Frames For learning

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Applying psychology and cognitive science in the classroom for better pupil attainment

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Frames for Learning (F4L)

is a CPD programme for teachers and their teaching assistants (TAs) which aims to improve science attainment by scaffolding how teachers and pupils approach working scientifically and other multi staged tasks in science.

The programme aims to increase pupils’ recall, knowledge, and understanding in science, by supporting teachers to use the F4L approach, so that children are ‘on task’ and focused on: a) the intended learning activity and, b) the curriculum content/learning objectives of the task.

F4L can be integrated into the existing curriculum, and supports teachers to develop and deliver lessons which optimise the amount of information children must process at once (cognitive load), whilst building on pre-existing knowledge and understanding (schema development) to support learning outcomes. The approach draws on cognitive science principles, and starts off with worked examples for teachers to apply immediately, and culminates in teachers planning and delivering lessons which embed the F4L approach.

F4L was initiated with funding from the Primary Science Teaching Trust, and has been implemented in multiple schools since 2010 (see examples below).

Teachers report they feel F4L is a ‘promising approach, with the potential to remove barriers to learning and ensure inclusion for all’. Approaches used in F4L are identified in EEF’s Evidence and Practice Review in Cognitive Science in the Classroom, which suggests there is consistent evidence that well targeted scaffolds, guidance, and schema-based support are an effective approach to support students to solve problems or learn from complex tasks.

Our current Pilot

F4L has been developed for teachers and TAs in Year 5 who will be trained over 3 days of face-to-face (F2F) and online CPD starting in September 2023. This is spread across the academic year, with intersession tasks for teachers and TAs to engage with and apply the approach in their classroom. The F4L CPD supports teachers to:

  • Understand the theory behind cognitive science approaches.
  • Apply it appropriately in science lessons by implementing a structured and scaffolded approach for learners, using exemplified lessons.
  • Quickly and easily check whether your pupils require more scaffolding support or less to stay ‘on task’ and learn effectively, using an ‘cognitive load’ tool
  • Develop their own science lessons which integrate cognitive science principles and embed the F4L approach.

The F4L programme has been developed and is delivered by Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). SHU is experienced in the provision of innovative education programmes for young people aged 4-18 years, with expertise in science education and the provision of CPD for teachers.

The F4L programme and its independent evaluation is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), an independent charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.

The evaluation is being carried out by a team at the University of Warwick. It is a pilot evaluation designed to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and readiness for trial of the Frames for Learning approach. As such, the evaluation will not be collecting pupil performance data. It will be focused on understanding teachers’ and children’s experiences of the Frames for Learning approach and the teaching and learning processes it produces.

Funding partners

Education Endowment Foundation logo

Education Endowmnet Fund

Education Endowment Foundation website

About this project

Explore the people, research centres and partner organisations behind this project.

Get in touch

Contact us to discuss facilities, partnerships, doctoral research and more

Email us

Research team

Andy Bullough 120947

Andy Bullough

Project Director

Andrew Bullough
Diarmuid Verrier 213332

Diarmuid Verrier


Diarmuid Verrier

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