Thinking About How We learn – ReflectED Metacognition Trial 2018

22 September 2017

As Rosendale Primary School prepares to launch the second round of its research into children’s meta-cognition skills funded by the Education Endowment Fund, Justine Paton, one of the managers of the project details the research and the school’s plans for the second trial.

What is ReflectED?
ReflectED is an approach to learning developed by Rosendale Primary School that teaches and develops children’s metacognition skills. It can support and improve attainment for all pupils by enhancing pupils’ ability to think about their learning; assess their progress; set and monitor goals; identify strengths and challenges in their learning, and develop a learning dialogue between pupil and teacher. Once pupils have developed these skills they then use them reflect on their learning both in books and using a digital portfolio.

The Research
In 2013 Rosendale School, in partnership with the EEF, conducted a small-scale randomised study to identify whether a programme of metacognition lessons and reflecting on learning could improve educational outcomes for children. The study was conducted over 30 schools and looked at outcomes for Year 5 pupils primarily in maths, however reading and attitudinal scores were also taken.  Kate Atkins, Rosendale headteacher, introduces the phase one project below.


This initial research showed that ReflectEd 2013 had a positive impact on children’s attainment. Pupils who participated in the study made an average of four months additional progress in maths compared with those who did not. The Education Endowment Fund also reported that not only did the children improve they also developed a more positive attitude to learning compared to the control group.

Following the success of this initial trial Rosendale Primary School, is now carrying out a longer whole school efficacy trial of ReflectED once again sponsored by the Education Endowment Foundation. In 2018 ReflectED will involve approximately 140 schools across the country. Schools will undergo randomization with 70 adopting the approach and 70 being used as a control group. To measure its efficacy year 1 and 5 children will be assessed on their SATs results in 2019. Our hope is that the programme will have even more of an impact if delivered in this way.

Whats new in ReflectED 2018?
The longer trial time, five terms rather than three will allow pupils to become more familiar with the process. Children will have more time to first develop and then utilize the metacognition skills they have learnt. Also, a whole school trial means that we will be able to create areas of focus for the whole school at particular times throughout the year, for example, all children learning about perseverance in the same week. This would allow for a more cohesive approach which could include assemblies and information to parents around a theme at particular points during the term. We have also carefully selected several metacognition and growth mindset texts for children which will become the basis of many lessons, this means the trial will have more of a literacy focus which will hopefully lead to improved outcomes in this area. Finally, school materials and lesson plans now have more of a cross-curricular approach so they can be easily slotted into already busy timetables.

Getting involved?
Any primary school can take part in this programme. Schools will receive high-quality training to teach one of their staff to be a ‘lead practitioner’ for ReflectED. The lead practitioner will be able to support and lead staff to implement the approach using accessible and exciting materials.

If you would like to take part please contact Justine Paton via email at the following address:

For more details on the first efficacy trial, visit the EEF website.




Posted on 22 September 2017
Posted in: Blog, Evidence

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