News Release

Major teaching and learning research program draws conclusions

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Economic & Social Research Council

The Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP), the largest research initiative into education related topics ever undertaken in the United Kingdom, presents its major conclusions on 24th and 25th November after nine years of investigations across all sectors of education, from the importance of preschool education to lifelong learning. The programme was funded and managed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Findings cover all sectors of education including preschool, each phase of school, further and higher education, workforce development, apprenticeships and lifelong learning.

Directed by Professor Andrew Pollard of the Institute of Education, the programme was designed to increase the volume, quality and use of UK education research.

Professor Pollard said: "The TLRP's uniquely broad range of evidence on improving teaching and learning means that future policy can be based on real knowledge about how people make sense of the world around them, and can move beyond the current policies. We now have an opportunity to build an education system which is based on genuine evidence about how people learn."

The TLRP's major phase of empirical work has now ended but, in addition there will be further work to increase the use and impact work during 2009. Following the success of this programme, the ESRC and Engineering Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) are funding further projects concentrating on the use of technology to enhance learning.

Professor Ian Diamond, chief executive of ESRC, said: "The TLRP has been the largest ESRC programme and shows social science at its best. It was supported by partners around the UK because it promised to produce high-quality research that would have impact and help enhance British education. It has succeeded in these aims. Employers, parents, students and many other groups will gain from the success of TLRP, as will the nation as a whole."

The TLRP received funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), the Welsh Assembly Government, Northern Ireland Executive and the Scottish Government.

Outcomes of various strands of the research have been widely influential across the UK.

Some top findings:

  • Development of better ways to teach reading to address the difficulty of spelling words when the spelling cannot be predicted from the way the word sounds.
  • Genuine engagement with students helps them to feel valued and part of the learning process, as well as respected as individuals.
  • Learning how to learn is crucial to improved standards. This area focused on developing the skills to allow pupils to become autonomous learners.
  • The first study of group work in the UK to show positive attainment gains in comparison to other forms of classroom pedagogy.
  • How to smooth children's transition between schools, and between home and school.
  • Among the major implications of the research regarding the transition from University to employment are the challenges to current policies regarding the employability and skills agenda.
  • Early career learning followed a group of graduates in their first jobs to investigate informal and short semi formal learning episodes.
  • Research to provide a quantitative description of who goes into higher educations, the experiences of different students and their subsequent success in the labour market.
  • Ground-breaking research in collaboration with multinational corporations around the world suggests that policy makers have yet to appreciate the fundament shifts in the way companies use skilled people.



TLRP contact:

Martin Ince (Tel: 0771 939 0958, email: )

ESRC Press Office:

Kelly Barnett (Tel: 01793 413032 / 07826874166, email:

Danielle Moore (Tel: 01793 413122, email:


1. The TLRP's final major conference: QEII Centre in London on November 24 and 25.

2. Andrew Pollard and other TLRP researchers are available for interview.

3. For further information on the top findings from TLRP, please see the following links.

4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest funding agency for research, data resources and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It supports independent, high quality research which impacts on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2008/09 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes.
More at

5. For more information on the ESRC's TLRP programme:

6. For further information on TLRP, including downloadable results from across the programme:

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