New research shows that a 12 minute lesson repeated up to a day later is the best way for pupils to retain material, Schools Week reports.

The study, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, showed that “spaced learning”, where three different 10 minute lessons are delivered, interspersed with a 10 minute break of another activity, were more effective in helping students retain material. Teachers also reported positive results with lower ability pupils.

The trial involved three types of spaced learning. In the first, pupils had the same lesson given to them three times, with a 10 minute break between each, doing an activity such juggling or drawing.

In the second type, pupils had three 12 minute lessons on different subjects back to back. They then had a 20 minute break, and the whole lesson was repeated the next day.

The third sequence yielded the most impressive results. Pupils had 12 minutes of one lesson, then a 10-minute break, 12 minutes of a different subject, followed by a break, and then a final 12-minute lesson on another subject. This was repeated 24 hours later.

The Education Endowment Foundation has funded numerous school trials in recent years, with results released last week. Among them included a teacher ‘matchmaking’ service called Evidence for the Frontline, which enabled teachers to email or phone researchers for information about education theories, tips and techniques.

It failed to gain traction in the trial schools, as the response from researchers was deemed ‘inconsistent’, and the service was not adequately promoted in schools.

EEF’s ‘spaced learning’ trial was the most successful, as it identified the kind of lesson layout that might benefit pupils best, commented Stephen Gorard, professor in the school of education at Durham University,