Working Memory

Updated: 23/08/16

Working memory (Gathercole & Alloway, 2007) is the ability of a pupil to remember information while processing this information over a brief period of time; you could think of it as a ‘mental workspace’.
This is made up of a verbal and visual mental workspace, which we need to be able to things like:-

  • Listen to instructions in order to act upon them.
  • Decode words into sounds in order to blend the whole word.
  • Solve mental maths problems.
  • Copy information down from e.g. the board.
  • Making comparisons of visually presented material, e.g. charts, graphs and pictures.


What EPSS offers


EPSS offers a range of support for pupils in schools and colleges who struggle with their working memory. The offer includes:-

  • Assessment of working memory capacity for individual pupils.
  • Information and strategies for staff and parents to support pupils with WM difficulties. These may include advice on ways to adapt teaching methods to better support pupils or strategies to teach pupils directly in order to increase self-awareness and independent working skills.
  • Practical training for school staff aimed at raising awareness of the nature of and impact of working memory difficulties how to increase the support for pupils who struggle with WM.


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