The Cabinet Papers banner

What is the Writing Frame?

An example of a Writing Frame statement showing the pink box above the statement, detailed instructions for using the tool are available when you expand the help section in the pink box shown in the picture.
Detailed instructions for using the tool are available when you expand the help section in the pink box shown in the picture.

Open Writing Frame

The Writing Frame is a software tool designed to support students in one of their most difficult areas of study. When using sources, students are challenged to:

  • Understand the content of a source
  • Consider what information the source contributes to a particular line of the research project
  • Consider issues such as reliability and typicality in relation to the research project
  • Consider each source in the context of other available sources and information, such as their own knowledge and the work of historians
  • Reach a conclusion on what the sources suggest about a particular line of the research project
  • Communicate an opinion clearly, supporting it with evidence drawn from the sources

When analysed in this way it is not difficult to see why some students find this challenge difficult. To help, the Writing Frame breaks the process down into a series of stages. This helps students see which stage they have reached in the research project, and encourages them to think about the process they are undertaking, and the content they are working with

Taking it further

Although there are a number of pre-constructed Writing Frame resources in the A level packages described in the next section, the tool can also be used in other projects for students. Create a research project tailored to your requirements in the following way:

  • Select the 'create my own research project' option
  • Save the finished work to your local disk and send the files to your students
  • Ask students to use the 'open my saved research project' option to open the project
  • Asks students to use the 'save' option to create a version with a different name

The extent of information you add to support students in the research project may differ. This depends on the nature of the exercise and the abilities of each group of students.

The Writing Frame is ideally suited to any research project that has an element of controversy within it. It will encourage students to think about ways that a collection of sources can generate conflicting views and is ideally suited as preparation for almost any question of A level standard. A few examples might be:

  • To what extent did financial considerations influence Britain's decision to dismantle its empire in Africa in the 1950s and 1960s?
  • How far do you agree that the retreat from Empire in Africa was achieved in an orderly and controlled manner?
  • Why did Ramsay MacDonald form a National Government in August 1931?
  • How important were the policies of the National Government in bringing about economic recovery in Britain by 1939?
  • Why was a new coalition government formed in May 1940?
  • How important to the revival of Labour Party fortunes between 1935 and 1945 was the British public's experience of the Second World War?
  • Use your own knowledge to assess how far the sources support the view that Churchill offered little that was helpful or constructive in his approach to the General Strike

Locating sources on questions in the Cabinet papers should not prove difficult. In fact, limiting the number of sources is likely to be more of a problem. You can ask students to use the search facility or the Browse by Theme facility, although constraints of time are likely to mean that a more effective approach is for you, the teacher, to locate relevant source material. As well as the Cabinet papers there are other sources of useful material, such as those listed in the related links section.


Related guides

Writing Frame link