2015-2016 Academic Year Review

Education, Learning, Learning Performance, Literacy, Mindset, Numeracy, Study Skills

This academic year has smashed all expectations. We are incredibly proud of what the Learning Performance team have achieved and as the end of term is upon us, what better time to reflect on the accomplishments of the year!

Not only have both our HQ and presenter teams expanded, we continue to reach more and more students, staff and parents each year throughout the country (and across Europe)! A massive thank you to each and every school, college and university that chose us to work with them to help raise achievement and inspire a love of learning this year!

So in summary, what’s been going on?

Press

Learning Performance and our MD Carrie Starbuck have been featured in the press several times over the last few months, which is very exciting!

Numeracy and Literacy

This academic year saw the launch of our Literacy and Numeracy programme, the success of it has gone beyond all expectations. Our case study shows that 100% of students felt that the programme helped them improve in English- incredible! I am thrilled to share with you our 2015 – 2016 Literacy and Numeracy Impact Report! We have had an overwhelming demand for longer term and more sustained programmes, and we are so proud to have evidence that supports just how beneficial such interventions are!

Aspirational Programmes

We have also been working with a number of schools specifically targeting hard to reach students with our 4 – 6 week aspirational programmes, with dramatic improvement shown. Nearly 90% of a targeted group of students felt more confident as a result of the programme.

Events

Growth mindset-Walk the Talk. We held our first ever off site event at Kings College, London which focused on ideas, techniques, research and case studies all linked to embedding a Growth Mindset in the classroom, with our NEW ‘Walk the Talk’ programme. Due to high demand, we are looking to hold further events in the Autumn term which we are already excited about!

We had a stand at The Academy Show, London where we spent a fantastic day talking with hundreds of education professionals from all over the county.

We attended The Festival of Education which was a HUGE success! Carrie Starbuck was in high demand after her talk on‘ Memory Matters’ on both days. You can download Carrie’s slides and transcript here.

 

 

Looking to the future

This year we have introduced Learning Performance Partnership Schools. This is an incredibly exciting development and we are so pleased to welcome on board a select few schools for the New Academic year. You can contact us to find out more about what a partnership with Learning Performance entails.

We have also launched an online hub for schools, which goes live in September 2016!

Feedback

Below are just a couple of my favourite comments from school organisers this academic year.

‘We really enjoyed the day. Your presenter was fantastic and very inspiring.  I don’t think the children believed that study skills could be fun.’

‘The session was fantastic. Students were totally engaged throughout the whole session and the content he covered was exactly what we were looking for. I have seen a lot of motivational speakers whilst doing this role and was very impressed.’

‘I would like to say a massive thank you.  We absolutely loved the workshop.  I was so impressed, his manner and way with the students had them hooked on every word he said.  The activities the students were involved in were both engaging and relevant and I know the students left the workshop feeling that they had got a lot from the session including being more energised and confident.  We have had other speakers in, both this year and previous years, and I can honestly say that I really think your presenter was one of the best.’

‘The students absolutely loved the day that was delivered and are still speaking positively of how much the day has helped them.’

And now from the students themselves..

‘I have learnt not to give up easily and try until you succeed.’

‘It was awesome. The presenter was so motivated & enthusiastic that it made me engaged and want to find out more.’

‘ I have found this has really helped me in class.’

‘I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it.’

What a fantastic year it’s been! It’s finally time to catch our breath and get prepared for what the 2016-2017 academic year will bring. A massive thank you to all our lovely schools, our team of presenters and the HQ team. Let’s continue to work together to inspire the young people of our generation!

summer

The Festival of Education 2016

Education, Memory, Revision, Study Skills, Teaching and Learning

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1The Festival of Education was a HUGE success again this year, attracting teachers, students and educational professionals from all round the country to the beautiful Wellington College for another action-packed two days. You can check out videos from The Telegraph’s event on the Festival’s YouTube page here.

We were absolutely delighted to be an exhibitor at the event, along with the likes of Schools Week, Microsoft and BBC Learning. We met some incredible individuals who were all there to help improve the lives of our country’s young people.6

There was plenty to do at the festival, from holding reptiles, to circus skills, to watching the great performances going on outside. This was all topped off with an array of talks from influential speakers such as Rory Bremner, Germaine Greer and Piers Morgan, to name but a few.There were so many people coming over to us throughout the festival explaining how they were excited about our MD, Carrie Starbuck speaking on both days of the festival about Memory Matters. 52 attendees squeezed into a small classroom to watch Carrie talk on the Thursday, and Friday’s session w2as the busiest speech of the day in that room. It smashed our expectations! You can find out more about Carrie’s motivational talk here, where she has also uploaded the slides and transcript.

Overall, the festival was AWESOME and we would like to say a huge thank you to the The Telegraph for asking us to participate again!

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We’d also like to say a massive thank you to the teachers, students and educational professionals we got to meet – We came away truly inspired.

We can’t wait to see what next year has to bring!

5

Our Term Review!

Education, Exams, Learning Performance, Revision, Study Skills

Wow, what a fantastic term! We have finally caught our breath and done a review of all the successes we have had this term. In three short months we worked with over 200 schools across the UK (and Europe!). This means we reached just over 50,000 young people empowering them with effective revision strategies such as, memory techniques. That’s not to mention the thousands of staff and parents we visited too.

 

We are incredibly proud that so many schools, colleges, and universities chose us to help raise achievement and inspire a love of learning!

 

Here are some of our favourite comments from the past term:

My students absolutely loved the session and found it extremely useful. Thank you to you and the presenters. It was a great success. I will be recommending the session to my colleagues.’

 

‘Amazing and really boosted my confidence.’

 

‘Very good day, this changed my outlook towards my teaching.’

 

‘It was very motivational and inspirational.’

 

‘It was an eye-opening workshop’

 

‘Off the charts :)’

 

‘Thank you once again for providing such a high quality presenter- the pupils loved him and thoroughly enjoyed their workshops.’

 

‘I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the brilliant course’

 

We are thrilled to be making such a difference. Here’s to a fantastic Summer Term and best of luck to all those taking exams – You’ve got this! #YouAreAwesome

 

 

Part 5 of the Philosophy of Memory: Review It

Creativity, Exams, Memory, Revision, Study Skills, Teaching and Learning

This step is the most important of all. Reviewing work regularly strengthens the neural connections making memories stronger. This means you can recall information easily when it matters, most in the exam.

Strategies for Success AI

This graph shows what is happening to those neural connections with each review you do. We call it the Review Philosophy which is based on scientific evidence of how the brain learns and recalls information, otherwise knows as distributed practice.

Following the Review Philosophy means reviewing revision notes for ten minutes around ten minutes after writing them. A day later you review them for five minutes. A week later you review them for between two and five minutes, and the same again a month later.

Essentially, reviewing a subject in small chunks, several times in short bursts, has a far greater impact than cramming three hours before the exam.

You can download our free guide to creating a revision timetable based on the review philosophy here.

Part 4 – Unleash Your Imagination

Creativity, Education, Exams, Memory, Revision, Study Skills, Teacher Resources, Teaching and Learning

Strategies for Success AI

Yes, really. You can improve how you learn, remember and recall information by unleashing your imagination. The crazy, absurd visual story you used to remember the key dates of WWII has created stronger links between neurons making it easier for your brain to recall the information when you need it most, in the exam.

So go wild, enjoy using your imagination and creativity to make learning easier.

#MemoryMatters

Building Blocks of Success: A summary of DfE report

Education, Learning, Politics, Pupil Premium, research, Study Skills, Teacher Resources, Teaching and Learning

The government commissioned NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research) to investigate good practice in raising attainment of disadvantaged students. They specifically looked at features of schools that narrowed the gap successfully and compared it to schools that weren’t doing so well.

It’s a fascinating read but the report, Supporting the attainment of disadvantaged pupils: articulating success and good practice,” like the title is long and hardly sexy. If you’re anything like me – teaching, being a governor, mentor, and business owner – it’s tough to find time to read research reports like this. Four months later I am celebrating finishing the study with a) a glass of wine b) a summary blog to make other teachers’ lives easier.

1. What makes successful schools successful?

The question on everyones lips and in a nutshell they place an emphasis on;

  • Teaching and learning strategies including emotional/social support
  • Assessment for learning systems so they are straightforward
  • Clear feedback for pupils
  • Improving pupils’ ability to learn through metacognitive strategies

2. What is the magic potion? 

No magic tricks here. There is no one singular approach identified as raising attainment. (That’s important, they repeat that a lot) In fact, the most successful schools had on average 18 different strategies in place to support disadvantaged pupils.

In secondary schools the analysis identified four main groups of strategies used by schools to raise disadvantaged pupils’ attainment. The analysis of relationships between these factors identified one statistically significant relationship; more successful schools were more likely to use the Group S4 strategies.

GroupingThis is backed up by Schools’ Week Alternative GCSE League Table which show the best performing schools in the country for pupils receiving free school meals. We work with 4 out of the top 10 schools who have over 20% FSM pupils on study skills, metacognition, and independent learning strategies as part of our Pupil Premium Project.

3. What can my school do next?

What is clear from the study, is the effectiveness of such strategies relies on them being embedded into a whole – school ethos of aspiration and attainment.

The study identified seven “building blocks” for success for all pupils, including those from disadvantaged pupils.

 

Building Blocks

The details of the building blocks can be found between pages 73 – 82. You can skip straight to these pages as they are well worth a read and have handy comparisons.

4. The improvement journey 

This visualisation of the “schools’ pathways to success” in raising attainment I found particularly helpful.

Schools' Pathway to Success

(Timescale 3 – 5 years)

5. Conclusion

Tah dah! There is no simple solution or one size fits all solution to closing the attainment gap. Instead, a number of measures are required, including setting a culture of high expectations and looking at evidence based strategies such as, metacognition. It must be tailored to each school’s circumstances and above all, the students.

What do you think makes a school successful in supporting the attainment of disadvantaged pupils? Comment below!

Philosophy of Memory Step 3: Link it together!

Creativity, Education, Exams, History, Learning, Memory, Mindset, Revision, Study Skills, Teacher Resources, Teaching and Learning

Strategies for Success AI

Capturing the brain’s love of imagination and logic is a powerful way to learn. Creating a whacky story, a mnemonic, a memory palace or a number system (to name a few) is an efficient and effective way to learn.

These techniques are particularly great for lists, processes, dates, formulas, and people. But what about entire topics?

Breaking down the huge information into key points e.g. Theme, Main Idea and Details, is vital. Then you can turn it into something creative, logical and most importantly, memorable with Mind Maps. Here is an example!

Henry A - Map

 

The Philosophy of Memory Part 2; Mindset

Creativity, Education, Exams, Memory, Mindset, Motivation, Revision, Study Skills, Teaching and Learning

Henry Ford’s, “If you think you can or you think can’t, you’re right,” is the lifeblood running through all our programmes for young people. So much so, it’s part 2 of our Philosophy of Memory!

Strategies for Success AI

Mindset and self – belief is vital. Memory techniques is a big part of this as they demonstrate the brain’s plasticity – it can develop and grow. Intelligence is not fixed.

Often during our workshops students are amazed at just how much they can recall when they use a technique. Their mindset is transformed from “There’s no way I can remember all that,” to “I can do it!”

Getting rid of that little fixed voice that whispers, “you can’t do this,” is one step towards conquering all those obstacles that stop pupils achieving.

You got this.

#MemoryMatters

Memory Matters.

Creativity, Education, Exams, Learning, Mindfulness, Revision, Stress, Study Skills, Teacher Resources, Teaching and Learning

The national curriculum and exam changes are transforming the way our children have to learn. They have to retain and recall huge amounts of information when it matters most, in the exam.

It is a big demand on our young people. We can meet this demand head on with *wait for it* creativity and imagination. Yes, that’s right. By unleashing the power of creativity and imagination we can empower students to learn independently with effective memory techniques, learn to learn and study skills.

Over the next five weeks we will be sharing our 5 Point Philosophy of Memory as part of our #memorymatters campaign.

The first step in our Philosophy is RELAX. 

Strategies for Success AI

 

The brain reacts to physical stress (think hungry lion chasing you down the street) exactly the same as emotional stress (think exams). It automatically goes into flight or fight mode. Stress hormones like adrenaline, run rings around you. When stressed your body is in a high state of alert – trouble sleeping, change in appetite, fast or shallow breathing, struggling to make decisions, lacking focus – are just a few signs of stress.

It is incredibly difficult to learn, retain and recall information when your stressed so it is important to know how to relax. Here are our Top 3 Relaxation Tips that you can do even during an exam!

  1. Mindful Breathing. 

Breathe through your nose for the count of 5, then out through your mouth for the count of 5. Really focus on your breathing. This will help calm your thoughts and soon your brain will realise you’re not going to get eaten by lion (unless you are, then run.)

It’s a great, simply, subtle technique. No one needs to know you are breathing mindfully and it takes just a minute.

2. Mindful Listening. 

Close your eyes for 30 seconds and concentrate on all the sounds you can hear – a ticking clock, tapping of a pencil, a car passing, your own breathing. This will help to clear your mind, to slow down and to focus. Open your eyes and the world will be a little bit clearer.

3. The Ten Second Count

This is a variation of Tip 1 but rather than focusing on your breath, close your eyes and focus your attention on slowly counting to ten. If your concentration wanders start back at number one!

For more information about Memory Matters click here and don’t forget to check back this time next week for Step 2…!

2015 in Review

Education, Learning, Motivation, Study Skills, Teaching and Learning

2015 has been the year of lists. From the ‘to do’ list to the ‘great idea, let’s do it’ list, we have been one busy hive of activity. I can think of no better way to celebrate the year of 2015 but with a list!

  1. January and February: Cold, murky, mental months. We hit a record number of schools during this time and it was awesome.
  2. March: The final countdown to the Easter break and thus, revision workshops. We had to recruit more fabulous people to join our team to meet demand. Also awesome.
  3. April and May: A joyful blur. Develop new programmes. Assess impact. A chance to recoup, gather strength and pace.
  4. June: Proud to be part of the incredible Sunday Times Education Festival talking about inspiring a love of learning.
  5. July and August: Launch of our summer school programme. Results day. Holiday? Check.
  6. September: Kick -starting the new academic year with the Managing Director speaking at the National ResearchED conference. Launch of our new KS3 literacy and numeracy programme and Success Passports. In just 3 months they are now loved by over 50 schools across the UK.
  7. October: It was frightfully wicked with a meeting with Mr Nick Gibb MP.
  8. November: Unbelievable successful, busy month finished perfectly with our Presenter Conference
  9. December: Reflection, preparation. Festive frolics and many, many thanks for a joyful, inspirational year.
  10. Share a short, sweet, funny video of who we are. Done.

 

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you in 2016.