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

Growth Mindset: Walk the Talk

Education, Learning, Mindset, Teaching and Learning

I have been to a fair few terrible CPD days in my teaching career. One of the worst I wrote about here and the best by far were ResearchED and the Education Festival.

ResearchED and the Festival of Education are head and shoulders above the rest because sessions were practical and actionable. I left inspired, full of ideas that I could implement the very next day in the classroom. That is the mark of truly great CPD.

When the Growth Mindset philosophy exploded into schools I was ecstatic. I had seen firsthand the impact having such an approach to teaching and learning can have in a stellar PRU I taught in. I had also grown up surrounded by it, at LPT my parents had been advocating the philosophy for decades and it is at the core of every programme we design.

I would be lying to you if I didn’t confess I was dubious too. Growth Mindset is marvellous, but incredibly difficult to make tangible. As a result, it is easy to fall into the meaningless “you can achieve anything” band camp. An excellent, heart – felt mantra, that ultimately does little to help young people grow.

Yes, any child can achieve anything but only with a bucket – load of hard work, the ability to bounce – back, to learn, develop and grow from life’s inevitable hard lessons of rejection, obstacles, and negativity.

CjHmohVWkAA2Crz

This is the score used in rehearsals by a well known soprano. 10% genius, 90% hard work. Shared by @fimetic on Twitter.

That is no easy task, and one assembly on having a Growth Mindset isn’t going to cut it. Children need to be equipped with practical strategies. Teachers need to be open about their own mindset (we are human after all!) and above all, know how they can implement the Growth Mindset philosophy in their classroom and school.

That is why I wrote Growth Mindset: Walk the Talk – a practical CPD programme that aims to make the philosophy tangible and actionable by focusing on ideas, techniques, research and case studies.

It’s had such a great demand from schools that I’m thrilled to be running the event at King’s College London on Friday 1st July 2016. Tickets are extremely limited (we only have a few left!) so book here

I look forward to meeting you!

Carrie Signature 2016

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!

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

Presenter Conference 2015

Creativity, Education, Learning Performance, Teaching and Learning

team pic-LPS

Last Saturday the day started bright and early- well perhaps not bright, but early, without doubt, even facing a flurry of snow upon arrival at the venue, ready for our Learning Performance conference.

It was amazing to have this opportunity for the whole team to be together, from our newest presenters to those who have worked on behalf of Learning Performance for up to 13 years, everyone bonded over their shared passion – education!

The team was eager to crack on with the day ahead. To kick off the day, training in our Numeracy and Literacy programme was led by one of our senior presenters. This is a fantastic 6-week programme that has been introduced into schools this academic year; with great success may I add! Applying our strategies to literacy and numeracy is vital in showing students how tangible the techniques we teach are.

Training was also given in additional programmes to increase our newer presenters knowledge, in order for them to be able to deliver more of the workshops that we offer. This was led by one of our directors-Roger Starbuck.roger image

Programmes including ‘Advanced study skills, ‘Essential study skills’ ‘Critical thinking’, ‘Communication’, ‘Employability and ‘Enterprise’- to name just a few, were covered! It definitely was a jam-packed morning full of energy.

All sessions were completed successfully, with great participation, interest and eagerness to be part of what Learning Performance has to offer. This now means we have more of our excellent presenters trained to the highest standards out on the road delivering our workshops!

Introducing the afternoon conference, the Managing Director, Carrie, made a grand entrance with presentersimage2[4] stomping and clapping “We Will Rock You” style. Like a rock star, she gave high – fives to every team member before breaking out into a motivational speech on how Learning Performance is growing in epic proportions.

The main focus of this conference was to introduce a brand new and exciting programme. With great enthusiasm and clear passion, Roger Starbuck introduced the concept of ‘Mindset’, which was very much welcomed by all!

A great explanation and interesting evidence to support it was provided. We understand the impact that the correct mindset caCarol-Dweckn have on students, staff and parents and the importance of addressing this by encouraging a growth over a fixed mindset. At Learning Performance we are now taking steps to introduce mindset into all of our programmes in order to encourge a belief system that leads individuals down the right track to success.

Our focus on making what we do relevant – which is so key, provided an opportunity for everyone to contribute ideas and take away practical solutions to the classroom. It’s important to continually share ideas and make everything as tangible for the students as possible, as this is what Learning Performance is all about. It worked really well and showed what a dynamic and committed team we have!

image5[2]It was fantastic to see each member of our team in action, sharing ideas and showing a keen interest in the new material. As always, when the team is together, there was a high level of engagement and a real buzz throughout the room.

The 2015 Presenter conference was an inspiring, diverse and interactive day, full of new and exciting information which gave a clear insight into where Learning Performance as a company are heading and what’s been going on behind the scenes. It was huge success and opportunity to not only share new content, but to give recognition to our fantastic Learning Performance team!

inspire

Written by Holly Chandler

Each School Is Unique

Education, Learning Performance

There are many factors to be taken into consideration when deciding where a child should go to school. There are so many variations between schools, not only based on results, but also the cultures and norms.

It doesn’t matter where a school is located, the demographics of the students, or the age group the school ranges from. Each school is unique. Each school is its own micro – world with all its social hierarchies, principles, expectations and rules.

The ultimate desire for many parents, however, is for each student to feel a sense of belonging.

It is important to understand the needs of each individual and what works best for them. This naturally affects the decision process. Different things work in different schools and different things work better for different individuals.

One decision regularly faced by parents is the benefits of a large school compared to a small school, and vice versa. It is hard to evaluate the impact of school size on educational performance and student happiness, but it is clear that there are pros and cons for each.

A a big pro for larger schools is that often they have more capacity, facilities and choices in terms of school subjects available. A potential con is that a child simply becomes another statistic.

Smaller schools have that ‘small school culture’ that many parents want for their child. Class size is a major factor of this with students benefitting from smaller, personalised classes.

Let’s not forget, that this ‘small school culture’ can be created within a large school environment. It’s about the relationships that are built within a school, irrespective of its size. It’s about a sense of community.

In my opinion, that is a major factor about choosing a school. What does the school believe in? What is its ethos and values? Finding a school where each individual child is valued is fundamental because with the right support everyone has the ability to achieve.

Students ultimately go to school to come out with exam results, but school is so much more than that, it is a journey.

Each school is unique, and each student, even more so. Every school has the ability and opportunity to be amazing.

Written by Holly Chandler

What motivates you?

Education, Motivation

Got motivation?

The motivation to achieve is what really creates that passion and buzz in what you are doing. Within education I believe that state of mind and motivation is the key to success. So much has been written regarding motivation and the effects it has on us as individuals, yet motivation is often hard to define. What’s motivating varies depending on the individual, which is why motivation is such a unique process.

The reason behind why we are doing something is too easily forgotten. Excitement, enthusiasm and passion not only come from a love of something, but also knowing what it is you want to achieve and how you are going to get there. Things wont always work out perfectly, but it’s about having the mentality to keep going.

keep-trying-dont-give-up

Motivation is essentially based on our feelings, our thought processes and how we act on these. For example, a student may be motivated to work hard because their thought process is that they don’t want the shame and humiliation of failing. Or, a student may be focused on the pride and self-satisfaction that they will receive if they do well. Motivation is personal to each of us, it’s about having a focus in mind so that even when you want to give up, (which at times we all definitely do) there is something telling you not to. I think what’s important is getting students to think about this. These feelings are the side effects and triggers to motivation.

dont give up

Thoughts trigger action and therefore discussing what motivates a student is an incredible way of getting them focussed on wanting to achieve. Making someone self-aware can have fantastic results. Visualising where you want to be, thinking of goals and how you are going to get there, is what motivates most of us and influences how committed we are to something.

In terms of education, this doesn’t just mean thinking short-term. It’s about more than being motivated to get a good mark in an essay, or getting the results they need to go to college; it’s about being motivated to work towards the future you visualise. Thinking about what you can do in the short-term to enable yourself to get to where you want to be in the future. Channelling that thought process into everyday school life creates goal-orientated individuals that know the meaning behind why they are doing something.

future

It makes me sad to think that there are young people out there that lack the motivation they need to reach their full potential. Underachieving due to this is so easily avoided. Motivation 100% affects learning and behaviour in schools. It gives students the energy to keep going and creates the high effort levels needed to achieve. When you are motivated you have the ability to confront challenges you face. It makes an aspiring individual and determines the direction you take.

I believe that discussing what motivates you should without doubt be a focus within school, helping to encourage that love and want to learn from a young age. Being motivated forms a whole new outlook to life and makes students take responsibility for their own education. Motivation is not just something that benefits students now, but throughout the whole of their life. It creates an improved performance in  everyone and enables each of us to maintain a positive attitude.

Work hard, dream big and make things happen.

motivation2

Written by Holly Chandler

Educating Cardiff-Review

Uncategorized

Episode 4 of Educating Cardiff took me back to my years at secondary school. It made me reflect- as often programmes such as these do.

Although it was the first episode of this series that I have watched I still felt instantly connected to both the teachers and the students. This was once a school where only 14% of their students achieved A*-C grades. This figure however has now increased to 50%- making it one of the nations most improved schools!

Last night’s episode focussed mainly on Linda, a young girl with the ability to achieve but who let behavioural issues get the better of her.

Both the Head (Mrs Ballard) and the focus teacher (Mr Sage) really proved in this episode that they go the extra mile to help the students at Willows High School. They showed care and compassion resulting in heart-warming viewing.

We saw at the beginning of the episode Linda incorrectly calculating 99+10- a sum she clearly had the ability to work out. This clip emphasised her bad attitude towards education and her ‘kick up a fuss’ ways.

Mr Sage (Linda’s head of house) showed a well thought out approach to dealing with Linda’s behaviour. It was evident that he wanted her to improve and genuinely believed in her ability- “work with me, you are better than that.” Fighting a continued battle of Linda being on report and her insisting that she ‘hates it when teachers tell her what to do’, it was obvious that something needed to change! He showed a good balance between discipline and understanding which made him a brilliant head of house and support figure for Linda. Linda was troubled, but she without doubt wanted to be better and all she needed was a little encouragement.

Mr Sage believed that Linda’s behaviour and attitude was partially due to her lack of stimulation from being in set 3. She was regularly loosing concentration in class due to tasks being too easy for her, which meant that she completed her work before other students and was left restless. The main reason for her being in this set was due to poor behaviour. For teachers such as Mr Sage there are so many decisions to make in situations like this one. I can only imagine how stressful weighing up the choices must be. Both Mr Sage and Mrs Hammond after much deliberation decided to move Linda from set 3 to set 1 in all subjects, in hope that this would improve her attitude and stop her ‘playing up’ in the classroom.

Mrs Ballard refers to herself as not being ‘a traditional head teacher’ and I would probably agree with this- I honestly don’t remember my Head showing such sincere and endearing qualities. When she bought a present for Linda’s brother, to be posted on Linda’s behalf, I felt as though I understood her passion, her want to help, and her desire to be involved in the student’s lives- this student in particular. Linda’s brother had been sent to the Czech Republic to live with his Grandmother, due to his Mother no longer being able to deal with his bad behaviour. Both Linda and her brother were very big characters. Remaining at school without her brother left Linda very distressed.

Seeing Linda cry made me want to reach through the screen to hug her and seeing Mr Sage with tears in his eyes made me realise that teachers often can’t help but get emotionally involved in situations that often are out of their control. Mr Sage in this case clearly felt genuine sympathy.

The episode really confirmed for me the fact that what happens outside of the school environment has a huge impact on how students behave within school, something often too easily forgotten.

I loved Mrs Hammond’s idea of asking Linda to write a letter to include her thoughts. The outcome of this showed us all that Linda did have that desire to do well. She wanted to move sets, she wanted to improve her behaviour and she wanted to prove herself to Mrs Hammond and Mr Sage.

Improved body language, a more positive attitude and increased mental stimulation- it was clear that the decision to move Linda in to set 1 was a beneficial one for her. The clips of her weeks later showing a dramatic change in behaviour throughout classes was heart-warming to see.

She gained respect for her class teacher’s discipline and was taking responsibility for her own education. I felt many emotions towards Linda throughout the episode but ultimately I was pleased. I was pleased that it worked out for her, that Willows didn’t give up on her, but was with her every step of the way! She could now be proud of herself.

People emphasise that there are more things to life than education and I believe this to a certain extent, but at the end of the day whether a student loves or hates school, they have to go. School isn’t just about education though; it’s about the relationships you develop, your behavioural characteristics and your attitude to life. When I watch programmes such as these I realise the real impact teachers have on children. Each teacher is different, but each teacher has the ability to make such a big difference to every student.

5 Things I Learnt from ResearchEd

Education, Learning, Teacher Resources, Teaching and Learning
  1. People are VERY precious over technology. 

I was part of a panel discussing “Is technology wasting our time?” My answer? Yes.

Most of my teaching career was spent in developing countries where too often technology was used as an attempt solve social issues. It’s exactly the same in the UK. We have an education system that fails almost half of its’ young people. We have questionable literacy and numeracy standards. We have been told our children are one of the unhappiest in the world. Technology can’t solve these issues, people can.

There is a huge difference between learning the digital tools of modern life and the critical skills needed. What about the basic maths to become an engineer? What about the communication skills to become a good doctor, teacher or alas, a human being? Technology can’t teach this, teachers can.

On top of all this, there is hardly any evidence that technology can improve pupil attainment but there is plenty of evidence that it can impede focus and thus results.

I argued it would be better to invest our time and money in people, as ultimately, no app or gadget will surpass the power of a teacher.

2. I didn’t think the above was particularly controversial. Oh, but it is. 

To the extent I was told that if technology doesn’t work in a school then it is the students, teachers and school’s fault. Right…

3. Everyone loves to tweet. 

As we were chatting I could see lots of people tweeting furiously, so once the panel was wrapped up I was keen to see what people were saying. There were a few tweets about my “poor pedagogy,” being the reason technology failed in my classroom. It’s a shame that this wasn’t raised during a panel where anything and everything is up for discussion. I would have enjoyed the challenge of such an argument. Then again this lack of face – to – face communication just helped to prove point 1, so thanks.

4. I didn’t think I would like Nick Gibb MP, but he was actually quite charming. 

The Labour member, Corbyn voter in me wanted to dislike this man intensely. Instead, I found myself nodding in agreement with many things he said and even laughed at his joke. My Grandmother would have been horrified. Sorry Gran.

Nick Gibb's speech "The Importance of the teaching profession."

Nick Gibb’s speech “The Importance of the teaching profession.”

5. We have an awesome, dedicated and passionate learning community.

I already knew this of course, but ResearchEd really bought it home. 700+ teachers giving up a Saturday, many travelling from a far, all there with a singular purpose to learn, to improve, to be the best teachers for their students. Not many industries could boast such a dedicated workforce.

The masses. Photo via @miss_mcinerney

The masses. Photo via @miss_mcinerney

I quit. You didn’t. A message to the Secret Teacher.

Education, Learning, Politics, Teaching and Learning

September is my favourite month. It is a month that marks change. Those that were toddling about in nappies only a year or so ago suddenly transform into young infants starting their school journey. Children make the leap from primary to secondary school. Teenagers become young adults and young adults begin their life beyond the realm of school.

September. It’s new. It’s exciting. I love it.

Perhaps naively, I believed everyone loved it too, then I read the Secret Teacher: I really don’t know if I can face another school year.

At first I was surprised, swiftly followed by sad, then ultimately, understanding. I was a TEFL teacher. I lived and worked in Ghana for six months teaching primary and secondary school children, then nurses and doctors. Somewhere right now on the Gold Coast are nurses and doctors speaking English with a South London accent. I’m dead proud.

I adored teaching. Watching a student have an “Aha” moment is the ultimate buzz. I even liked the planning and the marking. I returned from Ghana set on doing my PGCE.

Then I received a frantic phone call from a friend 6 months into her PGCE. Her school placement was a nightmare. A kid had hit her line manager with chair with such force it broke his arm. Staff were overworked and overtired with little time to support a trainee. The university was disorganised, unhelpful, in disarray. That morning her microwave had caught fire because she forgot to put the milk in the porridge.

The purpose of the call wasn’t just to let off steam but to ask if she was crazy (probably) and if I would judge her if she quit. No, I said, I wouldn’t judge. I would do more than that, I would understand.

I had been working at a school the past few months with the view to getting my teaching qualification. The constant pressure and the relentless drive to hit targets meant I was burnt out. Worst of all, my love for teaching was slowing being drained out of my soul.

When I was headhunted to work with the government I leapt at the opportunity and I didn’t look back. It was only some 5 years later did the education world lure me back into its voracious embrace, not as a teacher but as a consultant.

This was over 8 years ago so I had forgotten just how difficult it was. My friend and I were not unique. 4 out of 10 teachers quit the profession in their first year. The Teacher Support Network health survey found 88% of teachers have suffered stress, 72% anxiety and 45% depression in the past two years.

Education Staff Health Survey 2014 report

Education Staff Health Survey 2014 report

Retention is one problem, but so is recruitment. UCAS figures for April 2015 show there were 5,260 fewer people applying for teacher training positions than there was in the same month last year. 73% of English LEAs said their schools were struggling to find suitably qualified staff, half said the shortage was either moderate or severe, while the rest stressed it was slight.

Professor John Howson, from TeachVac, warned London and surrounding areas such as the southeast and the east of England is facing a crisis, with almost four teaching vacancies per school in the capital.

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Employment said the Government had taken ‘decisive steps’ to make teaching more attractive.

It had introduced performance-related pay, giving good teachers an immediate £2,000 increase. All postgraduate trainees got a salary of £150 a week, while those training to teach shortage subjects got another £4,000.

All are positive steps but it doesn’t feel enough. What about valuing the profession? What about well – being? What about the love of teaching and learning?

My message to the NQT Secret Teacher is – I quit. You didn’t. You deserve a street, nay, a DAY named after you. You have done the hard part. The next year is about developing as a person, an educator and a role model for future generations. Roll on September. You got this.