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?


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.


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!


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!


Growth Mindset: Walk the Talk

Education, Memory, Mindset, Motivation, 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.


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

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.


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!


Written by Holly Chandler

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.

The Sunday Times Festival of Education


For the past 6 years, The Sunday Times Festival of Education, has attracted teachers, students and educational professionals from all round the country to the beautiful Wellington College for an action-packed two days. This year was the best year so far, with over 4000 people attending.


At Learning Performance, we were delighted to be one of the sponsors of the event, alongside Samsung, Pearson and Worth-It Projects, to name but a few. We had a brilliant time meeting and listening to so many positive adults, companies and young people, who were all there (some on their days off!) to help students to succeed!

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 16.15.03There were plenty of fun activities to participate in, from learning to dive, to glamping, to climbing walls, to shooting paper rockets. All topped off with an array of influential speakers to listen to, from Ken Robinson, to Piers Morgan, to Tinie Tempah.

Our MD, Carrie Starbuck was invited to speak about how to inspire a love of learning and raising achievement by using creative learning strategies such as, memory techniques. It was truly inspirational to see the impact such simple strategies have on young people.

The Thursday session was packed out, and the feedback fantastic – One lady tweeted she was inspired to become a teacher!


On the Friday, there was a Festival of Education first! Carrie went head to head with her brother, David Starbuck, as their speeches were at the same time, in the same venue. The whole area was filled with people trying to listen to the siblings and you only had to look round to see how much people had gained from the talks.

The highlight of our day was when Nicky Morgan mentioned Learning Performance during her speech, due to the free pen we handed her as she walked into the festival!


Overall, the festival was a huge success and we’d like to say a massive thank you to the Sunday Times for asking us to participate!

We’d also like to say thank you to all the inspiring individuals we got to meet and listen to – We can’t wait for next year!

Why Memory Matters

Why Memory Matters

Education, Learning, Politics, Revision, Study Skills, Teacher Resources
Love or loathe them, the new national curriculum and exam changes are transforming the way our children have to learn. They now have to retain and recall large amounts of information when it matters most, in the exam.
This is a tall order for even the most talented and confident person, let alone a stressed 15 or 16 year old.
If we don’t do something now to help students then among the usual “Education in Crisis” headlines, there will be a heart – broken 16 year old who can’t study Engineering at College. He failed to get a C in Math because he forgot how to Factorise Quadratics.
Then there will be the young girl with high aspirations with offers from the top 3 universities in the UK but panicked in the exam and came away with D grades.
It is a grim thought, but thankfully an avoidable one. That is why memory matters.
Equipping students with metacognition skills such as, revision strategies, exam techniques and above all, a positive mindset, will be the key to success.
Our ‘Memory Matters’ workshop does exactly that, but if this hasn’t sold it to you already then this comment from a student we worked with recently should:
“I now believe I can do anything. If I set my mind to it, work hard, and believe in myself then there are no limits to what I can achieve. Thank you.” – Ben Year 10

For more information about how we can help students today prepare for tomorrow read our latest White Paper, “Why Memory Matters” by clicking here.

Education: how forgotten girls have the power to change the world

Education, Learning

Two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women. That’s 493 million women: more than the populations of the USA and Canada combined or enough people to fill Wembley stadium 5470 times. How depressing is that?

Improving equality in education is severely overlooked by governments who have more ‘pressing’ issues to deal with. Poverty, illness, the economy, overpopulation. Here’s the thing: evidence shows that improving women’s education reduces all these problems.

Educated women earn up 20% more, and have fewer, healthier children who are more likely to stay in education themselves. By teaching a girl to at least primary school level, you are not just improving her self-esteem and well-being, but that of her family as well. And so the cycle continues.

As a result of this, a country can increase their social and economic development significantly. It is clear that female education has an incredible power to transform societies. Unfortunately, this power is often seen as a threat.

Educated, opinionated girls are an extremist’s nightmare. Proof of this fact was given, in the most horrific way, when the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped almost 300 girls from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. The abduction shocked the world and led to an international campaign to ensure the safe return of the children.


The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls started trending on Twitter and within a few weeks the movement had exploded. Since then, over 3.3 million tweets have used this hashtag and celebrities have thrown themselves behind the cause. Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys, Angelina Jolie and David Cameron ensured that this was the story on everyone’s lips.

But that was months ago and 219 girls are still missing. It is feared that many have been sold into slavery or forced marriages. Small groups have escaped from Boko Haram but the rest remain imprisoned over 100 days later. The story has dropped off mainstream news and you could be forgiven for thinking that the world has forgotten the Chibok girls; I know it seemed like that to me.

However, while news channels have moved on to other crises in other countries, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai is ensuring that the girls are not forgotten. Since being shot by the Taliban for speaking up about girls’ education, Malala has become one of the most prominent figures in the fight for gender equal schooling. After the Chibok kidnappings, she helped to spread the #BringBackOurGirls message and has visited Nigeria to meet the families of students who are still missing.

Alicia Keys

I am the same age as Malala and she is a personal hero of mine. Two weeks ago she was encouraging Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to contact the families of the missing girls. I’m pretty sure my greatest achievement that same week was managing to get out of bed before 10am. Not quite the same really…

The following quote is from Malala’s speech at the United Nations in 2013. It really resonated with me as it emphasised how simple it can be to completely transform the life of a child for the better – these are inspirational words.

“So let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.” – Malala Yousafzai

Malala survived her bullet wound after being airlifted to the UK, where she now lives. I don’t know about you, but I’m incredibly proud to live in a country that is home to one of the most inspiring young voices in the world and the winner of an EU human rights award. She is still consistently campaigning for the right for all girls to go to school, as well as being a student herself. Now that’s impressive.

I am guilty, like many people my age, of forgetting how lucky I am to receive the education that I do – at 7 o’clock on a Monday morning there is nothing I would like more than to not go to college! I take it for granted that I can go to school and study anything that I want to without fearing for my life. A lot of girls my age do not have that privilege. Many are still too scared to walk to school because of the risk it poses – abductions and hate crimes towards schoolchildren are all too common. The fact that many girls continue to attend lessons shows just how determined they are to make a better life for themselves.

All the research points to one thing: educating girls can only have positive outcomes. Yet this is not enough to guarantee the schooling that is so desperately desired by many. It’s going to be a long fight to change attitudes and academic systems so that female education is brought up to the level that is needed – but I can’t think of anything I’d rather fight for.

Pupil Premium Funding

Education, Learning, Politics, Study Skills, Teacher Resources

The Pupil Premium Project 

As education professionals, we find ourselves facing increasingly challenging times. The recession has hit our schools hard but one shining beacon to come from the coalition has perhaps been the Pupil Premium.

The Pupil Premium shines a light on the sad but simple truth, that poor children achieve and attain at lower levels then their more affluent peers. The Premium funding is designed to help bridge the attainment gap.

Sutton Trust’s Pupil Premium Toolkit details the most effective ways of spending the funding. At the top of the tool kit’s list is to teach ‘learning to learn’ skills, including goal setting, reasoning and thinking skills.

That is why we have launched the Pupil Premium Project.

Amongst laughter (learning should always be fun!) we demonstrate essential learning techniques, such as, memory skills, understanding, A – Maps (like mind – maps but better!), critical reasoning, thinking skills, getting rid of revision, and exam preparation.

We then go one step further by compelling students to consider their future, set realistic goals and create detailed action plans.

Showing students how to use their imagination and creativity to make learning easier has a proven positive effect on their confidence and exam results.

A Headteacher of a school we recently visited told us,

It is difficult to ascribe improved exam results. But we changed just two things this year; moved the mock exams to an earlier date and hired Learning Performance.

To consolidate the techniques, we then work with staff and parents to spread the strategies for success across the whole school and at the students’ home.

From September 2013 schools can expect an increased focus on the performance and progress of Pupil Premium pupils from Ofsted inspectors.

To help with this, we collate a full evaluation on the success and impact of the project on students’ progress which can be included in the school’s report to Ofsted.

We have workshops designed for different age groups and abilities, from SEN to Gifted and Talented.

Together we can raise achievement.

What innovative things is your school doing to raise achievement? Tell us in the comments below!

For further information on the Pupil Premium Project and how we can help, contact us on 01903 872849 or email roger@learningperformance.com. 


Top Tips to Survive September!

1. Smile. Whatever happens. Smile

2. Call us on 01903 872849.

3. Chat to Roger or Carrie who will guide you through the September madness.

4. Book a study skills workshop to kick – start the new term!

5. Get creative. Read David Starbuck’s “Creative Teaching: Learning with Style”

6. Grab students’ attention with our lesson starters. 

7. Timing is everything. Get organised with these helpful tips. 

8. Discover “The Science behind Creativity & how you can use it in the classroom.” 

9. Check out our website then contact us 

10. Remember, you are the pack leader. You own that classroom. 

For more information about the workshops we offer for students, parents and staff then visit our website www.learningperformance.com or contact us on 01903 872849 or email roger@learningperformance.com.