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!


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.


2014 – 2015 Impact Report

Creativity, Education, Pupil Premium, Study Skills
It is interesting, medical treatment is entirely based on robust evidence. A doctor wouldn’t give us a drug that was proven not work. Nor would the science community declare a new revolutionary gene, for example, without decades of research and evidence. Yet, bringing research and evidence into teaching and learning practice is a relatively new phenomenon.

When my parents started Learning Performance Training 23 years ago, they knew the transformational power learn to learn strategies had on their son. Every day since then we were confident of the impact we had on inspiring and empowering young people.

So when the Education Endowment Foundation launched their toolkit and highlighted meta-cognition and self – regulation (learn to learn skills to you and I) as a key way to raise student achievement, we all did a huge air fist pump. It solidified what we had known for twenty odd years.

I’m a massive advocate for evidence – based teaching. For UK schools to be cutting – edge and relevant in fast changing world we need research, evidence and education as a whole, to be progressive. After all, our children at the very least deserve an education that will allow them to flourish in school and beyond.

That is why, we have bought to you our 2014 – 2015 Impact Report. It is a fascinating and powerful read.

It shows staggering results on how a meta-cognition or learn to learn programme can dramatically raise attainment. Below is a snippet from the Impact Report.
St Thomas Infographic
You can download and read our 2014 – 2015 Impact Report by clicking here
Impact Report

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. 

Learning is Fun. Promise.

Creativity, Education, Learning, Learning Performance, Motivation, Teacher Resources

“I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.”

Natalie Portman

I was so disheartened last night after a twitter conversation with @tesbehaviour that I fancied crawling under the bedcovers, only resurfacing for flapjacks and custard creams – the two best things in the world.

I didn’t do that, of course, tempting as it was but I did have a cup of tea with custard creams – any excuse.

A well – respected educational resource with a large following said “learning can’t always be fun.” Five trigger words that makes me want to leap onto my moral horse and gallop into the teaching battlefield screaming ‘Infidels! Fun Learning War!’ 

I am a realist. I do realise that not every lesson will be a roller coaster of rip – roaring laughter. We are teachers, not stand-up comedians. So it is important to realise ‘fun’ doesn’t just mean mucking about.

‘Fun’ is defined as something that brings pleasure or enjoyment.’  Synonyms are; interesting, engaging, & gratifying.

Surely that is exactly what learning should be?! 

To argue students misbehave because they are bored or think its funny is missing the point. Pupils shouldn’t be bored or having to seek their amusement elsewhere. Lessons that engage, interest and gratify students demonstrate that education and school has tangible value. And when we value something, we pay attention and work hard.

It doesn’t take much energy, time, planning or imagination to make learning fun and yes, this includes even so – called ‘difficult’ subjects like Maths or Science. See Lesson StartersRevision Games & Creative A – Maps for some quick & adaptable ideas.

And a big thank you to Miss Sykes & Helan Victoria who shared their enthusiasm for learning and preventing me from falling into a custard cream coma.

What we learn with pleasure, we never forget. 

Timing is everything – Time Management

Education, Exams, Learning Performance, Motivation, Revision, Study Skills, Teacher Resources

I’ve been struggling to manage my time recently. There simply isn’t enough hours in the day. So I thought I better sort my chaotic life out, and practice what I preach.


Everyone likes a good list, especially if you can tick things off immediately. But once I’ve written my list of things to do I rate them. The official line to students is to rate them as per the following:

A = Very Urgent (deadline imminent)

B = Quite Urgent (deadline about a week away)

C = No so Urgent (deadline longer than a week)

Personally, I use colour and symbols. I won’t tell you what the symbols are, they’re rude! Moral of the lesson is that you can use whatever rating system that works for you.

Good Plan

A list is all very good and well but you can action any of the points unless you can plan or know what you are going to do.

This is where my five golden features come into play:

1. Description of the task

2. Allocation of priorities

3. Estimation of the time needed

4. Setting up a timetable (if necessary – this is good for revision)

5. Monitoring of progress (basically a big fat tick when that blasted task is done!)

This may seem very basic and common sense (it is) but I’m always surprised to find students who simply don’t know how to manage their time.

It’s easy to identify pupils (and adults for that matter) who haven’t got effective time management strategies. They are usually the ones drowning in work, buried under the pressure of unfinished assignments and missed deadlines. Then you have the opposite spectrum; those who are so overwhelmed by the tasks ahead they bury their heads in the sand and pretend its not happening.

With exams so close, it may be an idea to remind students of these simple strategies to keep them in track. Failing that encourage them to download an app on their phone. I’m lost without my ScatterBrain app.

For more information please visit our website www.learningperformance.com 


The Science Behind Creativity and A – Maps

Creativity, Education, Learning, Learning Performance, Study Skills, Teacher Resources

At the hub of pretty much all of our brain’s activity is the reticular activating system. Bear with me this article does get better.

Let’s call it RAS for short. It is the filter for all internal thoughts and for all external information that comes through our senses. Briefly, it is the bit of our brain that decides what we will and won’t be conscious of. RAS tends to adore new or surprising things and focuses on stuff we find relevant or interesting. That is why we are unable to prevent drifting off during a long and boring lecture or can’t concentrate when we are hungry or thirsty.

One way to ensure pupil’s RAS doesn’t filter out your lessons is to tap into the different areas of their brains.Broadly speaking, the brain operates in two main ways, creatively and logically. It is often said the brain is divided into two halves; the right side being creative and the left side is logical. This is, of course, purely figurative as the creative and logical functions of the brain intermingle all over the place. But for simplicity I’m going to use the classic right and left.

Creative activities involve anything that taps into imagination, imagery, rhythm and rhyme. Whether you are running a guided imagery exercise, or getting the class to rap, or watching a video this is appealing to their right brain.  Whereas, anything text – based, or involves ordering and sequencing is obviously logical. Solving math puzzles, making flow diagrams and reading from a textbook are left brain activities.

However, creativity is no good without order, and logic is not productive without an imaginative spark. The two halves have to form neural connections in order to operate effectively. One cannot exist without the other. That is why tasks that use both sides of the brain tend to grab students’ attention as they stimulate the neural connections.

A great exercise for students that uses both sides of the brain is Association Maps or A – Maps. They are particularly good for revision but can be used daily. I use them constantly and my brain gets a mental kick every single time.

A – Maps are a creative and logical diagram that organize thoughts, formulates a structure, and condenses information in an imaginative way. By using colour and images, and forcing the mind to be logical, mapping combines the left and right brain beautiful.

There are just two golden rules to A – Maps;

  1. They are not brainstorms or spider webs; words and images should be written directly on the line not in some bubble floating off somewhere. This is a strict rule, because writing or drawing on lines helps the mind associate and recall the information in the right order and place. See it is very logical!
  2.  Less is more. No sentences, just keywords or images that are triggers.

Here is an outline of a good A – Map. Note how logical the structure is with a central theme, main idea as key branches, then details flowing out. All should link together.

amap basic

Then unleash your students’ imagination and see how effective A – Maps can be. Check out this students’ A – Map on Mice and Men.

A-Map Mice and Men

The science highlights the importance of creative teaching. To me, creative teaching is teaching to enhance the learning process and your role as a teacher. It is about how you present yourself as someone who cares & enjoys their subject, how you motivate pupils to participate and understand, how you go about making learning fun and engaging. That is the essence of creative teaching.

Plenty of research shows a more creative approach to learning improves results. If pupils have an awareness of how they learn they have greater control and ownership over their work. It becomes personal. And we all know that as soon something is personal we focus and work hard to get better results.

In terms of pupil learning, we call it learning performance – focus, energy, enthusiasm, comprehension, and results (hence my company’s name, Learning Performance Training!).

This article can also be found at Schools Improve Net. Feel free to comment or share on twitter


Get Rid of Revision. Work Smarter Not Harder.

Creativity, Education, Exams, Learning, Learning Performance, Revision, Study Skills, Teacher Resources

Revision is a nasty word with many negative connotations. It stops students having fun, it fills them with dread, it is connected to boredom, exams, and stress.

That is why we (Learning Performance Training) Get Rid of Revision and use the Reviewing Philosophy. This is about working smarter not harder.

When we learn new links are formed between neurons in the brain.  These connections are strengthened every time you review what you have learned. If these connections are not reviewed regularly they fade over time so it is important to review information regularly and creatively.

This is our suggested review schedule.





 For how long?

 First Review


 10 minutes later


 About 10 minutes
 Second Review


 1 day later About 5 minutes
 Third Review


1 week later Between 2 – 5 minutes
 Fourth Review


 1 month later Between 2 – 5 minutes

Reviewing does not need to be a time consuming process, as long as the time is used effectively. Timetables are a great way to manage your time. You can download a template Timetable here.

Remember, to schedule in 5 minute stretch breaks every 30 – 45 minutes. Trust me, students may think studying all day means will get more done BUT the brain’s level of recall and understanding diminishes significantly after an hour or so. Therefore, all that ‘hard work’ is a waste of time.

Give yourself a break. Work smarter not harder.

Lesson Starters: Grab Students’ Attention.

Creativity, Education, Enterprise, Exams, Learning, Learning Performance, Study Skills, Teacher Resources

Students will have done lots of things since they last saw you. So you need to get their attention. Here are some motivational and fun lesson starter ideas that require minimal planning:

  • Paper Aeroplanes

Give students 30 seconds to recall three main points about a particular unit, topic or even the last lesson they had with you. Have them write down their points on a piece of paper. Make a game of this, apply mock pressure as the time runs out or even have the Countdown clock counting down the thirty seconds!

Once you are satisfied with their answers get the pupils to create planes with their paper. Place a bin in the middle of the room and explain the bin represents their brains. They have to aim their planes into the bin or brain! This game can be taken further by giving a prize to the student who lands their plane first!

This exercise encourages students to recall information, while jazzing things up so they don’t actually realise they are consolidating their learning. Students will remember shooting the planes and with association the points on it.

  • You say we pay

This can be a class exercise or students can be put into pairs. If using as a class exercise, show one student an image or something relevant to the topic/lesson. They then have to describe the image to the rest of the class, without saying exactly what it is. This can be made tougher by introducing taboo words that can’t be said.

  • Who am I?

Classic game. Write key terms on a series of post – it notes. Stick a post it note on each pupil’s head and get them to ask their partners questions about who/what they are. Their partners can only answer yes or no.

  • Bob It.

Bobbing is the art of raising yourself out of your seat a little bit then sitting back down. It is the kinesthetic equivalent of putting your hand up. Simply question the class and get them to ‘bob’ if they think it is correct. For instance, ‘World War II began in 1939.’ Mix it up with false statements to catch students out.

This is also a good way to gauge pupil’s knowledge and highlight any areas that need extra work.

These ideas should kick – start your lesson and have pupils engaged from the beginning. Remember to enjoy yourself too!

If you liked these ideas try David Starbuck ‘Creative Teaching; Learning with Style.’ or www.learningperformance.com







Creativity can unlock so much.

Creativity, Education, Enterprise, Exams, Learning, Learning Performance, Study Skills

A small school in Northern California is experimenting with a new way of learning.

Nightingale Elementary School are using a different teaching philosophy where the staff collaborate in creating learning plans that broaden students’ education and skills. For example, teachers collectively decide  what the school’s academic focus will be for a month or so. Let’s say it is health. Students then read biographical books about cancer survivors in English class; they create an interactive timeline of cancer treatment discoveries in history class; they understand oncology counts in math; and finally there might be a visit to a nearby cancer research center for science class.

The idea is that students remain engaged and are better prepared for life beyond school.

As a company, Learning Performance, has visited numerous schools with different creative teaching methods. David Starbuck, author of ‘Creative Teaching; Learning with Style,’ has a brilliant vision statement for creative schools, which I think sums it up nicely;

A creative zest for learning and for life – Aim to provide outstanding and motivating opportunites for all our pupils to really enjoy learning, to be part of the learning process, and to establish the skills needed to enjoy and flourish in their life beyond school”

The great thing is, bringing creativity to the classroom and curriculum doesn’t have to be mission impossible. It can be used daily. Take for example, this teacher I met at one of our INSET workshops where we talked about the need to appeal to the pupils’ left and right brains. One of the maths teachers came up to me during the break and told me his brilliant idea;

He got his students to play darts (I assume the Velcro variety, but you never know, it might be the real thing!) They played darts and had to add up the score as quickly as possible and subtract it from the overall score. The pupils got competitive – in a good way – as they all tried to call out the correct score before anyone else. They all had fun, and they were doing mental arithmetic!

Creativity unlocks so much. It develops a pupil’s passion for a subject, pupils’ enjoyment of a lesson, it rejuvenates teachers, inspires confidence and unlocks potential. If you have an idea, try it.

If you would like to know more read David Starbuck’s ‘Creative Teaching,’ I can’t recommend it highly enough. Or for Nightingale Elemmentary School’s full story visit Mindshift.

Feel free to comment below or join the discussion on twitter @LPerformance