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Growth Mindset and Learning Powers


At Mandeville Primary School, we help children to develop a growth mindset and eight learning powers so they can become successful lifelong learners.


Fixed and Growth Mindsets

The belief that your intelligence is limited is a critical barrier to having a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that they are born with a certain amount of intelligence and that it is fixed for the rest of their lives. People with a growth mindset, however, know that intelligence is not fixed and that their brain grows new cells when they learn new information and skills.


If you have a fixed mindset, you:

  • Believe intelligence is static;
  • Want to look clever;
  • Avoid challenges;
  • Give up easily;
  • See effort as pointless;
  • Ignore useful criticism.


A child with a fixed mindset is likely to plateau early and achieve less than his/her full potential.


If you have a growth mindset, you:

  • Believe intelligence is expandable;
  • Want to learn;
  • Embrace challenges;
  • Persist in the face of setbacks;
  • See effort as the way;
  • Learn from criticism.


A child with a growth mindset is likely to reach ever-higher levels of achievement.


It is essential that pupils understand that the brain can be developed like a muscle, changing and growing stronger the more it is used.


Learning Powers

Meta-cognition is the term used to describe learning about learning, or what learning consists of.


When tasks are more complex for a pupil, the quality of meta-cognitive skills rather than intellectual ability is the main determinant of learning outcomes. Learning powers provide children with the tools to be able to talk about and understand their learning, giving them a shared language. A synthesis of these learning powers from a number of well-known educationalists reveals eight.


  • Concentrate – manage distractions, get lost in the task, plan and think it through
  • Don’t give up – work hard, practise lots, try new strategies, ask for help
  • Be cooperative – listen to others, explain things to others, say when you don’t understand
  • Be curious – ask questions, notice things, research, think of possible reasons
  • Have a go – be excited to try new things, don’t worry if it goes wrong, learn from mistakes
  • Use your imagination – be creative, think up new ideas and questions
  • Keep improving – keep reviewing, make improvements, try to be better than last time
  • Enjoy learning – feel proud of your achievements, use what you have learnt in real life    













It is essential that pupils identify and extend their learning powers in the same way they would an academic skill.


Miss Kara Hales, Headteacher, was interviewed by 'The Exchange' the 'Herts for Learning' newspaper for schools in February 2016. 


The Exchange Article, please see below:
The Exchange Newspaper, please see below:


Assessment for Learning


At Mandeville Primary, we believe that effective assessment as part of on-going teaching and learning, with the active involvement of pupils, is a powerful means of improving learning and raising standards. Assessment for learning involves:

  • the sharing of learning intentions/objectives and success criteria with pupils, and the development of these with pupils;
  • giving oral and written feedback to pupils based on these intentions/objectives, with the feedback relating directly to their learning in a way that they can understand and act upon;
  • the use of questioning to help pupils express and discuss their ideas and their understanding;
  • the nurturing of pupils as independent learners through the development of self assessment and peer assessment.


We have previously worked with Shirley Clarke (educationalist) and the Local Authority as an action research ‘Learning Team’; exploring the latest developments in assessment for learning/formative assessment practice.


This approach brings about the very best learning for pupils across the curriculum and helps to develop pupils with lively, enquiring minds and good thinking skills. At Mandeville Primary we encourage all children to be enthusiastic and committed learners and aim to develop their confidence and capacity to learn and work independently and collaboratively.