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Phase 0 – Finding out

Before making a start on this exciting and essential approach to education, leaders and teachers will want to explore principles, background research, and impact of learning power in schools. Our resources in this section are designed to help leaders and teachers explore questions such as:

What is learning power about?

Building Learning Power is an approach to helping young people to become better learners, both in school and out. It is about creating a culture in classrooms—and in the school more widely—that systematically cultivates habits and attitudes that enable young people to face difficulty and uncertainty calmly, confidently, and creatively. Students who are more confident of their own learning ability learn faster and learn better. They concentrate more, think harder, and find learning more enjoyable. They do better in their tests and external examinations. And they are easier and more satisfying to teach.

Building Learning Power—BLP for short—is an attempt to refocus schools on preparing youngsters better for an uncertain future. Today’s schools need to be educating not just for exam results but for lifelong learning; building their all important learning character.  To thrive in the twenty-first century, it is not enough to leave school with a clutch of examination certificates. Pupils need to have learnt how to be tenacious and resourceful, imaginative and logical, self disciplined and self-aware, collaborative and inquisitive.

What are the imperatives that point to the need for change in education?

Why does education need to change?

There are many changes, pressures, dissatisfactions and opportunities that are leading thousands of people around the world to ask the kinds of hard questions out of which philosophies and approaches like BLP have sprung.

The economic imperative

Education is often justified – by governments and others – as an investment in national competitiveness and prosperity, producing a workforce that is highly skilled, creative and adaptable to compete in global markets. But how well are schools doing in terms of producing large numbers of youngsters with these characteristics?

Report after report show ‘a significant disconnection between education systems around the world and the needs of 21st century employers’. There are repeated calls for a curriculum which would be effective at cultivating a core set of ‘generic skills and attitudes, pre-eminently, the ability to learn’.

The personal imperative

In the complex currents of globalisation, young people find growing up in the 21st century hard. Exposure to multiple pressures and uncertainties concerning deep issues such as livelihood, sustainability, sexuality, loyalty and identity is driving young people to despair or more reckless behaviour.

Whether young people flounder or flourish in the wider maelstrom of conflicting images and ideas depends on the resources they have at their disposal. To swim or sink demands a high level of mental and emotional development.

The social imperative

The UK government’s major Foresight project on ‘Mental capital and well being’ gathered a wide range of expert advice on foreseeable social and technological trends and the personal and material resources that will be needed to meet the likely challenges and opportunities. The report included that human well-being in a complex time will become increasingly dependent on the dispositions to be curious, inquisitive, experimental, reflective and sociable – in short to be lifelong and life-wide learners.

What do learning powered pupils, teachers and schools do differently?

What pupils, teachers and schools do differently in Learning Powered schools.

Listen to three teachers talking about what they saw children and teachers doing differently in a Learning Powered school. As they talk we see the classroom practice that inspired them.

For more, see our Core Model on how it all works

And what difference does it make?

A new study, made possible through  NCSL Closing the Gap research projects, found;

  • Pupils achieve mastery more quickly, learning more deeply
  • Teachers learn about learning
  • Pupils’ attainment rises
  • Teachers become learning coaches
  • And more….for the full story read the report below

Learn more about the research here

The products below will help you to answer your own starter questions about learning power.

Core programmes


Supporting programmes


Supporting materials


Phase 1: Making a start →

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