Ellesmere College is now one of the community of schools across the world that has adopted the High Performance Learning approach based on the work of Deborah Eyre. This doesn't change what we teach but it will influence the approach we take to showing pupils how to learn. We believe that every child has the potential to be an effective learner and with self-belief, and a good toolbox to draw from, they can achieve greater success at their learning, and become confident about learning for life.
HPL, or High Performance Learning, is a framework of teaching developed from research into how children learn. It reflects what is known about advanced thinking skills and learning behaviours that help us to build 'better brains'.
The founder of HPL, Professor Deborah Eyre, has created a structure for learning excellence that works across different nationalities, cultures and jurisdictions, so it can be shared by schools across the globe.
Neuroscience research has shown that there is not a fixed level of ability amongst young learners, and that the brain is more malleable than once thought. HPL provides a style of learning that removes barriers to achievement, by giving children an opportunity to develop in their own time. This reflects our long-held belief that there is 'room at the top' for more students than traditional approaches suggest.
As a High Performance Learning School, we develop an evidence-based set of HPL skills and attitudes. From confidence, collaboration and risk-taking to agile thinking, concern for society and perseverance - we ensure our pupils are prepared for study, work and life. At Ellesmere, success is not limited to exam results; it is about achieving academic excellence alongside a much wider set of values and attitudes that sit at the heart of our ethos, as well as supporting the happiness and well-being of every pupil.
HPL identifies key characteristics and attributes that prepare young people to succeed in learning and in life, and categorises these into Advanced Cognitive Performance characteristics (ACPs) and Values, Attitudes, Attributes (VAAs).
Taking the ACPs and the VAAs in turn, some examples of the characteristics and attributes we are nurturing in our pupils are as follows.
Meta-Thinking: Reflecting on their own thinking, knowingly using a wide range of thinking approaches, and transferring knowledge from one circumstance to another; Self-regulation The ability to monitor, evaluate and self-correct; Big picture thinking Working with big ideas and holistic concepts.
Linking: use connections from past experiences to seek possible generalisations and assist conclusions.
Analysis: Critical or logical thinking; the ability to deduct, hypothesise and reason; Complex and multi-step problem solving The ability to break down a task, decide on a suitable approach and then act.
Creating: & Intellectual playfulness The ability to abandon one idea for another or generate multiple solutions.
Realising: The ability to use some skills with such ease as they are no longer require active thinking.
Empathetic: Collaborative Seeking out opportunities to receive responses to work, to present their own ideas to others clearly and concisely and to listen to and act upon the views of others.
Agile Thinking: Enquiring Being curious, proactive and thinking independently; Creative and enterprising; open-minded and flexible in thought processes.
Hard-working: Resilience Overcoming setbacks and remaining confident, focused, flexible and optimistic; Perseverance Being able to keep going, to face obstacles and difficulties but never give up.