An extract taken from High Performance Learning World Class School St Mary's Cambridge's Accolade Magazine written by Global Lead Teacher Dr Andrew Flint. 

Feedback from teachers to pupils is a vital aspect of effective Teaching and Learning. It has a particularly central role within the High Performance Learning framework, because it fits entirely with the ‘with the students, not to them’ approach. This year we have chosen to make student engagement with feedback the central aspect of the House Points system: students receive House Points for successfully improving their work on the basis of the feedback from their teacher.

Effective feedback avoids trait-based comments such as ‘You’re so clever’ or ‘Great work – just what I would expect.’ These phrases suggest that the child possesses innate qualities or permanent, pre-established traits that cause them to succeed. They send the message that their ability levels are fixed. Instead, as an HPL school we encourage students to develop a growth mindset, to be confident that, through dedication and focused practice, all students can achieve at a high level.

When students focus on the grade or the mark they receive, they tend to compare themselves with their peers or to see the grade as the most important aspect of the work. Furthermore, problems can develop when students who are always used to achieving high grades find new work challenging and their grades dip. A student who has always received praise for being ‘intelligent’ and who believes that intelligence is a fixed trait beyond their control is less likely to possess the resilience to seek new ways to think or work that will be necessary for success as the material they study becomes more complex.

In contrast, HPL helps to create a culture in which the score on the work is less important than the lessons that they learn from it for the future. Instead of comments relating only to that piece of work, they receive guidance that helps to develop their metacognition, and advice on the kinds of skills or approaches that they might employ to improve in the future. It might encourage students to find connections with other work in that subject or to reflect upon how what they have learned in other curriculum areas might help them to see the bigger picture or wider topic.


Here are some examples:

• How did you get that answer? Could you explain what you did?

• Why do you think this piece of work was so successful?

• What made you pick this strategy to answer the question?

• Could you try a different strategy next time?

• What could you do differently?

• Compare this essay to the one you wrote at the

start of the year: what is different?

• This is a fascinating answer. Can you tell me more: what else do you think about this question?

• Has this work shown you any gaps in your understanding? What could you do about this?

• Where do you think this answer fits into the bigger picture?

• What skills did you use to answer this question?

• What other subjects could you use to help you understand this topic better?


By providing feedback that takes the form of questions of this kind, we encourage students to reflect upon how they can improve and take greater responsibility for their own learning. It supports them not to see the grade or mark as the main objective but rather to see their work as part of an ongoing process of improvement over which they have agency. Supporting students to develop a growth mindset helps them to succeed not only now, but in their future education and on into the adult lives and careers.


 An extract taken from High Performance Learning World Class School St Mary's Cambridge's Accolade Magazine written by Global Lead Teacher Daniel Taylor. 

Since St Mary’s gained certification as a High Performance Learning (HPL) World Class School, we have continued to work tirelessly in the Junior School to integrate HPL within our school ethos and environment so that pupils become outstanding learners and leaders within their communities.

When I started my teaching career, I served as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator in the United States, and I have continued passionately supporting and advocating for children who require specialised support. Over my time as an educator, working in various schools and teaching a wide range of age groups, I have found one common theme. Students may not necessarily remember the exact topics we teach, but they will take away the life skills that we, as teachers, impart. Therefore, I became fascinated with the HPL framework when the St Mary’s Senior Leadership Team first pursued it. HPL creates a structure wherein pupils develop specific values and learning attitudes, backed by training critical thinking skills which can be used throughout their lives.

In April 2020, I became an HPL Global Lead Teacher, following in the steps of my Senior School colleague, Dr Andrew Flint. My interest was centred on the premise of HPL’s ambitious claim that all children can achieve at a high level when given the proper environment and guidance. Specifically, I was keen to demonstrate the efficacy of the HPL framework within Special Educational Needs planning and programmes. There is a common misconception that children with specific learning difficulties (SpLD) often cannot achieve as highly as some of their peers. Professor Deborah Eyre, Founder and Chair of HPL, has been challenging this idea within educational settings in general, as set out in her policy paper ‘Room at the Top’, but I wanted to focus on this specific group of pupils.

Just like Professor Eyre, I believe that any child can achieve at a high level regardless of ability. However, this idea becomes trickier to navigate when children have a difficult time accessing curriculum content due to specific learning needs, such as dyslexia. This is not to say that these children cannot achieve at as high a level as compared to their peers, but it does mean that educators must think more critically about how to create an environment where students with SpLD can be given the opportunity to successfully explore the HPL framework, such as the thinking skills of meta-thinking, linking, analysing, creativity, and realising. I contend that Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos) and teachers must partner together to create what I call “Effective Entry Points” to HPL.

Within my role as an HPL Global Lead Teacher, I am working to develop structures and ideas for SENCos and other educators to create these “Effective Entry Points”. I believe that it starts with considering the HPL Values, Attitudes, and Attributes structure. Specifically, pupils with SpLD must be given the resources and training to support their development of agile thinking and a hardworking ethos. In HPL, Professor Eyre stipulates that an individual must be willing to take risks and learn to think creatively, while also persevering if they are to develop a High Performance Learning mindset. Children with SpLD can at times struggle with perseverance as compared to their peers, but perseverance has been shown to increase dramatically when children are provided with targeted resources. When a student feels confident to use given resources within a lesson, they are more willing to take risks and push boundaries. This is where real learning takes place, and where thinking skills begin to develop long term benefits.

My hope is that as an HPL Global Lead Teacher I will be able to support my colleagues at St Mary’s, and collaborate with fellow educators across the country. My aim is to develop HPL more comprehensively within our learning support system at the Junior School, focusing on effective entry points, so that children with SpLD will be able to achieve at their highest levels. By working with other schools through various training sessions, conferences and workshops, our school will continue to successfully develop our HPL programme so that more students are positively impacted.

GEMS Royal Dubai School (GRDS) took control of the High Performance Learning (HPL) Twitter account on Thursday 21st January to share what a day is like at an HPL School. 

Throughout the day, GRDS shared what an average day looked like, best HPL practice, and celebrated their student's achievement. 

We pulled some Tweets together into the moment below:

Who are GEMS Royal Dubai School?

GEMS Royal Dubai School has a bespoke learning model (The RDS Learning Wave), complemented by a Concept Curriculum ensure a holistic approach where students develop webs of information rather than memorising straight facts. Their talented and dedicated teaching team focus on the whole child, with their intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative and spiritual potential being developed alongside academic knowledge.

 Want to know more about High Performance Learning? 

High Performance Learning (HPL) is for ambitious Headteachers, Principals, Senior Leaders and Governors who want to strengthen teaching and learning with a framework that protects well-being and delivers student outcomes. Sign up for one of our Make Your School A High Performance Learning School sessions led by Professor Deborah Eyre.  

Register Now

The Persyou 'The Talks' Podcast, hosted by Nicholas McKie and supported by FOBISIA: The Federation of British International Schools in Asia, spoke to Dr Steffen Sommer Principal of High Performance Learning World Class School Doha College.

With over 25 years of experience in education, and having led three very successful British international schools across Europe, prior to taking on the headship at Doha College, his expertise in the field of education is substantial. Steffen is a well-known and active figure within the international education scene; he is Vice Chair of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), and co-founder of the international division of HMC, a professional association of heads of the worlds leading independent schools. A family man and passionate linguist, Steffen has a PhD in Translation Studies and speaks six languages.

Listen to their conversation here:

You can also listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or where ever you usually listen.

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