Room at the Top, 2010
This is the essence of High Performance Learning (HPL), a two-year programme and accreditation scheme upon which all staff at Tormead embarked in September 2018. The principal aim of HPL is a shift away from the long-held notion that high achievement is a privilege reserved for the top few. Neuroscience and psychology teach us that we can in fact build ‘better’ brains and HPL provides us with a practical and user-friendly framework with which to achieve this. Prominent names within the world of educational research such as Dweck, Bloom and Ericsson have been saying similar things for years: we need to give young people the opportunities to grow their minds.
Professor Deborah Eyre’s lifetime of academic research has been based on the success of more able learners. She has identified the characteristics of how gifted people ‘learn’ and ‘behave’, categorising these as Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPs) and Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs). In lessons, teachers are providing the girls with opportunities to practise these key behaviours, which pupils must become proficient in, to become high performance learners. HPL also uses enquiry-based learning as a foundation. Teachers are presenting girls with ‘big questions’, which stimulate their intellectual curiosity and allow them to take responsibility for their own learning journey. What most excites us about HPL at Tormead is the shared language that it gives us to discuss teaching and learning and how these essential skills will certainly equip the girls for wherever their future paths may lead.