How do we grow high performers?

High Performance Learning is helping schools ensure their students are given opportunities to thrive

It is no longer acceptable to talk about more able or less able students. Educational institutions need to shift their mindsets towards expecting all students to be able to achieve highly. While for some the route to success might be more challenging than for others, and may take longer, it is just as achievable.

If you are yet to be convinced that high performance is within the grasp of all, let us remind you of a time, not too long ago, when girls were considered not to have the same capacity for learning as boys.

Thus, girls were steered away from subjects like science and maths, removing opportunities for a whole raft of future careers. Whilst we now know this to be untrue, with girls often outperforming boys, some still believe that genetic potential limits how much children can learn.

While we inherit physical attributes like the colour of our eyes, science has found no proof that we inherit personal traits like the ability to work hard and do what we do well.

So, if brains are malleable and not genetically limited, most children are theoretically capable of high performance at school and beyond, but only if they are deliberately and regularly exposed to the opportunities to develop advanced ways of thinking and behaving when they learn.

It can seem that talented and successful people do not have to put in any effort but when you look more closely, the opposite is true. In 2006, neurologist Daniel Levitin found it takes 10,000 hours of practice to make an expert. Think what could happen to the minds of ordinary children and teenagers, whose brains are still growing, if they undertake deliberate practice in what they are learning.

So, in addition to shifting their mindset, schools need a detailed, deliberate and systematic approach to ensure their students are consistently given opportunities to develop their skills. High Performance Learning (HPL) is a mission-driven organisation, founded by Professor Deborah Eyre, that works with schools and teachers to change the face of education and deliver high student performance for the many.

HPL is currently working with school leaders from over 60 schools across the world to transform the way their organisations work and with teachers to develop high-performance learning approaches in the classroom, which ultimately uplifts learner performance.

“We are extremely proud of the wonderful results, in fact the best ever achieved by our students,” says Steffen Sommer, principal of Doha College.

“They are eminent proof that the adoption of High Performance Learning is making a real difference. Results in our first year rocketed up by 8% for the top grades with lower grades virtually disappearing.”

Educational institutions need to shift their mindsets towards expecting all students to be able to achieve highly

Two of the schools showcasing their adoption of the High Performance Learning framework at the upcoming HPL Annual Conference believe that the impact is more widespread:

Matthew O’Reilly, head of juniors at St Mary’s School, says: “Staff members have really welcomed the challenge of such a flexible approach and have experimented with all sorts of different ways of teaching and learning.”

Moreover, in a recent survey* of teachers at St Lawrence College (a school that has adopted the High Performance Learning philosophy), 100% of teachers felt HPL had positively impacted student motivation, wellbeing and self-esteem.

If you would like to hear more from these schools and many others, why not come along to the conference being held in London on Friday 4 October? Representatives from both St Mary’s and St Lawrence will be hosting a joint session, which will introduce delegates to some hands-on HPL lesson activities.

With over 60 schools from across the world signed up from the fast-growing community of HPL schools, it will be a brilliant opportunity to network with other school leaders who have seen the potential of HPL and find out about their experiences with the framework so far.


More details on speakers, the programme and attendee information can be found at: www.highperformancelearning.co.uk/hplconference

*The HPL survey was completed by 25 teachers from St Lawrence College in 2019