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Penn Wood Primary

and Nursery School

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Growth Mindset


At Penn Wood School, we are fully committed to fostering a growth mindset in our pupils.


We recognise that hard work and effort are important to achieving success and allowing our pupils to grow and develop. We ensure that in the classroom, time is given to not just learn new concepts and ideas but to practise new skills and internalise facts and information.


Using the work and approaches of Carol Dweck, Professor Deborah Eyre and John Hattie, we believe a growth mindset can be achieved by working to promote, instil and develop the following attributes.  



Metacognition is about pupils' ability to monitor, direct and review their learning. Effective metacognitive strategies get learners to think about their own learning more explicitly, usually by teaching them to set goals, and monitor and evaluate their own academic progress.


At Penn Wood school, we foster independent learning by ensuring we free up pupils' working memory by providing scaffolds initially, modelling examples, displaying key concepts on our working walls and in knowledge organisers. Teachers are skilled at using their 'metacognitive voice' to model thinking and effective questioning by the teacher allows pupils to make connections to other concepts taught whether within the subject itself or beyond it. 



By so doing this, we will help to:


Raise aspirations of all
Develop and instil a desire for learning that is deep and lasting
Give the pupils the opportunity to keep on growing and developing in their learning



Thinking tools

At Penn Wood School, we believe children should be actively engaged in a deeper thinking process to truly comprehend and understand ideas and concepts. This requires that they not only see and hear but mentally manipulate information, considering its implications and significance, comparing it with what they already know, synthesising and digesting it and sharing it with others.

In order to achieve this, we use the following approaches to scaffold effective thinking and learning skills:

1.  Visual tools - use of thinking maps (David Hyerle) and Singapore bar models

2. Dispositions- work of Deborah Eyre, "High performance learning"

3. Reasoning activities (using principles from P4C)



Visual Tools

Singapore bar model

The bar model method is a strategy used to visualise mathematical concepts and solve problems. The bar model is the pictorial phase of the concrete- pictorial-abstract process. The bar model can be adapted to show the relationship of whole and parts in both additive and multiplicative reasoning and to solve a range of problems. As pupils progress through the school, they are able to manipulate the bar in more sophisticated ways to demonstrate their deep understanding of concepts such as ratio and proportion, conversion of fractions, decimals and percentages and enumerating possibilities with two variables.

The following are examples of children using bar models in school:

Thinking Maps (David Hyerle)


Thinking Maps® created by David Hyerle, are visual tools that represent different types of thinking carried out in the classroom. The maps allow pupils the opportunity to develop, amongst other thinking skills,  the ability to compare and contrast, describe, sequence ideas as well as identify  patterns and relationships.  The Thinking maps below are just 4 examples of 8 different maps that are used at Penn Wood School across the different areas of the curriculum. These maps can also be used at home to support pupils’ learning in reading in their reading record books. As pupils progress through the school, they become more knowledgeable to choose and select the maps themselves that they require for the type of thinking they are engaging in.

The following are examples of children using thinking maps in school:

Reasoning (using principles from P4C)


Using the principles from P4C, we also offer opportunities for pupils to develop their deep reasoning skills. Tasks are tailored to allow rich discussion where multiple answers are considered, various view- points are shared and children are encouraged to use evidence across a range of sources and subject areas to justify their ideas. Pupils are encouraged to pose questions to deepen their understanding. Reasoning tasks are planned across the curriculum with pupils focussing on the disposition of being open minded to enable them to be fully engaged and receptive to new ideas.

A selection of the type of activities and tasks the children engage in can be found below:

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