Building Learning Power

Building Learning Power (BLP)



What is “ BLP?

BLP (Building Learning Power) is all about learning in a different way. BLP supports pupils learning by helping pupils to become more independent, more reflective and better able to plan and evaluate their own learning. The principles of BLP are based on a great amount of proven research by lead educationalists such as John Hattie and Carol Dweck and is based on the premise that intelligence is not fixed but expandable and we can develop and improve our learning muscle which is our brain.

BLP has similarities to a number of other systems that focus on developing key life skills such as opening minds, PLT’s,(personal learning and thinking targets) AfL (assessment for learning) collaborative learning and kagan structures.

Why do we have BLP lessons?

At Crosby High we believe in the importance of developing skills in our pupils which will support them in their adult life and ensure they have a range of wider skills required for 21st century life. Examples of these key skills are resilience, resourcefulness, confidence, independence and understanding that we can continue to “grow” our brain and therefore BLP learning helps pupils to develop a positive approach to lifelong learning.  Too often praise is given to pupils who are putting in effort, but not learning, in order to make them feel good in the moment: “Great effort! You tried your best!” It’s good that the pupils tried but it’s not good that they’re not learning. The growth mindset approach helps children feel good in the short and long terms, by helping them thrive on challenges and setbacks as they are learning. When they’re stuck, teachers can appreciate their work so far, but add: “Let’s talk about what you’ve tried, and what you can try next. This fits in with our “I can” approach to learning which is embedded throughout our curriculum.

What do pupils do in BLP lessons?

In our BLP lessons the first premise is that learning is active. Staff plan learning activities that stretch and exercise the full range of learning orientated “habits of mind” as well as working on ways of building pupils confidence in their own capacity to learn which in turn boosts attainment and performance.

Staff aim to provide increasing opportunities for learners to design and direct their own learning, they exemplify the traits of an effective learner ie learning habits, learning dispositions  not skills and knowledge and they constantly use  the language of learning power eg a growth mindset not a fixed mindset.

What is a growth


Carol Dweck coined the phrase “growth mindset“ after a great deal of research and evidenced based discoveries. Dweck found that pupils’ mindsets—how they perceive their abilities—played a key role in their motivation and achievement and also that if educators changed pupils’ mindsets they could boost pupils achievement. More precisely, pupils who believed their intelligence could be developed (a growth mindset) outperformed those who believed their intelligence was fixed (a fixed mindset). At Crosby High we wanted to introduce this approach as there was evidence that if pupils learned through this structured program they could “grow their brains,” increase their intellectual abilities and make further progress. It is by having children focus on the process that leads to learning (like hard work or trying new strategies) this fosters a growth mindset and pupils benefit.


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When are BLP lessons?

BLP lessons are every Wednesday afternoon. All classes are timetabled for BLP at the same time which allows for groups to be changed and adapted; for example the group could be vertically streamed so pupils of different ages work together or specific groups can be chosen for example if we are performing in a show like “Wally Cain” the group can work together on Wednesday afternoons.

How is BLP measured to show pupils are making progress?

We have devised a bespoke assessment process which enables us to track pupils’ growth in ten areas for example as confident and independent learners. This assessment structure enables us to measure the progress of pupils in these key skills (often referred to as the “soft” skills.)

The ten areas are;

  • Strong communicator

  • Self manager

  • Independent worker

  • Team worker

  • Taking responsibility

  • Creative thinker

  • Reflective learner

  • An effective practitioner

  • Being resilient

  • Being resourceful

Each of the 10 areas has three differentiated levels of progress for pupils to address (bronze, silver and gold) and their progress is measured over the 5 years our pupils are with us.

How do teachers recognise progress?

Teachers assess in a variety of ways. Teacher assessment through observation is valid and observations can be recorded. Other types of evidence can be pupils own learning journals, records of best moments of learning, photos demonstrating using the learning habit, pupils answers to questionnaires, teachers markingand formal assessments, recognition stickers, pupils own tick lists, self assessment and peer assessment. All pupils have a BLP portfolio where evidence of their work and achievements are shown.  

How does BLP support pupils’ progress towards their EHCP targets?

All pupils at Crosby High have an EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan) which identifies the key areas the pupil needs to develop under four headings; Communication & Interaction, Cognition & Learning, Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties, Sensory and/or Physical Needs. Many EHCP objectives are academic however many are also concerned with their development socially and emotionally. Learning in these areas is incorporated into our “soft skills/life skills” framework. Teachers use each child’s EHCP to decide which BLP objectives will deliver and support progress against EHCP outcomes; teachers then plan a unit of work accordingly.

Do pupils like BLP?

Pupils are very positive about BLP. They look forward to their lessons and talk confidently about their progress in the skills they are working on. Pupils respond well to the idea that their minds/brain can get fitter, stronger and more supple just like their bodies. They are also proud of their portfolios of work which show all the different activities they are able to engage with through this programme.

Do staff like BLP?

Staff enjoy BLP as it allows them to be very creative in planning the activities as they want the lessons to be active and exciting. Staff have seen the difference BLP can make for example children with a short concentration span learn how to concentrate, children learn how to think more carefully, solitary children can learn to collaborate effectively, dependent children can learn to enjoy evaluating and improving their work, children with low self esteem can discover there’s pleasure in choosing and struggling with different things.

Can we see some examples of learning through BLP?

Please go to our gallery to see some examples of pupils engaged in learning in their BLP lesson.


Find us


Crosby High School

De Villiers Avenue



L23 2TH


Tel: 0151 924 3671 Fax: 0151 931 5083

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