Under Starters Orders – Growth Mindset at the start of a new academic year


As a middle manager it is always tricky leading whole staff INSET, there is the possibility that after the one off day of input the content gets lost amongst the bigger school agenda. However the Mindset INSET has and always was backed by SLT in our school and thus has some real practical implications for the new academic year and beyond. If you find it helpful you can access the resources I used, and some I created, for INSET on this padlet. I haven’t included the specific data accumulated for my own school though. It is also worth mentioning that HT Chris Hildrew has recently posted an excellent blog on what his school is doing as they launch Growth Mindset, it’s well worth a read.


Whole School

As a whole school we are having a growth mindset contribution to every INSET, ensuring a link between all we do and our growth mindset attitude. After each INSET I will follow it up with a growth mindset bulletin, just like the one shown below which was distributed to all staff in July. 


This first bulletin was created to help equip staff with the language of growth mindset to use in their marking and conversations with students.

On the first day of term all our students have an extended tutor time. This year part of this time will include all tutors explaining growth mindset to the students. This will use some of the resources from my pad let plus a specific powerpoint which I am in the process of putting together. This will ensure that from the outset we all share the same knowledge and together we can begin to work on our mindset.

The only difference to this will be for year 7 who will first of all complete the mindset questionnaire. This will ensure that we have mindset data for all current students, a baseline for the end of the year when once again we will measure student mindsets with the questionnaire.

Once we get to half term I will be meeting with those students who are recorded as having the most fixed mindsets. I will then be spending a tutor time each week for a term working on exploring growth mindset and helping them to change. I will be putting together a set of tutorials on this over the next few weeks. Ultimately the aim would be to equip these students to be growth mindset ambassadors, supporting the next student intake.

Finally as a whole school I have also planned all whole school assemblies around a growth mindset theme so weekly together we explore what it means to have a growth mindset.


In my own department we have been fortunate enough to move into a brand new teaching block with two RE rooms and a pleasant entrance. We have started to create our own wall of excellence (see below) and the first thing to go on there will be our A-Level and GCSE results.


We have also made use of the two side walls to share our ethos.


In the classrooms we have created six window posters using @sparkyteaching resources, each reflects a growth mindset attitude;


Finally we have also created our own sets of stickers that can be placed on work 

IMG_0537 These are our draft copies. Curently waiting for final versions to come back from the printers!

Finally we used an idea I came across on twitter (sorry as I cant trace original source of the idea) and we have created bookmark type level cards. The students will be setting their own aspirational targets this year. Their only restriction is it must be higher than the minimum target that they are given by the school. As the student completes all the requirements on their  bookmark they move on to the next. However if a student is currently a level 4 we will give them a level 4 & a level 5 bookmark, encouraging them to take risks and aim beyond where they currently are. 


This also all ties in with our departmental marking strategy.

As Hattie says there is nothing we do in teaching that doesn’t work, and these strategies in themselves are therefore guaranteed to work. I guess however that the challenge is more about the concepts here becoming an embedded, stakeholder owned ethos, then it would seem the impact can be expected to be far greater. 






About Learning to Teach Lorraine Abbott

Deputy Headteacher in a Surrey School Author for Hodder Education
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One Response to Under Starters Orders – Growth Mindset at the start of a new academic year

  1. Pingback: When the going gets tough…. | Meols Cop High School

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