A Vision for HWCS 2018

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Vision Building at Harrow Way: HWCS in 2018

On the INSET day on Tuesday 6th May 2014, we were able, as a teaching staff, to take part in a vision-building session  ‘A Vision for HWCS in 2018′. Vision can mean different things to different people, collectively; I hope we’ll shape something ambitious and exciting but also grounded and practical for HWCS to work on over the next 3 years.

In cross curricular groups I asked you to think about the school that you would like HWCS to be in 2018, referencing a list of categories:


I will undertake this exercise over the next few weeks with other stakeholders in school, including support staff, governors, students and my parent forum group. Later in the summer term, with the senior team, I will look through this feedback and our own Self Evaluation (SEF) centered around achievement, teaching, behaviour and safety, leadership and management and SMSC to put together our next 3-year strategic plan, ready for launch in September 2014.

The differences Dweck establishes are well illustrated in this video.

Growth Mindset is the idea Professor Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Dweck has conducted a lifetime’s research into mindsets and established an opposition between a fixed mindset (the belief that intelligence is fixed) and a growth mindset (the belief that intelligence can grow).

Dweck’s research falls into the category of most of the best of our research into education, in that it merely ends up confirming the eternal truths of the classroom: turn up, work hard, study, do well; work harder, do better; believe you can improve and you probably will, believe that you can’t and see what happens.

Dweck’s approach to mindset was sparked by her own experience of education. In her book, she describes what happened in her sixth-grade class:

Even as a child, I was focused on being smart, but the fixed mindset was really stamped in by Mrs. Wilson, my sixth-grade teacher… She believed that people’s IQ scores told the whole story of who they were. We were seated around the room in IQ order, and only the highest-IQ students could be trusted to carry the flag, clap the erasers, or take a note to the principal. Aside from the daily stomachaches she provoked with her judgmental stance, she was creating a mindset in which everyone in the class had one consuming goal—look smart, don’t look dumb. Who cared about or enjoyed learning when our whole being was at stake every time she gave us a test or called on us in class?

In simple terms, we need to reverse this trend we need to be producing Hobnob learners, not Rich Tea! as Peter Kay explains…


The overarching principle is the idea of ‘challenge for all’.  If we really want to develop a growth mindset and get students to raise their aspirations, we have to raise our expectations of all students.  By doing this, they get used to the struggle of learning, and learn to overcome obstacles – and so become grittier. Angela Duckworth describes the importance of grit here:

We also need to ensure that we support them with meeting these expectations – through excellent explanations, modelling, questioning, feedback and the opportunity to practise – lots. Teaching staff at HWCS have responded brilliantly to this – there are a growing number of examples around the school of high expectations and excellence being shared.  A great example of this is illustrated here by Dweck talking about the power of ‘yet’:



A potential new buzz word at HWCS…


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