Building Learning Power


As a school we have been looking at how we can help our children become better learners.  We have been involved for the last year in a project working with Shirley Clarke, a renowned educationalist who lectures at various universities including the Institute of Education. One of the aspects of learning we have been experimenting with during this time is “Building Learning Power”.


Schools who take on the ‘Building Learning Power’ approach breed young people who are more curious, more willing to take a risk and give it a go, more imaginative, more creative, more thoughtful, more ready, willing and able to learn with and through others. It’s developing this adventurous spirit that counts’.


Professor Guy Claxton, originator of Building Learning Powers

At Winchcombe Abbey CE Primary School, our school ethos is one of striving to be the best we can be, recognising that we all have different strengths and interests. We firmly believe that Building Learning Power will allow us to nurture this ethos and build the children’s learning power through a variety of strategies and techniques.


 Key Principles:

  • It is a learning culture that encourages children and teachers to become better learners.
  • It allows children to approach difficulties in learning without fear of failure.
  • It allows the children to take small steps within learning.
  • It develops confidence.
  • It is not additional to teaching but should be grounded within everyday teaching and learning.
  • It gives clear labels for the children to use to develop understanding of learning processes.


As a school we want to use ‘Building Learning Powers’ to help us develop a common language for learning across the school, so that we help everyone to talk about their understanding of learning. We really hope that this understanding will spill over into life outside of school so that our children use and apply their learning skills in a wide range of ways.


The idea is that the four dispositions of Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness and Reciprocity (the 4 Rs), are like a group of "learning muscles". Just as we can build our physical muscles with the right kind of exercise, learning muscles can also be developed and can grow in strength and stamina. It is these we are aiming to develop in the children.  

The leaflet below will help to explain the individual aspects of the 4 Rs and how your child can use these skills to help them with their learning.


Please do come and talk to us about learning powers and any concerns or queries that you may have.