St. Andrew's Primary School

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Ventrus MAT

Building Learning Powers

What is Learning Power?

Building Learning Power (BLP) is an approach to learning that we implement at St Andrews Primary. This approach was created by Professor Guy Claxton. It is based on the idea that we are all capable of becoming better learners. BLP applies this idea directly to the work of teachers in the classrooms, to provide a practical framework for fostering lifelong learning in all young people.

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.

Why are we Building Learning Powers?

We believe that BLP is beginning to allow us to develop a common language for learning across the school. The language is used in all classrooms, with all children. This helps everyone talk about understanding learning to learn. We hope that this understanding will begin to spill over into life outside school, where you will be able to reinforce the ideas by encouraging the children to use their learning language in their everyday lives. The idea is that the 5 dispositions (5 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 5-rs


Being ready to learn and not giving up.

-         Noticing

-         Managing distractions

-         Absorption

-         Perseverance


Having a range of learning strategies.

-         Questioning

-         Capitalising

-         Making links

-         Reasoning

-         Imagining


Thinking as a learner and how to do things better.

-         Planning

-         Revising

-         Distilling

-         Meta Learning


The social aspects of learning.

-         Collaboration

-         Imitation

-         Empathy and listening

-         Independance


Looking after each other and our environment

-      Showing manners


how you can help at home


  • Demonstrate/model sticking at things even if they are difficult.
  • Talk about how you feel when you are taking on new challenges.
  • Praise your child when they persevere but also encourage them to take a break when they have had enough.
  • Help them to find interests and activities that are really absorbing.
  • Talk with them about what helps them to concentrate and manage distractions.


  • Encourage questions.
  • Demonstrate making links between different ideas
  • Don’t allow your child’s imagination to shrivel up!
  • Help them to find ways of using resources such as dictionaries, reference books and the Internet.


  • Encourage them to take responsibility for preparing for school.
  • Ask not what they did at school, but what they learned.
  • Help them to think about, and plan activities.
  • Encourage flexibility and the ability to change a plan if necessary.


  • Demonstrate/model being a good learner.
  • Work, play and learn alongside your children, enabling them to pick up good habits through imitation.
  • Make expectations of turn-taking and co-operation clear.


  • Demonstrate showing respect to everyone
  • Listen to your children.
  • Remind children to take care of their things.

Ventrus MAT

Ventrus (formerly The Primary Academies Trust) was set up in 2011 by a group of like minded headteachers who wanted to build a stable and secure platform from which they could grow a network of excellent schools.

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