High Perfomance Learning

We empower our girls to aim high in life.

As a High Performance Learning School, we develop an evidence-based set of HPL skills and attitudes. From confidence, collaboration and risk-taking to agile-thinking, concern for society and perseverance - we ensure our girls are prepared for study, work and life.

HPL, or High Performance Learning, is a framework of teaching developed from research into how children learn. It reflects what is known about advanced thinking skills and learning behaviours that help us to build 'better brains'.

The founder of HPL, Professor Deborah Eyre, has created a structure for learning excellence that works across different nationalities, cultures and jurisdictions, so it can be shared by schools across the globe.

Room at the top for more

Neuroscience research has shown that there is not a fixed level of ability amongst young learners, and that the brain is more malleable than once thought. HPL provides a style of learning that removes barriers to achievement, by giving children an opportunity to develop intelligence in their own time. This reflects our long-held belief that there is 'room at the top' for more students than traditional approaches suggest.

Nurturing skills and attitudes

We have always strived to develop both intellectual and social confidence, encouraging girls to show concern for others and to prepare for life's challenges. For us, success is not limited to exam results, it is about achieving academic excellence alongside a much wider set of values and attitudes that sit at the heart of our ethos as a Mary Ward School.

HPL identifies key characteristics and attributes that prepare young people to succeed in learning and in life, and categorises these into Advanced Cognitive Performance characteristics (ACPs) and Values, Attitudes, Attributes (VAAs).

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Taking the ACPs and the VAAs in turn, some examples of the characteristics and attributes we are nurturing in the girls are as follows.

Advanced Cognitive Performance characteristics (ACPs) – thinking skills


Reflecting on their own thinking, knowingly using a wide range of thinking approaches, and transferring knowledge from one circumstance to another.


The ability to monitor, evaluate and self-correct.

Big picture thinking

Working with big ideas and holistic concepts.


Critical or logical thinking; the ability to deduct, hypothesise and reason.

Complex and multi-step problem solving

The ability to break down a task, decide on a suitable approach and then act.

Intellectual playfulness

Recognising rules and being able to bend them.

Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs)


Seeking out opportunities to receive responses to work, to present their own ideas to others clearly and concisely and to listen to and act upon the views of others.


Overcoming setbacks and remaining confident, focused, flexible and optimistic.


Being able to keep going, to face obstacles and difficulties but never give up.

Creative and enterprising

Being open-minded and flexible in thought processes; demonstrating a willingness to innovate and invent new and multiple solutions to a problem or situation; adapting approaches according to need and being resourceful.


Being curious, proactive and thinking independently.

These ACPs and VAAs are the vital building blocks to creating higher cognitive performance and, supported by their teachers, all students will take ownership in the process of personally developing them.

Find out more about High Performance Learning at our school. Read some of our recent blogs: