Carol Dweck, a principal researcher in Growth Mindset, stated, 

“In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.” 

 At Hadley Wood Primary School, we know that pupils who have a positive attitude towards their learning will make good progress and be successful. Consequently, instilling all our pupils with ‘growth mindsets’ has become a key priority for the school. We have introduced the theories of Dr Carol Dweck to staff and pupils and are determined to embed its ideas within our school ethos.  

We want all of our pupils to relish challenges, embrace their mistakes as part of the learning process, value the importance of effort, respond carefully to feedback and take inspiration from others. This will help them to achieve, not only with us, but also in their future lives as adults. 

We are very excited about the prospect of nurturing a growth mindset culture at our school. To see how our growth mindset approach has helped us. We asked the children in each year group how they felt Growth mindset has helped them. Some of their responses are captured below: 

You can read the feedback from each class in detail by clicking on each of the links below:  

Year 2 Growth Mindset Feedback

Year 3 Growth Mindset Feedback

Year 4 Growth Mindset Feedback

Year 5 Growth Mindset Feedback

Year 6 Growth Mindset Feedback

Encouraging children to become confident and resilient learners 

Hadley Wood is a ‘can do’ school for all where every child matters. We firmly believe that every child is unique and therefore brings different experiences, skills and ideas into the classroom. This in turn influences how they and others around them learn.  

We would like all children to achieve their very best in all areas of school life in order to become confident, capable and caring individuals. 

Confident + Capable + Caring = Success

This is the core belief we aim to instil in all of our pupils. We know that in order to fulfil the potential of our pupils and encourage them to become confident and resilient learners we need to be model the mindset of a learner who is not afraid of making mistakes but who thrives upon them, knowing that this is all part of the learning process. The way in which we encourage children to learn and explore is vital to their success.  

Central to our growth mindset approach to learning, are the theories and proven evidence of growth mindset. This is a term coined by psychologist Carol Dweck and her research has identified the characteristics of learners with a fixed and a growth mindset: 


The theory behind Growth Mindset is based on the premise that two types of mindsets exist that children and adults may possess, a ‘fixed’ mindset and a ‘growth’ mindset. Below is an overview of the traits of each: 

Fixed Mindset 

  • I like my work to be easy 
  • I don’t like to try a challenge 
  • I want people to praise me for how clever I am 
  • I believe I cannot change how clever I am 
  • I don’t like to try new things because I won’t be very good at it 
  • I give up easily 

Growth Mindset 

  • I never give up 
  • I like my work to be difficult – it means I am learning 
  • I love challenges 
  • I want people to praise me for the effort I put into my work 
  • I believe I can get more intelligent by working hard 
  • I feel clever when I’m learning something new
  • I learn from my mistakes 

It has been proven that having a Growth Mindset can improve children’s progress and attainment. As a result, we are teaching our children that by having a Growth Mindset they can grow their brains and intelligence and are more likely to achieve.  

 The following video explains the concept in more detail:  

Our Curriculum drivers:  

Our core curriculum drivers of resilience, independence and curiosity reflect our ambition for our children to fulfil their potential. We have threaded each of our drivers throughout our curriculum to encourage our pupils to grow as learners and take calculated risks.  

Key aspects of growth mindset at Hadley Wood:  

  • We celebrate making mistakes – we can learn from them; 
  • We never give up – perseverance is the key if we are to succeed; 
  • We learn from each other; 
  • We challenge ourselves and take risks; 
  • We remember that our brains are making new connections and growing all the time. 

How you can help at home: 

  • Praise the amount of effort your child is putting into things rather than how clever they are; 
  • Talk to your children about their brain is like a muscle – the more they use it, the stronger it gets; 
  • Encourage your children to not give up if they are finding something difficult; 
  • Challenge your children to try something new or challenging. 

 For further information on how to encourage confident and resilient learners at home, have a look at some of the links below.