Portsmouth schools awarded £368,000 to raise standards for city’s kids

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Nursery school for all three-year-olds

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DISADVANTAGED children in schools across Portsmouth are set to benefit from a project designed to help them think their way to achieving more.

The city will be the first in the country to be awarded £368,000 by the Education Endowment Foundation.

It’s part of a two-year project working mainly with Year 5 pupils, aged 9 and 10, aimed at developing children’s beliefs in their abilities.

The project is underpinned by 20 years of research which has found that teaching children to develop a ‘growth mindset’ enables them to believe that they can develop, and achieve more in life.

But children who believe they can never change are less likely to achieve what they want to. The University of Portsmouth, the city council, Pompey Study Centre and Portsmouth and SE Hants Education Business Partnership are piloting the Changing Mindsets scheme.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth will be helped in delivering the project to schools by 60 of the university’s students, who have ambitions to become teachers when they graduate.

Children will spend half a day each week for 10 weeks in workshops where they will explore where their abilities come from. They will be taken on trips to visit businesses, sports people and leaders who will talk about how they got where they are today.

Dr Sherria Hoskins, head of psychology at the university, said: ‘We call this a mindset, which means what children, and adults, think of their abilities. Do they think that they are born with it and there’s nothing you can do to change it?

‘Or do they think that you develop through life and challenge themselves so they have the ability to grow? People are very different in their views and this has a massive impact on their efforts.

‘This is an exciting project for all of us involved in delivering it and, crucially, for the children taking part.’

The project could be rolled out across the country.

Councillor Rob Wood, cabinet member for education, said: ‘We are delighted that we have been successful in our bid for this funding.

‘Portsmouth will be the first city in England to pioneer this innovative approach and if the pilot is successful then all schools could benefit from this approach. We are determined to raise attainment levels of all our pupils.’