Watford Grammar School for Boys - Effective Learning Major Award 2019 - WINNER

WGSB are the deserving winners of the 2019 Effective Learning Major Award.   Geoff Curwen, Assistant Headteacher, constructed a detailed and wide-ranging bid for expert effective learning workshops across the school, staff INSET, parental workshops and specialist books.

The school launched their whole school “WBGS Learner – Developing a Learn to Learn Culture” program a year ago relying mainly on internal staff expertise.  They have now reached a stage where both pupils, parents and staff would massively benefit from bringing in outside experts.

Geoff’s bid was to bring in InnerDrive, specialists in growth mindset, metacognition and stress management strategies, to take their WBGS Learner program to the next level.

InnerDrive will deliver workshops to every pupil in years 7-10 and 12, two and a half days of staff INSET and parental workshops for each of years 7-9.  The school will also purchase a class set of pupil books and teacher books for each department.

Pupil workshops will cover a wide range of effective learning techniques from growth mindset, through communication and concentration techniques to “The Mastery Mindset”.  Parents will learn about growth mindset, understanding the teenage brain (good luck with that one!) and helping children revise.  The books are a graphic led, entertaining digest of many learning studies from across the globe with each one concluding in action points for pupils and lesson planning tips for teachers. 

This wide-ranging set of techniques, directly benefitting so many pupils and helping parents become effectively involved with their child’s learning, was a real strength of the bid.  Our always-important longevity box was well and truly ticked by the teacher training which will benefit pupils for decades to come.

WGBS’s bid promises to embed the training deep within the school as part of a three-year development plan and particular focus will be to close the current attainment gap between their 77 pupil premium students and the rest of the school.  The techniques and activities will form part of the Y7 transition program to ensure effective learning becomes the norm all through the school.



In November 2019, as part of our feedback programme, Geoff informed us of the initial impact of the programme...


It has been brilliant! Staff, students and parents have all given very positive feedback on the sessions. Staff now feel they have more understanding about what 'resilient learner' means and have been given concrete examples and ideas of how they can encourage their students to be learners and what are some of the key drivers in terms of student motivation. To date Year 9 parents have a had a session on the 'teenage brain' and say this has resulted in them feeling more able to understand ( and therefore support) their child at home. We have student 'effective learner' sessions planned for later this year and these willl provide a connection for them to our focus on the schools 16 (desired)learning attributes. An unseen benefit has been the relationship we have established with InnerDrive, that I am sure will continue beyond this year