Building Learning Power

What is Building Learning Power?

Building Learning Power is an approach to learning that we have begun to implement at Ashton on Mersey School. This approach was created by Professor Guy Claxton. It is based on the idea that we are all capable of becoming better learners. Building Learning Power applies this idea directly to the work of teachers in the classrooms, to provide a practical framework for fostering lifelong learning in our pupils.

At Ashton on Mersey, our school philosophy is to achieve the best we can, recognising that we all have different strengths and interests. Building Learning Power allows us to nurture this philosophy and build our pupils’ learning power through a variety of strategies and techniques.

Learning Capacities diagram

Building Learning Power is…

  • based on a belief that the skill of learning can itself be learned
  • about the whole person – qualities, values, self-image, relationships, skills and strategies
  • about better life chances for young people

AoM pupils have been introduced to the concept of four learning muscles, known as the ‘4 R’s’:

  1. Resilience – willing and able to lock on to learning
  2. Resourcefulness – willing and able to draw on a wide range of methods and strategies
  3. Reflectiveness – willing and able to think about ourselves as learners
  4. Reciprocity – willing and able to use relationships in most productive and enjoyable ways

These dispositions are then split into seventeen learning ‘muscles’ that pupils are encouraged to ‘stretch’ within their everyday lessons and activities and apply to different aspects of their learning.

Why we are Building Learning Power?

A key aim at Ashton on Mersey School is to develop our pupils into lifelong learners, equipped for the challenges of living in a rapidly changing society.

We firmly believe in educating our pupils not just for exam results but for lifelong learning. Therefore, we place great importance in developing learning skills for life through an approach called, ‘Building Learning Power’.

How we have adopted the ‘4 Rs’

All Key Stage 3 pupils participate in Building Learning Power activities during their weekly Form Time programme. Each activity has a specific learning objective to develop one or more of the learning muscles. Form Tutors guide pupils through the activities with an explicit focus on how learning is taking place as well as what learning taking place.

We believe that pupils who are more confident of their own learning ability learn faster and learn better. They concentrate more, think harder and find learning more enjoyable. They do better in their tests and external examinations.

You can find out more about BLP by visiting


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