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Changing Minds Work Wins Again

Psychologists from the University of Portsmouth have been awarded £290,000 to run a project designed to improve the future of 11-year-olds.

The scientists are aiming to help 100 schools from across England as part of a £5 million campaign that has been launched by the Education Endowment Foundation, hoping to improve learning and character in pupils at school.

The trial will involve examining whether Year Six pupils can improve their grades through being taught by their teachers that hard work and dedication results in success.



The University’s project was chosen alongside six others to win funding made available to schools encouraging development in character traits such as motivation, grit and resilience.

Head of Psychology at Portsmouth and project leader, Sherria Hoskins is excited to work on the project, along with team members, Victoria Devonshire, Frances Warren and Mathilde Chavin.

She said:  “My team have worked with the EEF before and our previous work with them, a Mindset intervention also showed a really promising impact on children’s learning behaviour and attainment.

“In the new project we will be working with more schools and combining two small interventions into one where we train teachers to work with pupils on Mindsets, providing them with the intervention materials and lesson plans that we previously delivered to pupils.

We are still the only evidence based team that run trials similar to those used in new drug testing in the UK and deliver pure Mindset interventions, so this makes us the perfect choice for this kind of work.”

Despite having been selected already, the team will begin their three-year project next September as other schools are still being selected.

The 13 new trials are expected to involved 45,000 pupils in 1,100 schools and will test a variety of ways to improve the grades given to disadvantaged pupils.

Students will be given the opportunity to participate as 72 undergraduate students were awarded with unit credit or money for helping carry out the last project.  Sherria believes that the students’ involvement is vital in ‘creating knowledge together’ and will provide students with experience for the future

This year the team hopes to work with more students due to the larger scale of funding which only paid for 15 students in the last project.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “We know that traits such as motivation and perseverance can have a positive effect on academic outcomes yet we know very little about how best to instil these in our young people. The six new character-based trials EEF announced today will provide much-needed evidence on which methods genuinely add value.”

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