What is VESPA? 

For several years, we have been working alongside Martin Griffin and Steve Oakes from The Blue Coat School in Manchester on how to establish and sustain positive learning mind-sets at Key Stage Four.  Over the last five years they have worked with more than a hundred schools to develop effective non-cognitive skill development systems. They have developed an acronym- VESPA to pinpoint the 5 most important areas for pupils. 

V = VisionHow well do our pupils know what they want to achieve?  
E = EffortHow many hours of independent work do they do per week?  
S = SystemsHow do they organise their learning and time?  
P = PracticeWhat kind of work do they do to practice their skills?
A = AttitudeHow do they respond to setbacks?  

This year during House Time we will be working to help equip our pupils with the skills they need to develop and sustain a positive mind-set as they approach their GCSE exams.

What will my child be doing? 

1. A questionnaire.

Year 10 and 11 pupils will be taking a revision VESPA (Vision – Effort – Systems – Practice – Attitude) questionnaire. This will see them answer questions honestly about how they approach their learning. There are no right or wrong answers and we urge pupils to be honest as this will ensure that they get the most from this initiative. A detailed report will then be collated which will give an overview of areas of strength and areas for revision.  A second questionnaire will be completed later in the year.  

2. House Time Activities

During House Time your child's tutor will be taking them through the VESPA program. Their tutor will deliver activities which are designed to help improve and build on your child's vision, efforts, systems, practice and attitude.  

Why are we using VESPA? 

We know that Covid-19 has presented our students with many challenges and we want to ensure that all Noadswood pupils are equipped with the skills that they need to be successful.  We want to encourage our pupils at Key Stage 4 to develop a positive learning mind-set. As we know, sometimes pupils can ascribe disappointing student progress to cognition. They may feel that they are 'weak' or diagnose their performance in terms of their intelligence; some might say 'they aren't capable of this work' or 'they're not bright enough to grasp this'. However, there is a growing body of research that suggests something very different: successful students approach their studies with a specific set of behaviours, skills and attitudes so that despite not differing cognitively from their peers they can significantly outperform them.  In short, academic success can be as much about character as it is about intelligence.  Our VESPA sessions are designed to help our pupils develop successful learning habits for Noadswood and beyond. 

Are we the only school doing this? 

In short, no. Noadswood is part of a team of other local schools including Applemore and Hounsdown who are uisng VESPA to help support our students. Local colleges such as Brockenhurst College already use the VESPA model to help support their students through A-Level. 

How can I find out more? 

The book which this is based on is entitled ‘The GCSE Mindset’ (Crown House, 2017) and is available within our school library. It is also available on amazon (click link)

GCSE Mindset

This details month by month a series of activities that pupils can do to help them in their GCSE journey.  

You can also visit the author’s website - This details more about the research underpinning VESPA and the program itself. 

VESPA Mindset

We will be regularly communicating with you what VESPA strategies your child will be completing. The more they practise these, the more effective they will find these. 

Please do view the VESPA tricks and strategies for parents via the link (click here)