Growing mindsets in education

Our Mindset in Education programme has continued to grow over the past few months. Teachers who started the Mindset Champions course last year are now delivering their practical growth mindset projects in their schools. 

Kincardine-in-Menteith Primary School in Stirling, is working with parents to use growth mindset tools at home; and Cargenbridge Primary School in Dumfries and Galloway, are developing pupils as ‘growth mindset champions’ to engage with their peers and work on mindset language and learning.

Fallin Primary School in Stirling developed a growth mindset approach and vocabulary in an early years’ class, with an emphasis on numeracy.

Using ‘Class Dojo’ videos the teacher worked with pupils on areas such as perseverance and importance of mistakes. The children very quickly started using the mindset vocabulary.

The school conducted pre- and post-project questionnaires and the results show very positive significant improvement in attitudes to maths. These results were also reflected in Scottish Government attainment data, showing an increase of 10% in numeracy from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

  • 94% of pupils previously agreed maths is mainly about things that have to be learned, rather than working things out, but now only 15% agree
  • 32% of pupils used to say that 'when I find maths hard, I give up' and now 0% agreed with this statement
  • 58% of pupils used to agree that you can learn more about maths but you can't change how clever you are, but after 0% agreed

Mindset Leaders (formerly Train the Trainers) 

The Mindset Leaders programme encourages school or local authority leadership – like head teachers or a department head – to form Mindset Teams with classroom teachers (Mindset Champions) and complete a mindset learning journey together across whole schools. 11 schools have completed the Mindset Teams online learning and have started working on their projects. 

Fintry Primary School in Dundee, has witnessed an extraordinary confidence change in one Primary 6 pupil who now feels able to read out loud in front of his peers having previously felt unable to speak at all in school. This turnaround happened after the school delivered growth mindset lessons to their Primary 6 pupils. 

The Primary 6s are now working with Primary 2s to deliver growth mindset messages. The older children read books with a mindset theme to the younger pupils, and then work with them to complete activity sheets that build on their learning. 

Fourth year pupils at St Paul’s RC Academy, Dundee, received growth mindset support to become more engaged at school, leading to one pupil deciding to “stay on at school and get more grades”. 

The school invited a sports role model to share his experiences with the pupils of achieving success through hard work and overcoming adversity. Keith Cook, a British champion fencer from Edinburgh, ran sessions to develop their resilience and work ethic. 

After just eight weeks, there was a significant reduction in disciplinary incidents across all of the pupils, and a drop in the number of times poor behaviour was recorded for most of them. 

Mindset in Numeracy 

We have two local authorities who have commenced dedicated programmes of Mindset Teams focused on numeracy. In North Lanarkshire, 93 participants from 42 primary schools and two secondary schools as well as eight senior staff from the local authority are taking part in this course, as well as 78 participants from 18 primary schools and four secondary schools across Renfrewshire. 

Mindset in numeracy focuses on reducing ‘maths anxiety’ and uses mindset approaches to develop ‘mathematical mindsets’ where teachers use discussion, visuals and conceptual approaches to engage young people in numeracy learning. 

Further information 

If you would like more information about any of our work, please contact the Winning Scotland Foundation team on 0131 281 0875 or email