Maths permeation at St Bernadette's Primary School, Falkirk

Marianne Savage, the head teacher of St Bernadette’s Primary School in Falkirk, has introduced growth mindset gradually across her school and is involved in promoting mindset work across her local cluster schools.

She has seen staff adapt practices, beginning with maths lessons, and pupils increase in their confidence and willingness to challenge themselves.  Marianne began to investigate growth mindset to address dips she noticed in her school’s maths attainment, in particular from P5 upwards. 


Teachers were given training on growth mindset but given freedom about whether to introduce anything new to their classes. Following a session sharing ideas, all staff came on board, every class, due to the testimony and ideas from colleagues. Some chose the ‘learning pit’ to start with. 

Other classes used a ‘challenge‐o‐meter’ for children to self‐assess, initially on a central display and now in their jotters. Some classes have introduced Number Talks, which focus on process rather than correct answers, and it has been noticed that the children’s mathematical language and confidence has improved: 

"We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of children who are willing to try, to challenge themselves." 

Permeation across learning 

After establishing new practices in maths and seeing successes, the growth mindset concepts were taught to children as a discrete subject and used across the curriculum in classes. Marianne used the idea of using puppets to emphasise growth mindset concepts to younger children. A few have been purchased for use in nursery and primary one to three classes. The characters will be named by the whole school and used in class to encourage and notice growth mindset behaviour.  

The upper school have been working on comics in literacy and will develop the characters of the puppets and put them into stories in comic form. The comic(s) will be professionally produced and the product used to introduce new children to the characters.   


Marianne has initiated a cluster‐wide growth mindset group, with representatives from all seven primary schools in the cluster, and teachers from a few departments of the high school. Introducing growth mindset is part of their cluster improvement plan. The group meets termly to share what has been happening in individual schools, good practice ideas for implementing mindset, and any reading that individuals have found useful. All schools are at the beginning of their growth mindset journeys, and the focus has been on within‐school developments. Next year the group plans to increase this scope and consider how to involve parents. 

To find out more take a look at the full St Bernadette's case study.