MMHS: Learning for Life

Matthew Moss is the "most radical school in England" according to Professor David Hopkins and was featured in Innovation Unit's influential publication "10 Schools for the 21st Century". However, the most remarkable thing about Matthew Moss High School isn't its critically acclaimed status, but the fact that it is an ordinary, non-selective state-funded school serving an underprivileged population. Mark Moorhouse, Headteacher, has led the charge to fulfill the school's mission of empowering young people for a life of learning both satisfying to themselves and significant value to others.


Moss High School's goal is to treat all of their learners with dignity and fully develop them as global citizens through CHANGE:


  • Composure - Remaining effective under pressure

  • High standards - Expecting much from selves and others

  • Agency - Knowing how to learn and make things happen

  • Numeracy and literacy - Mastering use of numbers and words

  • Growth mindset - Learning to succeed through practice

  • Empathy - Caring about others as well as ourselves.


MMHS is optimistic about the future and learning and is absolutely focused on developing children so when they leave school they are ready for the world and able to create happy, successful, and productive lives for themselves. While other schools are focused on pursuing teaching, standards, exam grades, etc., Matthew Moss High understands that students must develop the capacity to be effective learners in a rapidly changing world and that sitting quietly and memorizing exam information in the short term is not building successful 21st century learners. In order for this to happen, young people need three things from their schooling; knowledge, skills and a real sense of direction about their next steps. Students gain this by working on co-constructed projects, through which they take ownership and control of their learning; taking the opportunity to learn things that interest them and doing the planning, research, and project creation; working in teams or individually; and presenting their learning to outsiders.


Matthew Moss has always focused on learning and that effort was recognized in 2012 by the Innovations Unit in London when they named Matthew Moss High School as the only school in the UK ready for the 21st century. To get to this point, Moss High was built on the ethos of continuous improvement of learning. Teachers read, research, collaborate, and share ideas in addition to receiving training from global education experts. Their "holy grail" is to put into practice what they know about learning. To do this, the school creates opportunities for teachers to debate, argue, listen, and observe. They use the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) dimensions to help them discuss learning around the school and incorporate the following seven aptitudes:


  • Learning relationships

  • Changing and learning

  • Critical curiosity

  • Creativity

  • Strategic awareness

  • Resilience

  • Making meaning


Moss High School believes that when students feel respected, taken seriously, and like participants in their learning, that they connect better with the teachers, staff, and their education. They put the student at the center of their "Learning Agenda" and develop experiences that promote what the learner needs to be successful. Project- and inquiry-based learning does a lot of these for them by giving the student responsibility, allowing failure, allowing time to try again, and providing opportunities for learners to exercise their ELLI dispositions. In these contexts, teachers do not plan everything, but instead create space for the learners to co-construct their learning experiences and move forward in their learning for real outcomes and audiences so youth are prepared for the world.

Matthew Moss High School

Critically acclaimed by Sir Ken Robinson

Head Teacher:

Mark Moorhouse


Matthew Moss Lane

Marland, Rochdale, UK OL11 3LU