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The VESPA Handbook

40 new activities to boost student commitment, motivation and productivity

By: Steve Oakes , Martin Griffin


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Products specifications
Attribute nameAttribute value
Size9.21 x 7.24 inches
PublishedSeptember 2024

Availability: Coming Soon

Written by Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin, The VESPA Handbook: 40 new activities to boost student commitment, motivation and productivity offers 40 concrete, practical tools and activities that will supercharge learners’ ambition, organisation, persistence and determination.

The Vespa Handbook builds on the success of Steve and Martin’s acclaimed books, The A Level Mindset and The GCSE Mindset, by introducing 40 new activities that will help teachers improve the grades of their students. The handbook is a perfect introduction to the VESPA approach, as well as a practical addition to previous resources. Just like their previous books, The Vespa Handbook will help teachers develop the five key characteristics and behaviours that students need in order to regulate their own learning: vision, effort, systems, practice and attitude. When it comes to achieving academic success, these characteristics are crucial. The ability of students to have a vision, commit the effort, be organised, practise and revise well and have a positive attitude and good work ethic are vital to their success.

The 40 activities included are set out clearly and categorised thematically under the VESPA umbrella, making them easy to navigate and use in any setting. Each activity can be delivered one-to-one, to a tutor group or to a whole cohort, and is designed to take fifteen to twenty minutes to complete. These activities will help your students to set goals, work more efficiently, organise their resources and manage their workload.

The Vespa Handbook will empower learners to unlock their potential, overcome obstacles and take control of their own knowledge and skills. It has been written with students in mind and includes spaces for them to record and reflect on their answers and organise their thought process. The book offers a comprehensive toolkit of study techniques, strategies and approaches that can be applied for effective learning, planning, organization and execution. Steve and Martin share practical advice and valuable insights for teachers looking to improve their students’ resilience and ambition, based on their combined 40-plus years of experience in teaching and coaching.

Suitable for teachers, tutors and parents who want to boost academic outcomes in 14–18-year-olds and equip them with powerful tools and techniques in preparation for further education and employment.

Picture for author Steve Oakes

Steve Oakes

Steve Oakes has over 20 years' of experience as a teacher and leader, and has been a Head of Sixth Form at two successful schools in the UK and the UAE. As a current Head of Sixth Form, he works closely with students to maximise levels of engagement and commitment, designing high-impact interventions and practical tools for improving academic performance.

Picture for author Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin has over 20 years’ experience teaching and coaching post-16 students. He was a Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head at a successful comprehensive school for eight years, and has worked with hundreds of schools and colleges in the UK and beyond to design and implement study skills, character development and mindset programmes. 



  1. The VESPA Handbook begins with a vital question: what are the characteristics and behaviours of successful students? In this fascinating student guide, Oakes and Griffin explore the mindsets and practices of successful students, using their findings to help readers achieve similarly impressive results. With a range of sensible strategies and a wealth of practical advice, this is the perfect book for students who are keen to improve their study skills and reach their full academic potential.

  2. This book superbly builds upon the first editions by enabling students and teachers to deliver activities bespoke to need. Activities you can pick up and deliver that need no previous study or experience can be used by schools and colleges to support their learners in a variety of capacities to enable both academic and well-being progress. With a keen focus on developing metacognitive skills and enabling learners to self-evaluate their own development needs, it encourages educational practitioners to think beyond the curriculum and more about key life skills essential for learners’ ongoing transitional journey to further and higher levels of study and career pathways. These activities will definitely refresh and uplift the VESPA model further.

  3. Steve and Martin have the incredible ability to frame ideas and suggestions to develop learner habits in a way which just simply makes sense to teachers and students alike. Their research is relevant, and their suggestions are presented in an inviting style while challenging our students to truly reflect on how they are as learners and how they could be much more successful. A true staple of a successful curriculum.

  4. Post-pandemic, nothing is quite what it once was. More students than ever seem to need extra support to enable them to study effectively. This latest book in the brilliant VESPA series acknowledges things have changed. This handbook provides teachers with a superbly curated set of new activities for students, which are organised upon the original VESPA structure but are shaped to address the new normal in the classroom. It's an essential resource for anyone trying to boost students’ commitment to their studies.

  5. There’s a lot to love in The VESPA Handbook. I really like the fact that it’s rooted in reality and is extremely useful for the teacher who has concerns for all their students. The advice and direction offered to teachers is exemplary, privileging honest attainment and success at a human level, which, in turn, makes the handbook indispensable. I’m grateful to Martin and Steve for writing it.

  6. Martin Griffin and Steve Oakes clearly understand what makes both students and their teachers tick! In this highly practical handbook, they’ve taken leading-edge educational research and combined it with their own teaching experience to create a host of easy-to-follow activities, many of which can be completed in the brief window of tutorial time. This is a fantastically rich resource that should be required reading for anyone working with young people who aren’t yet fulfilling their potential – it should certainly be on the bookshelf of every head of sixth form.

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