Arrowsmith Multiple Year Whole Cohort Program (Whole Cohort Program)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a ‘cognitive’ program more beneficial than a ‘tutor-based’ program?

Tutoring focuses on what your child is learning. Tutoring is focused on learning skills, facts, and academic content. Arrowsmith is not teaching content or skills, and doesn’t provide compensations or work-arounds. Arrowsmith changes how your child learns. Changing the brain’s capacity to learn is foundational to all learning. The Whole Cohort Cognitive Program provides an opportunity to change the brain’s capacity to learn content. Arrowsmith’s cognitive exercises fundamentally change and strengthen the brain’s ability to learn academically and even socially and emotionally. If we change our brain, everything in our reality changes.


What year levels is the program best for?

At Marsden the program will be for Year 2–5 students. The exercises have been chosen to correlate with what is appropriate to the demands of learning for each year level. Cognitive enhancement is built on what makes sense for each year level, and will work to enhance the brain’s capacity to learn.


Is the program available for Year 1 students?

The Arrowsmith Whole Cohort program is for students from age 6, hence we are starting it in Year 2 for our Primary students. Even though our Year 1 students won’t be involved in the Arrowsmith Program, they will engage in alternative activities to support their cognitive development at their level.


Is my child missing out if they are not starting the exercises from Year 2?

Benefits will be gained from the program at whatever year level your child starts.


Will the program continue into Years 7 and 8?

We are open to exploring this in the future as the Whole Cohort Program can extend to these year groups. However, we will focus on establishing the program in the Primary school first.


What exercises will my child be doing?

Please refer to the table provided in the Whole Cohort Program information document.

How often will students do the exercise allocated to their year group?

Year 2–5 students will be doing the exercises between 30–40 minutes per day. Scheduling the program into the school day is flexible and will fit into the daily schedule of each year group. All sessions will be facilitated by Arrowsmith trained teachers.

Is there a particular assessment?

The Arrowsmith assessment, which students in the Arrowsmith program complete, will not be undertaken for the Whole Cohort program, as this is an enhancement program, not aimed at individual needs. However, we will monitor the effectiveness of the program on student learning using existing assessment tools e.g. writing assessments, PATs, PaCT. We will be able to compare progress against 2021 whole cohort measures.


When do students typically start to see results?

Typically, it is around the 3-month mark that students, parents and teachers commence seeing changes in the student’s learning ability which is specific to the cognitive function being targeted.


Is there an additional cost for the Whole Cohort program?

Yes, but Marsden will pay the per student cost for all Marsden Primary students taking part in the Whole Cohort Program. There is no additional cost to Marsden families.


What if my daughter is already doing the Arrowsmith Program at Marsden?

If your daughter is a part-time Arrowsmith student (1–3 periods per day), and is scheduled to do an exercise in the existing Arrowsmith program which is the same exercise her class will be doing, she will complete that exercise with her class instead. Subsequently the school will cover the cost of this exercise. Any other exercises your daughter continues to do in the existing Arrowsmith Program, will be at the usual costs.

For full-time Arrowsmith students, program fees will be at the usual cost.


When we think of training a muscle, we see that if you stop training, you can lose what you have gained. Is this similar with Arrowsmith? Will the changes last, or constantly need to be worked?

Arrowsmith students have been tracked after 10, 20, 30 years of completing the program and no drop-off in their functioning has been detected. Students do not have to continue to do the exercises. The belief is that once the function is strengthened, it starts to work more efficiently and effectively within the neural network of the brain and as a result, it is getting stimulation. No function works independently but works as part of a wider system. If a cognitive function was weak to begin with, compared to the other areas in the neural networks, it was not fully engaging, so it was not getting full stimulation. Once a function is strengthened, it gets its own stimulation by being used within that neural network. The learner does not need to continue with the exercises, because when they go out in the world, they are using that specific function, because it is strengthened. We have seen no drop-off in function overtime.


How can the Whole Cohort Program prepare students today for 20 years from now? What is landscape? What is future going to be like?

Numerous think tanks over the past 20 years have posed the question: How can education prepare students today for an uncertain world where the types of jobs that might be required cannot be predicted? Answer – prepare their brains. The Whole Cohort Program puts the brain firmly in the Education Equation.

The brain is a human’s most critical asset. It allows one to adapt, think flexibly, solve problems, and meet future challenges. By enhancing the brain’s capacity to learn, students are equipped to be life-long learners, to meet novel challenges and handle uncertainty. It is enhancing critical cognitive capacities that will prepare students for whatever the future presents us with.

The World Economic Forum has identified 16 skills for the 21st century – every one of these is positively enhanced by the cognitive programs offered by Arrowsmith. Change the brain, change cognition, change learning, change acquisition of academic skills, change social-emotional wellbeing.

The goal of the Arrowsmith cognitive program is to:

  • enhance the brains functioning so that it is honed to reason
  • think critically
  • collaborate with others and their ideas
  • be curious
  • be agile and adaptable to meet novel challenges
  • be empathetic
  • generate creative solutions
  • have mental initiative and the grit and persistence to see plans to fruition.

The fact that Arrowsmith trains the brain processors that make possible reasoning and rationality, is arguably one of the most important positive developments one could imagine for our world, with its complex problems.
Norman Doidge Author of ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’

Whole Cohort Program


How does it work?