The study aimed to identify brain functional indicators of working memory systems development between 6 and 18 years. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 251 normally developing children to stimuli requiring the updating of working memory. Cluster analysis of event-related potential componentry divided the sample into three clusters (mean ages 9, 12 and 16 years), with ascending cluster membership independently associated with improved task performance. The clusters correspond to periods of grey matter loss and white matter increase observed in developing children, supporting the view that the clusters delineate three key qualitative stages in advancing cognitive capability during the maturation of higher brain systems function. This outcome identifies a biomarker with the potential for assessing abnormalities in the rate of brain development.