What is a Thinking School?
A Thinking School is unique in their focus to share with your child the tools to become a life-long learner, and to develop the best possible habits for success in life. It is an educational community which involves both students and staff learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively. A Thinking School is more than just a title, to become one the school has to earn the Thinking accreditation from Exeter University.
“To become a thinking school requires (shared) vision, skillful in-service training and a great deal of hard work. In one sense, the process is never-ending, but we do believe that schools demonstrating that they can match a certain number of basic criteria can rightfully claim to be a thinking school.” – Professor Bob Burden, of Exeter University.
The Six Starting Points
The journey to becoming a Thinking School involves a strong commitment and careful planning.
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Key Points for Our Trust
- Child first: To provide a stimulating learning environment for all where learners feel safe to explore knowledge and understanding. We believe that children learn best when they are motivated, clear about expectations in their work and behaviour, feel valued, secure and confident, are challenged and receive constructive feedback about their performance.
- Aspire: To be the best they can be. We believe that all staff and pupils can aspire for personal and professional prowess and become empowered through the Thinking philosophy.
- Challenge: To actively shape the minds, attitudes and habits of young people through a framework of cognitive education that enables them to become the master of their own destiny. We believe that pupils require an accurate reflection of what they are good at and need to develop personal insight and manage uncertainty confidently. Developing skilled, independent, reflective learners is part of our Vision.
- Achieve: For all stakeholders to demonstrate the highest levels of thinking and habits. We want our pupils to be questioning in nature, achieving the highest levels of independent and interdependent prowess.
Our “Thinking School” approach is consistent with the aims below and helps to ensure that:
- Pupils in TSAT are supported to think for themselves, through the development of a thorough understanding of purposeful thinking tools that they can use to aid and monitor their own progress.
- Staff in TSAT are encouraged to think accurately and reflectively about their practice and understand a range of thinking tools that can be used to support student motivation and progress.
Feedback from Exeter University on recently accredited schools within our Trust
- The Portsmouth Academy: “Students were both articulate and aspirational, and it was clear from the discussion that they not only know about and use a range of thinking tools and approaches, but also have a strong sense of ownership, see them as central to their learning.”
- The Rochester Grammar School: “Through thought-full, passionate and inspirational leadership combined with a relentless drive for excellence, ongoing self-evaluation and review and the willingness of governors, staff, pupils and parents to embrace exciting and innovative ideas, the school continues to provide an excellent example of effective cognitive education in action. Cognitive approaches are so embedded in the ethos and culture of the school that it feels as if the school is ‘drenched in thinking!”