I write this as schools and colleges are now closed for an indeterminate period of time. This week we were due to host a visit by two groups of teachers from schools in Lithuania, now cancelled but fortunately one group also visited in February and we went to see several Thinking Schools in London.
We have been organising these visits over several years - our partner in Lithuania is a Thinking Matters trainer and she follows up these visits with support and training for the teachers from the different Lithuanian schools. The result is a growing network of Thinking Schools in the country. In addition our partner in Jordan has recently been leading training in schools in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, although this has also been suspended owing to the virus.
We were able to hold a Thinking Schools Conference in Northern Ireland on the 9th March. Over 70 representatives from schools attended with some insightful inputs from Professor Steve Higgins, Durham University, Dr David Walters, Exeter University, David Harvey, Assistant Headteacher, Leventhorpe School and Rhonda Moles, Headteacher, Cumran Primary School. The following day we held an awareness-raising event held at Sacred Heart Primary School in Liverpool. Again, well attended and well received.
So now we enter a period of considerable uncertainty. We have been forced to cancel our Annual Conference and also suspend the training which had been planned in UK schools. Nevertheless we believe this provides us with the opportunity to reflect, review and plan and we will be engaging with our partners over coming weeks as we look forward to more settled times. The ability of students and teachers in thinking schools to adapt and analyse will equip them well to deal with the challenges ahead and we look forward to re-engaging in due course.