Farewell and Thank You!

Richard Cummins retires after 20 years of founding, leading and growing Thinking Matters – he leaves a lasting legacy.

Aware of it or not (and given his modesty it’s likely that most people aren’t), anyone within the Thinking Schools Network owes a great deal to Richard Cummins. Richard’s vision and passion for developing independent learners not only forged the idea of a Thinking School (along with the late Professor Bob Burden) but brought it from the ivory towers of Exeter University to classrooms all over the world.

After graduating Richard taught in state secondary schools in England for over 20 years. He then moved to the Wiltshire Education Authority where he led the development of relationships between schools and locally based corporations. Working with organisations such as Intel and Honda, Richard was at the front line of understanding that the real world was looking for a set of thinking skills and learning dispositions that weren’t being developed by the majority of schools. He saw his calling and has spent the last 20 years founding, leading and growing Thinking Matters through its various guises (Kestrel and TSI). 

Richard has shown many attributes to his role that he hoped Thinking Schools would develop in their learners: He has applied his knowledge of cognitive science to schools and the schools system, showed regular resilience, bundles of creativity and taken multiple responsible risks.

Perhaps, most of all, Richard is expert at making connections – typically between people and always sprinkled with good humour. It is perhaps this gift that leaves us all with his legacy – a robust, flourishing Thinking School Network which has helped give the world hundreds of thousands more independent learners, primed to thrive in the 21st Century. For that Richard can be rightly proud.

As he sets his sights on his retirement goal – a title in the (super) seniors tennis tour perhaps? – thank you Richard from all of us who have had the pleasure of working with you. We look forward to seeing you at another one of your creations – The Festival of Metacognition (June 22) – and continuing to seek your generously given advice. Valete!

Find out more about the background of Thinking Matters

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