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Reculver School - A Thinking Journey

Reculver Primary School is part of the Aquila Diocese of Canterbury Multi Academies Trust where Thinking Matters has been working with a focused group of primary heads who, in turn will now lead the training in schools within their own MAT. Stella Collins, Deputy Head of Reculver Primary School, shares their Thinking School journey to date.

'For us at Reculver CEP School it all began 2 years ago when our CEO from Aquila invited me to attend a Thinking Schools Conference. I was most intrigued and remember saying to my Head teacher at the time, ‘What is a Thinking School?’

Having attended the conference I began to learn more about Thinking Schools and knew this was something I was keen to develop in my school. I found so many links between the approaches and theory behind Thinking Schools that matched our core purpose and aims. The Keynote speakers and workshops were incredibly thought provoking and also demonstrated that there are tools, strategies and approaches which are extremely effective in improving learning and attainment for children and young people. I came away from the conference buzzing with ideas and ready for something new. Therefore, when I was offered the opportunity to train to be a trainer myself I jumped at the chance.

Aquila Thinking Schools MAT

Since then I have attended training, provided by Teresa Williams from Thinking Matters, along with 5 other colleagues from schools in the Aquila MAT.

The days were spread out across the year, which was very helpful because training is intense.  In this way, time between each session meant that I could take time to read about the topics covered in more detail. Although the training was intense, I do feel I have been fully equipped with everything I need to train up my own Drive Team in my own school and Teresa is always on hand to give me advice when needed. I have found it easy to access the PowerPoints, which are editable so they can be personalised to each school, and the printable resources for each training day.

As a trust we have decided to spend the first year training in our own schools before extending this to other schools within Aquila as guided by our CEO.

In July 2019 I was delighted to begin working with my own Drive Team in school. The team were carefully selected by myself and the Headteacher and I have to say our choices were spot on. We have teachers who are able to question and voice their opinions clearly, coming from different perspectives across the school which supports a strong team. We completed Introduction Day during Term 6 and the Drive Team were keen to move forward and learn more. The next day together was Developing Cognitive Capabilities and the team are now writing an action plan and preparing to hold their first staff meeting with the teachers.

Thinking Schools Reculver

We are still in the early stages of our journey and I am looking forward to seeing the positive impact of using thinking tools, e.g. Thinking Frames. The Drive Team have already begun to introduce them and can see the benefit of using them to organise children’s thinking and improve their learning.

The strapline for our school is ‘Together … Believing, Achieving, Succeeding’. Our school promotes independent, resilient, lifelong learners so the Thinking Schools approach is perfect for us. All our staff know and understand that learning does not stop at Reculver CEP School and children need to be prepared for life beyond our school and well into the future.'

Stella Collins
Deputy Head, Reculver School

This approach will have saved the MAT a significant amount of money from getting each school trained individually, as well as enabling a centralised platform from which to deliver their thinking vision.

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