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.
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
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.
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.'
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.