Firstly a big thank you to all the schools who hosted the recent visits by groups of teachers from Lithuania. The teachers were here to see UK Thinking Schools in action before returning to their own schools to take a whole-school approach to the teaching of thinking.
Our partner in Lithuania will provide support and training to these new Thinking Schools as they join the growing thinking schools network. Take a look at this articleabout developments in Lithuania.
In Northern Ireland we're delighted to be holding a Thinking Schools Conference on March 9th at which Professor Steve Higgins will give the keynote address. Since a growing number of schools in NI are taking forward the Thinking Schools' approach, the Conference aims to explore this whole school approach, discuss the latest in developing independent Thinkers and Learners and understand the impact the approach can have on all aspects of the school and its community. You can find out more about the NI Conference here.
In Wales, Danescourt School held another successful Open Morning on the 18th November, introducing the concept and theory of Thinking Schools. At the National Education Show in Cardiff on 25th October, three seminars were focused on thinking, led by colleagues Helen Lewis, Dr Dave Walters and Paul Tyack. They were all very well attended.
Our partners in Norway are currently working with Oslo schools to support them as they take a whole school approach to the teaching of thinking and there are plans for a Thinking School Conference in the new year.
We are excited to be launching our Thinking Schools Network (TSN) and Membership Scheme. As well as providing many opportunities for interaction with other TSN member schools and practitioners, membership also offers access to a wealth of classroom resources, research, discounts to conferences and the services of other thinking related organisations are all available. See Membership details here.
We continue to grow our partnerships with Training Schools in the UK. Leventhorpe Secondary School and Danescourt Primary School now have a team of Thinking Schools trainers and are providing support and training to schools in their area. Wellington Primary School and Maidstone Grammar School for Girls are currently undergoing their training and will be ready to provide Thinking School support and training for new schools in the new year.
There is undoubtedly a growing awareness that a focus purely on knowledge is insufficient in preparing young people for life after school. Knowing what to do with the knowledge is just as important and it is this that employers look for, along with interpersonal skills which enable them to become effective employees. And of course many young people are becoming entrepreneurs with all the challenges that brings. We are seeing increasing interest from other countries in our approach and are now working in seven countries, the latest being China.
In the near future Dr David Walters at the University of Exeter will be publishing his research into attainment and progress in thinking schools, to add to that over the last three years. The signs as I write this are, once again, very promising and show further increases amongst thinking schools.
If you would like to talk to a headteacher in a thinking school and/or visit one, please do contact me and I will be delighted to arrange this free service.
Finally, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.