What would teaching be like without the use of thinking tools?

Our Thinking School journey started in 2013 and we were accredited in November 2017. We set out on this journey because we felt we wanted to bring something else to East Sheen Primary School.

As an outstanding school with strong results across the curriculum, we were looking for something extra and special. We thought about sport and music, both highly valued at our school, but we felt the acknowledgement and development of these talents did not truly reflect our inclusive ethos. We wanted something that would suit all learners at this present time and as the children grow into young adults. We wanted something that would further develop their problem solving skills; help them know what to do when they face new, tough challenges and how to support themselves to become better learners.


The introduction of Thinking Maps, as our first thinking tool, was transformational. Children became fluent with the use of these maps almost immediately. With this fluency came a common language throughout our school community. Children were becoming more confident and were developing into independent learners and this was true for all levels of attainment.

In the second year of our journey we introduced De Bono’s 6 Hat Thinking and then Costa’s 16 Habits of Mind. Children quickly understood both tools and enjoyed discussions and debates and were quick to point out when the tools were being used. Seeing children develop their attitudes and dispositions to learning has been incredibly rewarding.  

As our journey progressed we found ourselves using thinking tools at every opportunity. In staff meetings and training days. We even use a thinking map and hats to sort playtime disputes.  

We will continue to use our embedded strategies to promote and support individual thinking. At East Sheen we have a culture of a growth mindset, creativity, flexible thinking and a “can do” philosophy. We have always been a creative school and believe absolutely in the value of every child.

East Sheen Primary School

Staff at East Sheen believe that we must equip children with thinking tools to prepare them for the challenges they will meet in their future. Our school vision is to develop children who have a curiosity and love for learning; can collaborate and are kind; are creative and enthusiastic; demonstrate resilience and are proud of their achievements. All of which we do through our embedded teaching of thinking tools.

I couldn’t be prouder of the children and our journey.  How could we revert back to teaching without the use of thinking tools?

Carla Ruocco
Thinking School Coordinator
East Sheen Primary School

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