Our Story

In 2004 our then CEO, Richard Cummins, started working with Professor Bob Burden at the Cognitive Education Development Unit at the University of Exeter. Richard and Bob’s objective was to develop a research informed approach to the teaching of thinking. They created a unique, whole-school approach that fused scientific evidence with what actually worked in classrooms. Bob and Exeter University became the accreditor of schools taking this approach whilst Richard and Thinking Matters’ precursor, Kestrel Education, provided schools with training in it.

In 2011, always seeking to remain at the cutting edge of cognitive education, Kestrel formed a partnership with US based Designs for Thinking (DfT). This partnership, Thinking Schools International (TSI), incorporated DfT’s groundbreaking work on metacognitive visual tools into the Thinking Schools approach and took it across the world. As well as in the UK, individual schools in New Zealand, South Africa, Norway, Lithuania, Egypt, Nigeria, Jordan and Thailand became Thinking Schools. The approach was also adopted by the Malaysian government for use in 10,000 of its public schools. 

In 2018 the TSI partnership received new investment and Thinking Matters was born. Always responsive to new research and the changing CPD needs of schools, our approach continues to morph in a positive way. Our aim is to continue to grow the Thinking School movement and to transform the lives of young learners, everywhere, by offering them evidence informed strategies to develop as independent thinkers and ‘meta’ learners.

Timeline of Key Events:

The concept of a Thinking School is born
Thinking Schools @ Exeter Accreditation starts
Partnership with Designs for Thinking
Malaysian Government Project begins
Rebranded as Thinking Matters
Thinking Matters
Global Thinking Schools Network launched

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