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Thinking Schools

What is a Thinking School?

At St. Marie’s we believe that a thinking school is an educational community in which all members share a common commitment to giving regular, careful thought to everything that takes place.

This involves learning how to think, reflectively, critically and creatively.

We believe that successful outcomes will be reflected in students across a wide range of abilities demonstrating independent and co-operative learning skills, high levels of achievement, and both enjoyment and satisfaction in learning.

Benefits will also be shown in ways which all members of the community interact with and show consideration for each other and in the positive psychological well-being of both students and staff.

“Self-regulated learners are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and can motivate themselves to engage in, and improve, their learning.

Developing pupils’ metacognitive knowledge of how they learn – their knowledge of themselves as a learner, of strategies, and of tasks – is an effective way of improving pupil outcomes.” (EEF Report)

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How we have become a Thinking School

In order to become a Thinking School all stakeholders (including parents and school governors) are fully committed to the school’s aims and how they can best be achieved.

Staff have been specially trained and methods have been introduced into the curriculum for teaching the skills of thinking and associated cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies.

The widest possible application of these skills and strategies underpin all other aspects of the curriculum. We believe that metacognitive strategies should be taught in conjunction with specific subject content.

To see how the Thinking Schools approach is used in each subject, see the subject webpage.

How Metacognition is used across the Curriculum at St. Marie’s

  • In lessons, a series of steps – beginning with the activation and retrieval of prior knowledge leading to independent practice – are used.

  • Modelling by the teacher is an effective tool of teaching; when the adult talks through their thought processes in order to develop the pupils’ metacognitive skills.

  • Scaffolded examples allow pupils to develop their metacognitive and cognitive skills.

  • Challenge is crucial to allow pupils to develop and progress their knowledge of tasks, strategies and themselves as learners. However, challenge needs to be at an appropriate level.

  • As well as instruction and modelling, classroom talk is used to develop metacognitive skills: pupil-to-pupil and pupil-teacher talk help build knowledge and understanding of strategies.

  • Teachers support pupils to develop independent learning skills.


What are Thinking Frames?

Thinking Frames are a set of graphic organisers that offer learners a way to improve knowledge recall and see, develop and reflect on their own thought and learning processes.

The Frames can be used by all age groups across all subjects.


See examples of Thinking Frames


EEF Thinking Schools - Frames.PNG

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