Continuing Professional Development
Thinking School - Thinking Skills at the Sweyne Park School
At the Sweyne Park School, we are committed to improving the quality of our teaching and learning year on year – this is at the centre of what we do.
One of the strongest influences in the last 5 years has been the teaching of Thinking Skills to our pupils. The decision to begin teaching pupils to become critical thinkers came about after the reforms to the Key Stage 3 curriculum in 2006.
Teachers have been supported by the school through its Training School work to explore and experiment with a range of thinking strategies to build on their existing teaching repertoire. Here are some examples of the types of thinking approaches that are now frequently used by teaching staff: Edward De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats”; double bubbles; mind mapping; Habits of Mind; Philosophy for Children.
Teachers’ interest in exploring the potential of Thinking Skills to improve pupils’ learning has fuelled an upsurge in classroom based research. Our commitment to classroom based research became the focus of a research article where the effectiveness of our approach was found to show:
“…an unusually strong and shared commitment to the educative empowerment of the students…a truly symbiotic relationship between the trajectory of rising student attainment and the trajectory of research engagement”
Dr Raphael Wilkins, Director of International Affairs, London Centre for Leadership in Learning, Institute of Education, University of London
The previous headteacher of Sweyne Park School, Andy Hodgkinson attributes the improvement in the school’s A* - A percentage at GCSE in part to the Thinking Skills Initiative.
Teaching pupils explicit thinking skills also works very well alongside our Assessment for Learning policy, as the two practices enhance and combine well to support pupils’ learning in the most effective way possible.
“The outstanding drive and enthusiasm of the inspirational headteacher, supported by an excellent senior leadership team, have focused the school on raising standards through creating a culture of high expectations that staff and pupils support. The success of this is reflected in the willingness of all staff to improve their practice.” OFSTED report May 2010
“The school has a reputation for excellence and is open and accessible in sharing and continuing to learn from good practice…” Investors in People Gold Standard Report February 2010