Accredited Thinking School

A Cognitive Approach to Education

As part of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, we take pride in the unique approach we take to education: we provide our children with the skills and tools they need to think in a variety of ways and become lifelong learners. The transferrable Thinking Tools that we teach our pupils are designed to prepare them for the range of scenarios, dilemmas and circumstances that they may face in later life as part of modern society.

The University of Exeter’s School of Education – which leads the way in research on Metacognition, Thinking Skills and Creativity – provides a framework for schools to become recognised Thinking Schools. We received our initial accreditation in 2018. The University has recently assessed evidence of our school’s teaching and learning practices, the quality of our curriculum and the impact it has on our pupils, and, as a result, rewarded us our reaccreditation.

We were delighted with University of Exeter's report, which highlighted the positive impact our thinking culture has had for our students:

  • ‘The School conveys a positive, caring and creative atmosphere, demonstrating that careful thought has been put into its organisational structure and visual presentation'
  • 'Achievement continues to rise across the school with attendance and behaviour being of an excellent standard. This would strongly suggest that Gordon is an attractive place for children to learn'
  • 'The school’s focus on being our best selves is clearly articulated so that children can locate how to move towards this'
  • 'Feedback indicates that children not only develop their learning significantly, but also their capacity to think independently and develop their opinions leading to positive mental health and wellbeing'

What is a Thinking School?

A Thinking School is unique in their focus to share with your child the tools to become a life-long learner, and to develop the best possible habits for success in life. It is an educational community which involves both students and staff learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively. 

We want every student in our schools to be inquisitive and confident in themselves. Our thinking toolkit is how we support them through this journey. These tools are used in tandem with an approach to teaching that instils a growth mindest and ‘can do’ attitude. Through their time in a Thinking School, students will develop the right habits to ensure they are successful throughout education and beyond.

Thinking about Our Thinking: Hats, Maps and Keys

A core part of Cognitive Education is the use of 'Thinking Tools'. Students in our classroom will learn to structure and organise their thinking through the use of Thinking Hats, Maps and Keys. 

Each tool helps navigate students through three distinct pathways: Hats Organise thinking; Maps Visualise thinking; and Keys Engage and Motivate thinking. Together they form a comprehensive and rich structure children utilise for problem solving and creative thinking. It is our aim to develop our young people into lifelong learners and we firmly believe children will find themselves continuing to use this framework when they progress to Secondary School and beyond.