St Philip's Church of England

Controlled Primary School

Thinking School

St Philip’s C of E Primary School

‘Thinking School’

This year at St Philip’s, we continue on our journey to become an accredited Thinking School.

What is a Thinking School?

A Thinking School takes an explicit, evidence-informed, whole school approach to developing pupils’ cognitive capability and intelligent learning behaviours.

Why teach thinking?

The children we are presently educating will be retiring around 2070.  We have no idea what the world will be like then, and according to many experts, a good number of the jobs our children and young people will be engaged in do not even exist at present.  In such an ever-changing world all children need to develop cognitive competencies which enable them to adapt to a variety of educational, technical, social and cultural changes.  Due to the rapidly changing world and therefor job roles and, teachers need to equip all children with the skills necessary to think and activate their cognitive functions.  It is often better to teach children to think properly in order that they become independent, life-long learners, rather than attempt to teach all the currently available knowledge.

What are thinking skills?

Thinking skills refer to an understanding of the thought processes we are using to do things like: solve problems, make decisions, ask questions, construct plans, evaluate ideas, organise information and create things. At St Philip’s, through our curriculum, we strive to develop in our pupils the ability to think critically, collaboratively and creatively and to adopt these skills when reflecting on their own learning. We aim to develop responsible, reflective and resilient individuals with transferable skills essential for lifelong learning.

What are cognition and metacognition, and how are they taught at St Philip’s?

Cognition refers to the process of thinking. It is the mental process involved in knowing, learning and understanding things.

Metacognition is recognised as cognition about cognition; thinking about thinking.

At St Philip’s, we approach Thinking Skills across the whole curriculum, and employ a range of strategies and tools to support this. They include:

Thinking Hats to help us think about our learning. The 6 Thinking Hats each represent a different type of Thinking. They are used in lessons to encourage students to think beyond their own perspective and holistically respond to situations rather than only using one type of thinking.


Thinking Frames to help us to visualise our thinking. There are eight frames, each representing a fundamental cognitive skill such as comparing, contrasting, sequencing, defining and cause and effect reasoning. As we introduce each of them, they will be displayed in all classrooms as a quick reference for pupils.