The Thinking School
A Thinking School is one in which all members of the community share a common language, where strategies and tools are used in all aspects of school life, enabling teachers, pupils and parents to have a deep understanding of how to learn and think effectively.
Pupils develop an awareness of themselves as learners, and put into practice ways to develop the dispositions and learning habits that are the hallmark of the young people we wish to see in the world today.
At NHP we are preparing pupils for a life of learning. We want to make learning exciting and enjoyable, and we want our pupils to thrive. Our teachers light fires, which we hope will burn for life.
The Thinking School Curriculum
The Thinking School is a curriculum within NHP, which provides pupils and teachers with a framework for learning. It functions as a toolbox, which consists of a series of strategies, such as Thinking Maps, P4C and NHP Habits & Values (see below). These strategies form of a common language, which reach across all subjects and all aspects of school life.
The toolbox is designed to give our pupils a way of reflecting on their learning and the way in which they are developing in school. Fully integrated in the NHP curriculum, much of the groundwork is in place by the time students reach Year 5. By this age, we want NHP pupils to have both the knowledge and the strategies which will enable them to use that knowledge.
Questioning and Knowledge
We know that these two areas are fundamental to education. A question is almost always the first stage in the learning process. But a question cannot exist without prior knowledge.
At NHP, teachers make the questions visible, both in the way they organise their teaching, and the way they draw out questions from the pupils themselves. In this way, we build both the knowledge and the application of knowledge (the process).
The Process of Learning
We celebrate the process of learning just as much as the outcomes. The right kinds of mistakes are encouraged and our pupils learn and develop by failing and trying again. And so, when exams and tests do come along, our pupils see them as opportunities rather than threats. Our Thinking School curriculum ensures that they are resilient and flexible.
NHP Habits & Values
Knowledge and questioning can only take us so far. At NHP we want to educate children to be aware of who they are and how they can make a positive impact on the world. The NHP Habits & Values teaches a code of ethics, which helps them to make good choices now and for the future. In Reception to Year 5, this is known as the NHP Habits (or, The Rabbit with the Habits!). In Year 6, 7 and 8, this is known as the NHP Values.
Thinking School strategies run alongside, and within, the programme of 11+ and 13+ offered at NHP. The continuation of this curriculum into Year 6 and beyond benefits children by laying out a way of thinking and responding to situations and challenges. This supports success in entrance exams and also through to GCSEs, A Levels/IBs and beyond.
Thinking School Accreditation
NHP gained accreditation as a Thinking School from the Cognitive Education Development Unit of the University of Exeter in June 2014. It was one of the first prep schools in the country to have formal Thinking School status. Currently, we are not accredited as a Thinking School but are in the process of applying for advanced accreditation. We remain a key hub school under the Thinking Matters programme with strong links to other Thinking Schools both in the UK and internationally. The Thinking School approach lies at the heart of teaching and learning at NHP and there is a Thinking School drive team dedicated to honing and enhancing its practice within the School and classroom.
For more information about Thinking Schools, please see www.thinkingmatters.com