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We’ve done it – we’re officially a Thinking School!

We’ve done it – we’re officially a Thinking School!

Here’s a copy of the press release sent out today celebrating our achievement of becoming a Thinking School – should be in The News Friday or Saturday we hope!

Children and staff at Isambard Brunel Junior School in Portsmouth are celebrating earning a prestigious award from the University of Exeter, as the school becomes one of only about 100 schools in the country to receive “Thinking School” accreditation.

The school joined The Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT) in November 2014 and the strong partnership between school and Trust has had a major positive impact on teaching and learning, as confirmed in a new report by Exeter University’s Cognitive Education Development Unit.

The report, issued as part of the accreditation process, praised the school’s transformation and found that its leadership has been “doing something radical and different” that enables pupils to “become the masters of their own destiny”, helping to boost their self-esteem.

The report also highlights:

  • The “clear, planned and structured approach” that the school has taken
  • Its “calm, supportive and inclusive ethos” that emphasises respect, unity, and learning, amongst other values
  • Parents’ recognition of the “massive impact on self-esteem” experienced by their children since the school has been turned around, with the school now “oozing with positivity”

Pupils have praised the value of the different thinking tools and strategies that they have been equipped with, commenting that:

  • The new approach will “go with us through our lives and help us in future”
  • “Questions help us to solve difficult problems”

Isambard Brunel Junior School is the second Thinking School in the city following The Portsmouth Academy’s accreditation in July last year. Both schools are members of TSAT, alongside Newbridge Junior School on New Road.

Sara Paine, Deputy Headteacher at Isambard Brunel Junior School, said: “Becoming an accredited Thinking School is just the start of our journey – it means our children are equipped with the tools and habits needed to be powerful, independent, lifelong learners.  This coveted award has motivated everyone to develop even further our exciting and innovative approach to education, which is transforming the life chances of children here every day.”

Stuart Gardner, Chief Executive of The Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said, “Achieving accreditation as a Thinking School is a huge milestone for Isambard Brunel Junior School, and it is testament to the outstanding efforts of all staff and students, who work incredibly hard every day to offer an open and critical learning environment.  We are so proud of the school’s transformation since joining our Trust, and we look forward to continuing to work together on further improvements in future.”


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