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Wellington Primary School

Thinking skills

As a thinking school, Wellington places metacognition and self-regulation at the heart of our lessons. Metacognition is the process of thinking about one's own thinking. It involves becoming aware of one's own cognitive processes and using that awareness to monitor and reflect on our own learning. In developing self-regulating learners, we intend for our students to be able set goals and plan and evaluate their learning. Through this our students become more effective and independent learners. 

The teachers at Wellington are encouraged to take on the role of the ‘cognitive coach’ to support thinking across the school, through using a wide range of metacognitive strategies. These include modeling and developing high quality questioning in the classroom. Using visual metacognitive tools such as the “Thinking Frames” and “DeBono’s Thinking Hats". Teachers spend time with pupils learning about how our brains work through neuroscience lessons and how to develop positive habits and approaches to learning such as Cota and Kalick’s “Habits of Mind” and approaches such as Carol Dweck's ‘Growth Mindset.


The Thinking Hats
The Thinking Frames


Focusing on being a thinking school means that Wellington is addressing three important educational aspects:

  • Supporting Statutory requirements - as can be seen in national curriculum documentation and Ofsted recommendations.


  • Supporting Improved grade attainment for our pupils: as can be seen in not only Wellingtons grade scores but in a wide range of peer reviewed research including the finding by the Education Endowment Fund that rates Metacognition and self-regulation as ‘high impact for very low cost’, based on extensive evidence that demonstrates +7 months of additional progress. 


  • Supporting the wider impact on the lives of our pupils. Being a metacognition learner enables students to take control of their own learning. By understanding how they learn best and what strategies work for them, students can develop a sense of agency and become more self-directed in their studies. This is especially important in today's world, where information is constantly changing and students are expected to be lifelong learners.

Being a thinking school means that we share a common language and approach across all parts of the school. A  Wellington child is able to see, hear and learn to utilise  a wide range of thinking skills through the use of the same language and images, no matter what year group, We believe that a school-wide approach results in confident learners able to face any future challenges. 

Wellington works closely with a range of other schools and external organisations such as Thinking Matters -  to promote metacognitive and self-regulated learning across the country. Wellington has hosted several Thinking School Network Hub meetings to support regional development of thinking schools as well as hosting a wide range of international visitors keen to see the impact of becoming a thinking school. 


Wellington received advanced accreditation as a Thinking School by Exeter University following the original accreditation and is in the ongoing process of maintaining these standards. 

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