Thinking School


Stretford High School has been awarded ‘Thinking School’ status by Exeter University and we are commended for the outstanding evidence we submitted, that showed how we have deeply embedded our metacognitive strategies and Thinking skills across our school curriculum.  You can read the accreditation report SHS Accreditation Report 2024

SHS is a true beacon of metacognitive excellence where the drive for holistic educational provision geared toward the development of lifelong-learners flourishes. The standards met under all criteria categories are exceptional and the school is poised to be a world-class educational establishment. As such, Advanced Thinking School accreditation is well within its grasp.”

Transforming Life Chances

Our school  is proud to be working towards accreditation to become a ‘Thinking School’. This will mean that Stretford High School can justifiably consider itself a ‘Centre of  Excellence’ with respect to cognitive education and thinking skills and will warrant recognition  by the University of Exeter as 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. For more information about our accreditation process, please follow the link below

Thinking Approach

Our “Thinking School” approach is consistent with the aims below and helps to ensure that:

  • Students in Stretford High School are supported to think for themselves, through the development of a thorough understanding of purposeful thinking tools that they can use to aid and monitor their own progress.
  • Students become reflective learners 
  • Staff in Stretford High School are encouraged to think reflectively about their practice and use a range of thinking tools that promotes student motivation and progress.

Reflection is an integral part of the learning process; it allows us to learn more about ourselves and how we learn, as well as helping us in improving academic skill.

Below are the strategies we are using at Stretford High School to be a Centre of Excellence.

Using  Metacognition Strategies to support our students

Metacognitive strategies empower students to think about their own thinking. This awareness of the learning process enhances their control over their own learning. It also enhances personal capacity for self-regulation and managing one’s own motivation for learning

Using Thinking Frames to support our students

A thinking frame makes thinking visible using a graphic organiser. Like a writing frame, a thinking frame uses prompts to help students work through an activity. Thinking Frames motivate and engage children by giving them ownership of their own problem solving and enquiry explanations

Using Learning Journeys to support our pupils

A learning journey provides our students with a clear pathway through their learning to give students a familiar and consistent experience across modules. It helps students feel confident in knowing what they need to do and at what time and they can start to develop cross curriculum links and transfer their knowledge and skills. 

Using Reflective Journalling to support our students

Journalling can allow students to reflect on new knowledge learned in class and solidify their learning experience by recording their evolving thought process.  It can also teach them to formulate new opinions and perspectives, and gives them a risk free venue to explore, think, and practice skills learned in class (Stevens & Cooper, 2009, p. 9; Fenwick & Parsons, 2000, p. 155).  Students who write regularly in a journal consistently see improvements in their writing skills, as well as their creative and reflective thinking (Stevens & Cooper, 2009, p. 15-16, 33).

For more information about Thinking Matters and a whole school approach to metacognition, please follow the link below:


Reflection is an integral part of the learning process; it allows us to learn more about ourselves and how we learn, as well as helping us in improving academic skill.Below is a framework we use to identify what type of learners we have and how best to support them.


‘Dependant’ learners are unaware of their metacognitive knowledge. They do not think about any particular strategies for learning and merely accept if they know something or not. ‘Aware’ learners know about some of the kinds of thinking that they do. – generating ideas, finding evidence etc. – but thinking is not necessarily deliberate or planned
‘Strategic’ learners organise their thinking by using problem solving, grouping and classifying, evidence seeking, decision making etc. They know and apply different strategies that help them learn. ‘Independent’ learners are not only strategic about their learning but they also reflect upon their learning whilst it is happening, considering the success, or not, of any strategies they’re using and then revising them as appropriate.


Our school’s aim is to encourage students to become ‘reflective’ learners through a metacognition approach. In our classrooms we utilise metacognitive strategies

to move our students towards  becoming ‘reflective’ and  to increase student independence and ownership of their learning. We do this by the approach below:

As a school, we have now invested in a whole school Thinking Approach, using ‘Thinking Moves’ to support our students. Below is a presentation that gives all of the information we are using to embed the Thinking Moves here: Thinking Moves A-Z

These are the A-Z Thinking Moves are are using across the school, we can also reinforce each individual move with a sign language.




Thinking Moves Presentation that shows how to sign for each move HERE