“We are extremely happy to have booked C J Simister for our annual conference. She was extremely helpful and flexible at the planning stage, adapting her presentation and workshop to our needs. Although evidently highly knowledgeable and learned, Jane is very friendly, accommodating and down-to- earth. Her keynote was very engaging and inspiring, while her workshops captivated our delegates and offered numerous practical ideas to embed Character Education into everyday lessons.”
Sylvaine Valmalette-Wright, Assistant Headteacher, Wood Green Academy, July 2019
“Jane covered an amazing amount of ground, exploring such topics as what makes an effective learner, potential barriers to progress for bright girls and lesson design for intellectual growth. Everything was finely tuned to our particular needs and complemented the work which was already being done in school. Jane’s style strikes the perfect balance between being informative and interactive; staff really appreciated her emphasis on classroom practice. We all came away with a whole range of ideas to try and staff are still talking about how stimulating they had found the morning.”
Pauline Clarke, Deputy Head, Croydon High School
“Jane Simister delivered 3 sessions at Willowfield Humanities College. They were totally practical and involved all staff - teachers and support staff alike. Activities and strategies for active learning were imparted that could easily be adapted for all curriculum subjects and used in group situations or on a one to one basis. All staff had great fun and enjoyed getting practically involved. They appreciated the active nature and usefulness of the sessions and were motivated to absorb the strategies into their own teaching. Staff evaluations showed that 100% rated the session as very good/excellent and that 100% of staff found the sessions very helpful.
Our recent Ofsted inspection under the new framework (Jan 2012) commented on the impact of these sessions found in staff questionnaires. The report concludes that ‘the impact on students’ learning can be seen in their positive attitudes, their steadily improving attainment and progress by all groups that is significantly better than average.’
We are very grateful to Jane for her lively and focused sessions that have really impacted positively on teaching and learning at Willowfield.”
Debbie Chapman Andrews, Assistant Head, Willowfields Humanities College, Walthamstow
“Jane's training was amazing and linked in to much of what I would like to do here already. Her session was both inspiring and hugely practical. All our staff were enthused by the day, which combined sound theory with practical activities. The school has been provided with the ideas and tools to develop its own “learning habits” scheme. Jane has already been instrumental in our development: she gave a huge amount of support before the day and is assisting us in the development of our programme.”
Christopher Hammond, Deputy Head, Maltman’s Green School
“Thank you so much for an inspirational afternoon, it was marvellous. You gave us lots of really helpful and practical advice and ideas on how to promote thinking and learning which we are already acting upon! The staff greatly enjoyed your presentation - one even said to me it was the best she had heard in the last twenty years!”
Beverly Taylor, Stormont School
“I wanted to thank you so much for your ‘Active Thinkers - Active Learners’ session this morning. It was so inspirational and I have come away buzzing with ideas that I am going to implement into my class and put forward to fellow staff members. You have inspired me hugely and I will now go on to tell whoever is happy to listen about you and your work. Thank you, thank you thank you! I hope you take your work to every school - a real inspiration.”
Rebecca Hackett, Rosemead Prep School
“My inbox is full of messages of thanks and appreciation for yesterday. It was excellent. Very informative, lots of helpful tips and reassuring that we are moving in the right direction. I will be back in touch. Thank you again.”
Jo MacKenzie, Head Teacher, Bedford Girls’ School
"Many thanks once again for your time in school today - it was hugely appreciated and the feedback from colleagues has been excellent. The sessions are thought provoking and practical and really resonate with what we are trying to achieve and move towards as a school. You raised a whole range of questions and thoughts that we discussed at SLT at end of the day - thank you. We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back into school."
James Raymond, Headmaster, Cranford House School
"Jane didn’t use jargon. She was one of us, a teacher who became interested in how children could become more effective learners and then was enthused by it as she researched and learnt more and saw real changes in her pupils. Her enthusiasm was contagious. Her highly practical application of everything she believes with many ideas and examples of how to implement activities in the classroom was really appreciated by all delegates who attended our course. We listened to every word and will act on what she said to improve and enrich how our pupils approach learning and life. It was a hugely worthwhile day’s training."
Jessica Crossley, Headmistress, Moorfield School
"After 10 years of teaching, one day with Jane inspired me to reflect and change the way which we teach our girls. This formed an integral part of our curriculum change and the thinking and learning skills are now an integral part of our creative, cross- curricular approach to learning. Jane is a fantastic speaker who challenged me to think how to prepare our girls for their future."
Emma Bryant, Director of Studies, Wimbledon High Junior School
“We should have booked her for two days!”
Joyce Nicol, Headmistress, Study Prep
"Thank you so much for coming to talk to us just before half term; another super day. I think one of the things that helps make the day a great success for staff is the fact that everyone is able to access the ideas and see how they could apply them to their subject/teaching. From my perspective, it’s great to be able to see the level of involvement and commitment from colleagues and know that all staff from Reception to Y6, from young to old, general teachers to subject- specific are genuinely able to take things away from the day."
Kate Mitchell, Head of Junior School, Wimbledon High School
Many thanks for your most inspirational training session with us at the start of this term. The pace and delivery of the day were excellent and kept us all engaged from beginning to end. Your enthusiasm was infectious and many of the staff have been keen to use your ideas to challenge our girls to be more active in their thinking and learning. We very much look forward to working with you again as we strive to include your strategies within our curriculum and involve the parents more in their daughters’ thinking and learning.
Anne Pearson, Senior Teacher, James Allen’s Preparatory School
"During the 2009 International Conference on Thinking in Kuala Lumpar, I attended an enlightening workshop where C. J. Simister presented. This workshop proved to be one of the highlights of the conference as it used real school planning, programs and evidence, to not only instruct the delegates but also to give practical examples that could easily be taken back to our schools and quickly implemented.
A testament to the practicality of this workshop, was the fact that most of the delegates, at the end of the workshop, stayed longer to participate further in the hands- on activities offered. Not only did Jane offer a product that has been tried and tested, she offered suggestions for how to take her program and differentiate it for other schools. She was also able to propose a wide range of anecdotes for students ranging from preschoolers to senior students.
C. J. Simister has personally tried and tested her programs with students, so she has first hand experience of moving a school from talking about being a ‘thinking school’ to the genuine embedding of thinking skills into teaching and learning programs. I would thoroughly recommend her to any teachers or schools who are sincerely intending to integrate authentic thinking skills to develop the thinking minds of their students."
Janelle Ford, Deputy Principal, Claremont, NSW, participant at the International Conference of Thinking (ICOT), Kuala Lumpur, June 2009
We are lucky to have found Jane. She has delivered Inset on Raising Challenge and Engagement to PGCE students and NQTs In the Black Country. Feedback from Jane’s sessions has always been overwhelmingly positive. PGCE students and NQTs have commented that she was inspirational, a great motivator, dynamic and engaging. They thought the sessions were hugely valuable and appropriate to their stage of Professional Development. They felt that the training was extremely interesting and very informative and a lot had been learnt in a short space of time. They all left the sessions with many ideas and tips, resources and activities that they could take back and use in their classrooms and they were all surprised how quickly the time had passed.
Sharon Churm, Teacher Consultant, Wolverhampton May 2010
With more than 25 years of experience, C J Simister is a leading education expert, working both in the UK and internationally.
Her innovative and interactive courses are tailored to suit the culture and context of each individual organisation, bringing together a huge range of Future-Smart® techniques that teachers and parents can use to help young people develop the intellectual qualities needed to thrive and succeed both in school and beyond.
For schools, by combining character with the curriculum - by teaching young people to approach subject content in a way that demands reasoning and rigour, that spurs questions and enquiry, that nurtures flexibility of mind, persistence and originality - she demonstrates in a very practical way that education can target both examination success and real-world skills.
C J Simister advises head teachers and leadership teams, gives keynote presentations at UK and international conferences, and is available to speak at events in the workplace.
Training courses in schools
“Thank you so much for your amazing INSET yesterday. I have had nothing but positive comments from teachers and teaching assistants across the school. We all really appreciated the care with which you had tailored the day... and we particularly enjoyed all the activities and exercises. Today, the children returned and so many teachers spontaneously tried out some of the activities with their classes... Thank you so much again - I came away absolutely buzzing and am really looking forward to our next steps.”
Clare Dawe, Assistant Head Academic, Blackheath Preparatory School
“Many many thanks for your presentation and for organising such a thought- provoking day for us. I think it is true to say that most of us have had these thoughts whirling around our heads all weekend. People here felt overwhelmingly positive about the ideas: one of our teachers here thanked me for organising such a really thought-provoking day about the really important things. This for our school has been a rarity. Your course was different and wonderfully inspiring. I am going to use these ideas to move us on in our thinking about learning and ability and will keep you posted about our progress. Once again many thanks.”
Liz Campbell, Head Teacher, Tudor CE Primary School
“Wow, what a day! Thank you so much for sharing so many of your fantastic ideas with us yesterday. It is clear from the amount of positive feedback I have received how inspired our teachers are by what you shared. I can overhear as I type a Geography lesson involving the ‘logic alley’ activity - just brilliant that the ideas are being tried in classroom today! It was a lot to fit in, but I am so grateful for your guidance and expertise in helping us to navigate this phase of our journey.”
Gill Copping, Director of Studies, Lochinver House Preparatory School
“Excellent from start to finish. Very personable, outstanding presentation skills”; “Lovely warm, yet professional, style”; “Practical ideas backed up by robust research”; “Really inspirational, makes you glad to be a teacher again”; “Great this morning. Session was really thought-provoking and useful”; “Best session I have been to! Really enthusiastic, reflective and fun!”
Various teachers, Rainham Mark Grammar School
I and many of our staff felt privileged to be able to attend such a fantastic day of training. It is not often that the feedback is so one-sided, but everybody was truly inspired by your warmth, your in-depth knowledge and the ideas you gave us. Thank you. We look forward to your return visit next year.
Russell Lloyd, Director of Studies, Walhampton School
A brief email to thank you so much for the fabulous INSET you provided for us yesterday. I have been inundated with positive comments about how stimulating my colleagues found the session, and they have shared some inspiring ideas for applying your suggestions. Thank you for starting us off so well on what we are sure will be an exciting year.
Ginny Jackson, Deputy Head, Wycliffe College Junior School
After 38 years of teaching, I have attended a training session which both enlightened and entertained! Having sat through numerous INSET sessions on a range of subject, some good, some bad, some middling, I was delighted to find that I could still be surprised and genuinely educated. C J Simister is clearly an expert in the subject of independent learning which is dear to the hearts of all of us. It has been on our School Development Plan for a number of years but at last I feel that we have the tools to move it forward. Ms Simister delivers her learning with charm and humour. She is a thorough-going professional who has something that every school needs; she is a consummate teacher and an example to the rest of us.
Lynne Taylor-Gooby, Headmistress, The Royal School, Haslemere
Thank you for a fabulous to start the term with your INSET last week; everyone has talked so positively since about how we will take things forward. We are all excited which is such a positive start. Many staff talked about how they found the day inspirational and stimulating which is exactly what I dream of when we start a term, so thank you again for the input you have already given us.
Sally Weber, Deputy Head, Clayesmore Preparatory School
I just wanted to thank you for the fantastic day that I (and I am sure many of my colleagues) enjoyed with you at Bury Grammar School. It is the best INSET I think I have ever attended! I am definitely going to try some of your ideas in the classroom. I have told 3 different people this evening all about the session so I am clearly buzzing about it! I hope you continue to bless others with your strategies and wisdom.”
Samantha Wolstencroft, Bury Grammar School for Girls
Jane Simister’s focus on ‘Active Thinkers - Active Learners’ integrated perfectly with our objectives and the direction in which we would like to take the school. It was enjoyable, informative and thought provoking. So much so that we will be inviting Jane back to school to speak to the girls as well as to the staff. Such INSET offers a real chance for cultural change and progression.
David Eggleston, Deputy Head, Wakefield Girls High School
A huge thank you for the three inspirational training sessions for the Junior School staff - your delivery is brilliant and we really appreciate the fact that you have tailored the content of these sessions for our purposes and given us such a wealth of information with which to deliver thinking skills with confidence. These lessons and learning dispositions seem to have taken root so well this term and much of the credit for the success goes to you for your understanding of where we were and what we wanted to achieve! Thank you so much for all the resources, practical strategies and most of all for your encouragement!
Katie Milne, Head of Junior School, The Stephen Perse Foundation
I just wanted to let you know that I have never had so much positive, indeed enthusiastic, feedback after an INSET day as I have had today after yours. Whoever I have spoken to has given me the same response - it was brilliant, really helpful, inspiring, worth every penny, has given me ideas I’ve used this morning - these are typical comments from my colleagues. I have put in a request for a follow-up day.
Richard Hudson, Deputy Head Academic, St Andrew’s School Pangbourne
Jane Simister came to Tormead School over a period of a year to provide whole school teacher training on ‘active thinking, active learning’. Her sessions were brilliant; informative, well-organised and thoroughly enjoyed by all the staff. Jane was not only able to give us the theory behind challenging pupils to think and learn, but also practical classroom techniques and methods to deliver this to our students. One of the few INSETS which you can then use in the classroom the next day. I would highly recommend Jane as a trainer for your school.
John Coles, Deputy Head Academic, Tormead School
Thank you again for yesterday and for all of your sessions this year. You have helped us to much and genuinely we have not been so enthused by any INSET that we have had here before at NP. Minuted today at our SLT meeting was record of how successful the INSET had been, 'the most successful we have had at NP' because of the combination of high quality delivery and innovative ideas and strategies. I would be very sad if we could not have you back here at NP again and it will be my job to try to find a way to make that happen!
Karen McNerney, Head of Early Years/Foundation Stage, Northwood Prep
A very belated but heartfelt enormous thank you for the brilliant INSET on Tuesday. My staff have been buzzing since then and all want to get involved in more thinking skills. Several have already ordered your book and we are poised for a new stage in the school life through this. Many many thanks again. We will be in touch.
Mrs Daphne Cawthorne, Headmistress, Wakefield Girls High School Junior School
Jane’s interactive INSET session on Active Thinkers – Active Learners certainly made an impression on our staff. The day was packed full with activities and suggestions to help teachers develop the students’ thinking, team-building and revision skills. Jane understands the pressures on staff and was realistic with the ways her ideas could be transferred into a classroom situation by enhancing, not detracting from, the main themes of the lesson. Jane’s calm, cheerful and confident approach kept everyone’s attention and the activities were lots of fun too. Thank you for a great day!
Mrs Jude Gough, Deputy Head, Westholme School
Thank you so much for a really interesting and stimulating day today. The pace was just right and there is so much useful information and material that we can continue to work on. I too was impressed with my staff’s enthusiasm and I put that down to your own very positive, enthusiastic and inspirational style, so thank you! You gave us so much to think about, and I could see many heads nodding around the room so you definitely struck a chord.
Ann Dobell, Headmistress, Kew College
You were quite brilliant on Wednesday and the staff are still engaged and discussing what you covered. Could I book for you Part 2? Many, many thanks.
William Trelawny-Vernon, Headmaster, St Ronan’s School
‘Active Thinkers – Active Learners’ was delivered in a thoroughly engaging manner and with good pace by a proficient professional. As teachers at the chalk face, we are always looking for ideas with practical application that will engage all learners at all levels. We are especially interested in growing the intellectual character of our children to allow them to become successful and happy learners and, to this end, Jane’s strategies are already being used in our everyday teaching. All teachers said that this was the best INSET they have had for a long time! We have booked up for Day Two!
Sue Fisher, Forres Sandle Manor Prep School, Hampshire.
Our teachers found your session fascinating. In the Junior School they were already putting some of your ideas into practice this morning. Overall, it was lovely to have the opportunity to think about how we can move both girls and teachers forward in their thinking and learning, and so many of the activities were exceptionally engaging.
Jane Gandee, Headmistress, St Swithun’s School
I would just like to say a huge 'Thank You' to you for coming to Foremarke to be a part of our INSET programme earlier this week; we thoroughly enjoyed having you with us and I hope that you enjoyed being here with us too. I have never heard our staff body speak so positively, or enthusiastically about any INSET that they have received before and have heard from a fair number that they have already tried some of your activities in their lessons this week - with some great results. We would very much like for you to come back again next year.
Paula Bushby, Director of Studies, Foremarke Hall, Repton Preparatory School
Many thanks for leading our INSET last week; I am still hearing such appreciative comments from staff. Your approach fitted perfectly with what we have been doing with thinking skills and, as I said, opened up new dimensions as well. The emphasis on classroom practice was also invaluable.
Pauline Clarke, Deputy Head, Croydon High School
It was great having you take our INSET again - you are so positive and inspiring. Once again thank you for an inspirational, practical day which always leaves me buzzing and feeling this is what education is about.
Elizabeth Hargreaves, Headteacher, Feniscowles Primary School
This was an excellent session, with a bright, positive person running it who did not shy away from the important issues. There was a strong underpinning in terms of research. The crucial point for me was made at the end - that we have to involve parents. Without that ‘global’ change, it dissolves into a series of fun lessons - as she warned. Lots of ideas were provided, many of which could be adapted for classroom use.
Nicholas Hayward, Head of English, The Royal School, Bath
Thank you again for a fantastic day – I have had so many staff say how useful it was and we are implementing a whole school approach from September, which is really exciting. We have already held an assembly after tutor group meetings to establish what we all think makes a good learner and the children came up with some brilliant words which we can take forward.
Mrs Rebecca Morris, Director of Studies, Broomwood Hall
Thank you so much for being with us on Friday morning and for delivering such an engaging, enjoyable and helpful staff CPD session. We were delighted to have you with us and I received many very complimentary and appreciative remarks from colleagues. You gave us a great deal to reflect on and to use to enhance our work in the classroom.
Revd S C Harvey, Headmaster, Bury Grammar School for Boys
This excellent session prompted much enthusiastic discussion amongst the staff; it was particularly refreshing to have a presentation which identified immediately some of the key issues we were hoping to address and included practical, ‘easy to implement’ suggestions.
Stephanie Pattenden, Headmistress, Francis Holland School
Thank you so much for coming in yesterday and for all the work you did with us. Everyone is really enthused and talking about the ideas and research references you put forward, so it was a super start to the term. we are looking forward to putting ideas into practice now and I am hoping that we can develop many of the suggestions further.
Susie Mason Patel, Assistant Head, Bedford Girls’ School
Absolutely fabulous afternoon and evening, for girls, staff and parents. Your speech at Prize Giving was spot-on - several parents made a point of mentioning how much they enjoyed it and how inspiring they found it. So glad you are coming to do our INSET soon. Thank you from us all!
Sam Michau, Head, Derwent Lodge (The Schools at Somerhill)
Thank you so much for your inspirational workshop - I just love it when I come out of some Inset and know immediately how I can reflect and change my teaching for the better. Thank you.
Carrie Oliver Freeman, Cheam School
Thank you so much for a really inspirational day yesterday. So many of my colleagues have come to me this morning clearly still buzzing about it all. I really hope that we can sustain this momentum and develop our thinking skills programme. Many thanks once again for a wonderful day.
Sally Ward, Halstead Prep
Very many thanks for delivering a really well-conceived, powerful, varied and personalised training session at the end of term as WSFG. It was really well received by the staff and will, I know, take us forward in the way that we support our girls of all abilities.
Rachel Macfarlane, Head Teacher, Walthamstow School for Girls
Excellent warm, humorous, enthusiastic and an excellent communicator. Lots of practical ideas and activities that were fun to do and provoked discussion.
Joanna Gay, Deputy Head, The Study Prep, Wimbledon
Fantastic. Really inspiring. Can’t wait to try some of the ideas. I Think we would all have enjoyed a second day so that we’d have had more time to try the activities and discuss the matters arising. Wide ranging and clear, fascinating. Really fabulous entertainment as well as some great practical ideas.
Susannah Cannell, The Study Prep, Wimbledon
Thank you so much for an inspirational and enjoyable session. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the morning they spent with you!
Sarah Labram, Deputy Head (Academic), St James Senior Girls’ School
We are beginning to look more closely at the ways in which we are developing critical and creative thinking in a small girls' independent secondary school; and Jane came to lead a three hour INSET training for a small group of six interested staff. The session was excellent and everyone found it interesting, useful and relevant.
There are many fads in education but Jane is careful to base her ideas on what has been shown to be effective by published research and also her own individual practice. She strikes an excellent balance between the theoretical and the practical. Jane led the group well. She was sensitive to the questions and comments yet also mindful of the vast number of ideas she had to share with us. One member of the group who normally hates being asked to take part in 'practical activities' said that she found all the tasks meaningful and valuable. Jane’s manner is gentle but clear and at all times professional.
Christine Miskelly, Head of Critical and Creative Thinking, Princess Helena College
Thank you so much for Part 2 yesterday, gloriously full of practical ideas that are going to make a real difference. Thank you again.
Catherine Bartles, Teacher, The Royal School Haslemere
Can I just thank you again for a wonderful session yesterday. The feedback from the teachers has been fantastic – you had them eating out of your hand! A great balance of theory and practical application which they really loved.
Peter Hyman Greenford High School
So often “thinking” is overlooked as a skill that can be learnt and improved upon; yet with the arrival of Jane Simister my team became engaged and enthralled and they can’t wait for session number 2.
Peter Rushforth, Headmaster, Heatherton House
We all loved your training and want more! So many of our staff have told me that yours was quite the best inset training they have had for years...You struck just the right balance between information, paper and game playing.
Thinking Skills at Northwood College
Before setting up her consulting service, C J Simister established and led the Cognitive Development Programme at Northwood College, Middlesex
“Go4it schools share a number of risk-taking characteristics. In the case of independent schools, it’s often a matter of their recognising that life beyond school for all young people, of all abilities, demands more than good exam results. As a result we’re seeing more and more already successful schools embarking on “Learning to learn” programmes... Of such programmes, the one on Thinking Skills at Northwood College is exemplary. It’s been devised and put into action by a teacher with the appropriate academic background and the right leadership skills.”
Gerald Haigh, TES columnist and Go4It Assessor
“A major and successful initiative...the innovative thinking skills programme...makes an outstanding contribution to pupils’ general education, influencing both their own and their teachers’ approach to learning.”
ISI Inspection Report, January 2008
“The school-wide thinking skills initiative enables the pupils to take greater risks in their learning and to adopt an imaginative, resilient approach to their studies... Applying themselves with evident enjoyment, they are keen to do well and eager to be challenged. Enthusiastic participants in their lessons, they are readily responsive, offering answers and opinions maturely and confidently. They work conscientiously, displaying perseverance and determination. When working in pairs or groups, they co-operate very well. In their questionnaire responses, the pupils acknowledge that they are encouraged to think independently and this was confirmed during the period of inspection.”
ISI Inspection Report, March 2012
“More and more schools are building thinking skills into their new curriculum vision, and innovative work is going on across all sectors. Northwood College, a girls’ day school in North West London, for example, has an ambitious and far- reaching Thinking Skills Programme and Jane Simister, who’s Northwood’s full-time specialist is an acknowledged authority on the subject.”
Gerald Haigh’s 5 Things to Think About