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School of Education

Thinking Schools @Exeter


Change in management of the accreditation process for the Exeter Thinking School Award and Exeter Advanced Thinking School Award

From 2003 - 2023 Thinking Schools @Exeter (TS@Exeter) has represented the long-standing engagement with research on teaching for thinking and creativity at the School of Education (SoE) at the University of Exeter, and offered schools in the UK and internationally a route to accreditation through the Exeter Thinking School Award or the Exeter Advanced Thinking School Award.

Following a period of restructuring within the University, we are pleased to announce a change in the management of the Thinking Schools accreditation process managed to date by Thinking Schools @Exeter (also previously known as the Cognitive Education Development Unit).   

We are delighted to announce that Dr Dave Walters, School of Education associate and Thinking Schools Assessor, has become the licensee of the Exeter Thinking School Award and the Exeter Advanced Thinking School will be delivering and managing thinking schools accreditations on behalf of the University of Exeter as part of the suite of services offered within his Grounded Practice Educational Services company.    

Dave Walters is an alumni of the University of Exeter whose research is in the area of cognitive education and school leadership, he has been involved with the delivery of thinking schools accreditations through the School of Education for a number of years, and therefore by taking on the management of the accreditations on behalf of the university is enabling this important and impactful work with schools in the UK and internationally to continue and develop.

Research in cognitive education, thinking skills and the thinking school approach is ongoing as part of the School of Education’s wider research portfolio, and accredited schools are encouraged to participate in research and activities organised by the School of Education when opportunities are available.

There has been a phased transition of management from the University of Exeter to Grounded Practice Educational Services between up to 23 December 2023. 

Schools undergoing accreditation assessment during the Autumn term 2023 have been contacted separately regarding the management of their submissions. 

Schools seeking to apply for accreditation or wishing to reaccredit should with immediate effect direct enquiries and submissions to Dr Dave Walters, Grounded Practice Educational Services, email:


December 2023

Our work

Following the change of management of thinking school accreditations, the research activity undertaken by Thinking Schools @Exeter associates is now subsumed within the broader research groupings in the School of Education such as the THINK Network, the Centre for Research in STEM Education, and the Creativity and Emergent Educational Futures Network

The School of Education offers an MA Technology, Creativity and Thinking in Education, led by Dr Judith Kleine Staarman. In this programme students explore how teaching and learning needs to adapt to meet the needs of future learners, with a particular focus on new technologies to develop students’ Thinking Skills and Creativity.