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In 2017 Thinking Schools @Exeter introduced a reflective accreditation approach, developing a continuing improving ethos and process for schools. 

All schools seeking to gain the Exeter Thinking School Award (Level 1) or the Exeter Advanced Thinking School Award (Level 2) will be accredited using the Reflective Proforma and digital evidence format.  See Accreditation Process for fuller details.  


Phase 1 - Information Gathering

  • School makes initial contact with TS@Exeter 
  • TS@Exeter to provide criteria and guidance on requirements for submission of evidence 
  • Discuss time frame for accreditation and agree a submission date for the application and evidence 
  • School to prepare digital portfolio of evidence/develop thinking skills evidence on school website.   

    How evidence is presented is entirely at the school's discretion.  Schools are encouraged to use their websites where possible to demonstrate the thinking school ethos and activity taking place within the school either with a dedicated area on the school website or evidence incorporated into an existing curriculum framework website. However, we are also happy to accept evidence as a digital portfolio, for example collation of documentation presented on a flash drive/google drive, video evidence on you tube, iBook presentation. 

Phase 2 - Evaluation

  • School to complete accreditation reflective proforma, providing links to the evidence in the digital portfolio or URL links to the evidence on their school website.   

On receipt of the completed reflective proforma and evidence: 

  • the evidence will be considered by a TS@Exeter evaluator and if all the criteria is met, accreditation will be awarded. If criteria appear not to be met, advice and support will be given on how to meet the criteria more fully. 

Phase 3 - Accreditation

  • TS@Exeter will provide the school with a written report together with formal acknowledgment that the school meets the required criteria and recommendations for further development.
  • TS@Exeter will provide the school with a certificate and trophy.
  • Schools will be granted permission to use the University of Exeter logo for a period of three years from the award accreditation date on their school website and publicity materials.
  • Schools will be invited to join the Exeter Professional Learning and Inquiry Network (ExPLAIN).
  • Schools will be invited to attend (or view via online streaming where available) the Graduate School of Education research seminars.
  • TS@Exeter will invoice the school for the accreditation fee. Payment within one month is required.
  • TS@Exeter will arrange a follow up developmental visit to the school by a TS@Exeter evaluator during the three year period of accreditation.  This is normally arranged to take place at the end of the first year of accreditation. For international schools or UK schools where costs may be prohibitive the developmental visit may take for the form of Skype sessions.


Please contact Thinking Schools @Exeter for current criteria and application/reflective proforma.

  • Level 1 criteria
  • Level 2 criteria
  • Accreditation Application Form and Reflective Proforma

TS@Exeter offer schools two levels of accreditation for the Exeter Thinking School Award.  Please click on the below links to see the criteria for each level.

Level 1 - ‌ Level One Criteria - A Thinking School

Level 2 - ‌ Level Two Criteria - An Advanced Thinking School

Whether you are seeking Level 1 or Level 2 accredited thinking school status, schools will be charged an accreditation fee* on a sliding scale according to school size and pupil enrolment numbers.   

Please contact for current fees.

Schools will be invoiced once accreditation has been awarded.   If fees are prohibitive for your school please do contact us. 

Travel and accommodation costs incurred by the evaluator for the developmental visit are met by the school at the time of the visit.  For international schools or UK schools where these costs may be prohibitve the developmental visit may take for the form of Skype sessions.


* The fee will include VAT* where appropriate.  VAT is reclaimable for VAT registered companies.