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Thinking Hard

At Dartford Grammar School for Girls we are dedicated to excellence in teaching, learning and professional development.

Dartford Grammar School for Girls is the home of Thinking Hard - a national programme we have developed and showcased though The PiXL Club Partnership to drive challenge for all learners in the classroom

Our distinctive ethos of teaching and learning is based on our High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) and High Impact Learning Strategies (HILS) for students. 


Thinking Hard

High Impact Teaching Strategies 1 and 2 have formed the basis of Thinking Hard a national programme we have developed and showcased though The PiXL Club Partnership.Thinking-Hard-Model-

Influenced by Professor Robert Coe’s 2013 publication Improving Education we believe that ‘Learning happens when people have to think hard’.  With the advent of more challenging curricula across the key stages and the demands of both broader and deeper subject knowledge, students are required to develop depth of knowledge and understanding, the ability to analyse and evaluate and greater flexibility of thought.  These three themes are the foundation of the Thinking Hard Process.

The Thinking Hard process consists of our 12 Thinking Devices, Thinking Talk, Reading Strategies Reviewing and Revision.  We believe that the everyday interactions, routines and habits teachers use in the classroom have a profound impact on student learning.  Thinking Hard supports the development of key ‘high challenge, low preparation’ habits that can transform the learning climate in the classroom and support students’ thinking. ​You can read the impact of this approach on schools we have been working with by clicking here for an article we wrote for The PiXL Club magazine.

High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS)

Our five High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) ensure challenge for all.  These five strategies guide our reflections and provide a framework for our professional development and monitoring and evaluation.  Each of the HITS are supported by reflective questions to support planning and development, key practical classroom strategies and a programme of professional development including research informed seminars and Professional Learning.

High impact teaching strategy 1:3

Challenge for all and activities to develop high order thinking and problem-solving skills

High impact teaching strategy 2:

Effective questioning and high quality student talk

High impact teaching strategy 3:

Supporting learning

High impact teaching strategy 4:

Formative assessment & feedback

High impact teaching strategy 5:

Meta-cognition and learning reflection

High Impact Learning Strategies (HILS)

To support our HITS, the High Impact Learning Strategies (HILS) are a toolbox of practical approaches to learning for all students.  These strategies are grounded in research and provide students with a language, structure and the practical tools to develop true independence in their learning. 

High impact learning strategy 1:1

“Highly successful students try hard and think hard”

 High impact learning strategy 2:

“Highly successful students participate

 High impact learning strategy 3:

“Highly successful students know their strengths and weaknesses

High impact learning strategy 4:

“Highly successful students make the most of their teachers’ feedback

High impact learning strategy 5:

“Highly successful students take time to reflect on their work and their learning


If you would like any further information about Teaching & Learning at DGGS, please contact:

 Martin Jones or Simon Hardwick, Deputy Headteachers.