“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

A specialist in raising challenge and engagement through the promotion of intellectual character, effective learning and skilful independent thinking, C. J. Simister developed a unique school programme at her last school, Northwood College.   

Described as ‘a major and successful initiative’...(which) makes an outstanding contribution to pupils’ general education’ (Inspection Report, January 2008) and which ‘enables the pupils to take greater risks in their learning and to adopt and imaginative, resilient approach to their studies’ (Inspection Report, March 2012), it used a wide range of highly effective teaching strategies to encourage children of all ages to take an active role in asking questions, solving problems, thinking creatively and making decisions.  At the same time, students learnt to develop intelligent behaviours such as persistence, resilience, responsible risk taking, initiative and flexibility of mind. 

Now a full-time independent consultant working with schools across the world, Jane has drawn from her own experience and from the best of international practice to develop a simple but rigorous three-step approach that supports schools in becoming places which not only aim for the highest possible academic success, but which do so in a way that prepares young people for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The Future-Smart® model:

  1. offers schools a wealth of ideas for fostering and deepening intellectual character - the underlying dispositions and mindset that promote longer-term success and achievement

  2. improves the effectiveness of independent and collaborative learning

  3. helps young people to develop a more rigorous, skilful and creative approach to thinking.

She provides focused training sessions packed full of innovative and engaging ideas that teachers immediately want to go away and try for themselves.  Full day, half day and twilight sessions can be arranged - and courses are frequently adapted to the needs and situation of each particular school.

Alongside this, consultancy sessions can be provided for head teachers and leadership teams seeking to develop an effective and manageable action plan to support the process of change over time.

C J Simister is also available to lead activity sessions for children and evening presentations for parents.

Contact C. J. Simister to discuss ideas for your own school.

“In thirty years of teaching, in both the state and independent sector, I have not come across such a positive reaction as the one my staff gave to Jane Simister’s Thinking Skills INSET. 

As in many schools, we have talked, thought and argued about how to develop our pupils’ thinking and independent learning skills, but now we feel we have been shown practical and effective methods to instil them.  Jane’s honesty and openness about what she had tried and found did not work, as well as her infectious enthusiasm about what had, were very refreshing.  She really did inspire my staff and myself.”

Paul Mitchell, Headmaster, Cobham Hall

“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... Such INSET offers a real chance for cultural change and progression.”  Deputy Head, Wakefield Girls High School

For recent feedback, see the ‘Reviews and Testimonials’ page or click here


“Your sessions... were of extremely high quality and suited our needs tremendously well.  The staff appreciated the avowedly practical thrust of what you said and indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve had more positive comments from them than for any previous INSET session.  Over the last week, I’ve seen much evidence that many of your techniques are already being embraced and I am sure that our pupils are benefitting from them.”

Christopher J Wolsey, Second Master, Ibstock Place School, London