Developing Independent Learners

Developing Independent Learners is a CPD course that uses playful and creative activities to give teachers new tools, methods and strategies to improve the independent learning capacity of pupils. This course supports teachers to understand how curriculum intent might be implemented so as to achieve maximum impact on standards and learning.

There is extensive research that demonstrates the positive benefits for children & young people of learning that allows for and encourages independent creative thought and experimentation. Participation by young people in structured activities focused on creativity has been proven to improve academic attainment in secondary-aged students, boost pre-school and primary aged children’s early literacy skills, increase language development and relate learning to real work.

In this course, we explain why independent learning is so beneficial and prompt teachers to re-examine how they think about their teaching and view it through a framework that encourages creativity and independent learning.

Developing Independent Learners uses playful, challenging activities to help teachers make new discoveries and open minds to ‘what if?’, ‘how can we…?’ and ‘let’s try this’. Teachers will learn how to develop a more creative mindset incorporating imagination, a drive to be inquisitive and the confidence to take controlled risks. Teachers will be supported to develop vision, strategy and structures that support creativity and consciously nurture and develop the independent learning capacities of their pupils.

Who is it for?

Developing Independent Learners is aimed at Primary and Secondary Teachers working in any subject but could easily apply to anybody who works as an educator.

Course Content

The full Developing Independent Learners course consists of 4 modules. For the full benefit, we would advise attending all 4 modules, however there is still a lot that can gained from attending just one specific module.

The 4 modules are:

It Starts With Play

The aim of this module is to move people out of their comfort zone and establish an equilibrium in which ideas might be generated free from constraint. It is framed as a first step in getting participants to think differently, and seeks to re-establish the ‘5 year old mind set’ in which 98% of us have genius levels of creativity. This module explores a range of elements from active listening and working collaboratively, to problem solving and generating ideas using the mechanism of play, playing with ideas and reflection. We also seek to equip participants with a set of simple techniques that they might use to articulate problems, challenges, opportunities and solutions creatively. These techniques enable participants to see issues through a different lens and communicate solutions and ideas in a more varied and original way. Although playful, we make the content relevant by providing challenges that are within the context of the school.

Understanding Creativity & Curriculum

This module looks to drill down into exploring what creativity is and supporting participants to demystify the term. We explore definitions and support participants to define what it means to them and their school. From this, we use a range of experiential challenges to explore the types of behaviours and characteristics that make us creativity, exploring how best to adopt these in a variety of contexts. We delve into group dynamics and collaborative creativity as well as examining creativity as a core-competency and how to encourage experimentation and innovation throughout a school, as well as raise awareness of the types of behaviour that might inhibit its growth.

Creativity & Problem Solving

This module is focussed on a collaborative creative approach to problem solving that IVE have developed over the last 20 years. Teachers which complete this module will be equipped with a new skillset to evaluate and address challenges within their school. This approach involves a process in which the problem is owned by an individual and the problem solving process is owned by someone else. The solutions or ideas are then generated by the group. The process we advocate takes participants through a process that focuses on the types of behaviour, language and structure needed in order to generate innovative solutions that might lead to action.

Embedding Independent Learning within the School

This module explores how the creative problem solving process can be embedded within whole school mechanisms and systems; exploring meeting structures, backward/forward planning and SMART action planning. It reviews how independent learning is embedded into day to day practice and is built around an enquiry based approach to evaluation in which participants pose a question that they seek to answer and evidence through their day to day work. We also examine how a competency framework for creativity and independent learning might be assessed so that pupils’ progress might be mapped across their school career.

Pupil Benefits

There is extensive evidence that developing the independent learning capabilities of pupils

  • Improves cognitive abilities
  • Strengthens language development in younger pupils
  • Improves literacy
  • Greatly improves problem solving capabilities
  • Builds confidence and the ability to work on their own initiative
  • Improves resilience and other mental health outcomes

Improvement in these key areas boosts overall academic attainment across subjects.

It also equips pupils with a valuable skillset which is much in demand in the workforce.

You can find out more about how creativity benefits pupils in our White Paper. “Why do good and outstanding OFSTED schools demonstrate a creative mind set and an understanding of the importance of creativity?”


These 4 modules can be delivered as 4 separate sessions (for example as twilights) or in2 sessions over the course of a whole day (for example as an INSET day).

Prices depend on the training time and number of participants.

However, we’re making this training available for free to any school which can meet the following criteria.

  • You will need to be prepared to host the sessions at your school. Any member of your staff may attend.
  • You will need to ensure that at least 10 paying attendees from elsewhere sign up to the session.

We can also deliver in-house training which is a combination of any of the modules. Please contact to enquire.

For upcoming public training dates please visit our events page.

Alternatively, you can download a pdf of all our upcoming cultural education events for this academic year.

Download Cultural Education Events Calendar

Please get in touch to discuss a bespoke quote to fit your needs.

Praise for Developing Independent Learners

I found it all very inspirational.  The activities were superb (just what we needed as well after a days work, getting up and taking part and working together as a team ).  The connection with the game of tennis and challenges we face I found particularly useful for me as head and also the imagining St Mary’s as an animal – which I will develop further and ask children within the school to carry out which will help us in rewriting our mission and vision statement.  Saying that though it is one of the first training sessions where I can put hand on heart and say the whole 2 hours was superb and relevant!”

“Really enjoyable day that had an excellent mix of practical activities and opportunities to reflect on my practice”

“Thoroughly enjoyable training that left me with lots to think about in relation to promoting my students’ creativity”

“Some useful tips and techniques that will help students to be creative”

“This training offered great challenge to the concept of how we prepare kids for exams”

“Really great training delivered by an outstanding trainer!”

“Although I’ve been teaching for a number of years, I’ve learned lots from this training; Sharing ideas empowers others to make impact stronger”

We became more mindful about our teaching, practice”

“At the start of our project 28% of our year 2 students loved reading while 72% were more towards the ‘hate’ side” while at the end of it ‘81% enjoyed and wanted to do more reading’. We are definitely going to continue with this project in the next academic year.”

“I think 3 words sum up this training: supportive, purposeful, mindful.”

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