Reach for the Stars Induction Programme

  • Overview
  • Primary
  • Secondary

A 'Personal Learning and Thinking Skills' induction package

In the secondary curriculum the traditional concern with the transmission of valuable bodies of knowledge is counterbalanced by an emphasis on developing a set of valuable personal qualities (Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills). These are seen as essential for success in learning, life and work, and underpin all aspects of the curriculum.

The six cluster of qualities are more than just skills that can be trained. The point is to cultivate these qualities into becoming dispositions or habits of mind, they will come to mind and be used whenever needed.

Introducing and embedding the development of these qualities is likely to mean a shift in practice for:

  • Whole school curriculum design
  • Individual lesson delivery
  • Student responsibility and independence

Reach for the Stars is a blended package of learning resources to introduce students, their teachers and strategic curriculum leaders to the what, why and how of Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills and the essential learning habits that sit beneath them.

There’s something for everyone is this PLTS induction pack.

For students

The student induction section will enable them to get to grips with the learning habits they will need if they are to thrive in school.

For teachers

The CPD section will enable teachers to understand the implications of PLTS for their work in lessons across the curriculum.

For strategic curriculum designers

The strategic section will help curriculum designers to derive a robust strategic plan for embedding PLTS throughout the school.



Based on the theme of Astronomy, this blended package of resources enables the school to introduce a common approach to learning and establish a language for learning across the school.

Using the student induction package (Section 3)

  • Gives students a flying start as independent learners
  • Starts the year with a dynamic focus on learning
  • Intrigues students through the use of an unusual theme
  • Saves hours of design time. You can slot the sessions into your induction programme.
  • Gathers baseline data for progression in PLTS
  • Provides a platform for further development as the year and key stage unfold

Primary schools have used this student induction section to great advantage in post-SATS Activity weeks, giving their pupils a sound preparation for learning in secondary schools.

Using the teachers’ CPD sessions (Section 4) encourages staff to:

The material encourages staff to:

  • feel confident about the learning habits that sit beneath their classroom practice
  • develop learners that are more independent and capable
  • talk to students about strengthening their learning habits
  • engage in cross-curricular discourse about how students learn
  • come to understand what it means to personalise learning
  • enjoy their teaching more

Primary School have used this section of the package to enable their own understanding of PLTS and transfer the big ideas into the primary curriculum

Using the extended classroom based activities (section 5)

  • Deepens students’ understanding of learning
  • Develops key learning habits such as noticing, questioning and collaboration
  • Encourages cross curricular planning and delivery
  • Offers teachers exemplar materials and formats to imitate and adapt

Primary school have used or adapted these activities to deepen their pupils understanding of themselves as learners

Using a range of strategic resources enables curriculum designers to

  • Consider the historical, social and cognitive perspectives that relate to the rational for PLTS
  • Consider the implications of PLTS in redesigning the KS3 curriculum in order to lead to more effective learning at KS4
  • Create a PLTS policy and plan for implementation
  • Design a transformational CPD programme Primary schools have used these resources to consider the redesign of their curriculum, putting learning at its heart.


The blended package of materials consists of:

  • Books (by Professor Claxton)
    - Building Learning Power
    - Learning to Learn - the 4th Generation
    - What’s the point of school?
  • PLTS At A Glance cards
    - 10 sets of six cards which offer teachers lots of practical ideas for infusing PLTS into lessons
  • A CDROM full of resources

The CDROM contains intriguing materials for students, staff and school leaders.

Section One - Making the most of the materials - a ‘how to’ guide for combining the material to meet your needs

Section Two - Why build Personal. Learning and Thinking Skills? - includes stimulus materials for discussion by strategic leaders as they consider their policy for meeting the statutory requirement to develop learning habits in young people.

Section Three - Induction programme for students - provides extensive resources for an initial induction programme for use with Years 7 and 8 or Year 6 primary.

The material is organised around an astronomical theme ‘Reach for the stars’, has been designed to engage young people with a series of challenges that stretch their learning capacities and reveal habits that they need to develop in school.

There are four units each lasting about 75 minutes


Unit one: An introduction to essential learning habits. (download PowerPoint)
Unit two: Self management and team working
Unit three: Creativity and sound decision making
Unit four: Independent enquiry and reflectiveness

Each unit consists of a scaffolding PPt presentation, all printable resources and full guidance notes for the teacher.

The units can be taken as separate and discrete experiences, or all together as a learning induction day or part of a year 6 activity week.Grouped together they make a five hour day.

The section also contains a Star-Log which is used in each induction unit helping students to plot their learning capacities and set targets for improvement.

Details of Blaze PLTS on-line tracking instrument are also included in this section.

Section Four - Bringing staff of board - offers six CPD units designed to Introduce teachers to the learning habits that lie beneath the surface of the tought curriculum

  • Encourage staff to try things out in their classroom, observe the impact on students, and share and learn from each others experiments
  • Introduce staff to some of the classroom activities in Section five
  • Encourage staff to adapt these classroom activities for use in their own subject areas
  • Enable the design aid implementation of a cross curricular project around an astronomical theme.

Each unit can be used with either the whole staff or a group of staff.Each unit takes 45-minutes to an hour to complete but they can be combined and sequenced to fit the school’s needs.

The units consist of a scaffolding PPt presentation, full tutor guidance notes and copies of all necessary resources.

Section Five - Classroom based activities - consist of four classroom based activities which extend and deepen he learning habits introduced in the induction programme.The activities focus on specific learning habits and provide exercises that can be done in tutorial sessions or in specific curriculum areas.They are formatted to act as a stimulus to the development of similar activities by teachers.

  • Activity one - students work through a series of activities to cultivate their capacity to notice details and patterns below the surface of things.
  • Activity Two - a series of activities to cultivate enquiry mindedness and investigative skills

  • Activity Three - a collaborative activity, challenging students to work interdependently and make decisions that will affect other people.
  • Activity four - a series of activities to stretch students’ listening capacities, cultivating their ability to listen with empathy, inference and discernment.

Each activity consists of a scaffolding PPt presentation, full printable resources and extensive guidance notes for the teacher

Section Six - Where to next - offers three big strategic areas for development in tackling the next stage of the schools’ learning journey

Further Resources:




£ 450.00



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