Our Journey


Over twenty years ago Ian Gilbert, was working as a French teacher in Northampton for a reason. Much as he loved French, he went into teaching to work directly with young people in areas of education that he felt were being sorely overlooked, areas such as thinking skills, motivation, goal setting, learning skills and creativity. In 1993, encouraged by a colleague and a loan of £20,000, he set up Independent Thinking Ltd. The goal then remains the goal today:

‘To enrich people’s lives by changing the way they think – and so to change the world.’

From a time before the word ‘stakeholder’ existed, Independent Thinking has been working with those involved in education to help them be even better at what they do.

From its origins as a vehicle for Ian to work with schools across the country armed only with his flipchart pens, a massive CD player and a MindMap he knocked up when his flight was delayed in Kuala Lumpur, it has grown into a dynamic network of dozens of Associates working in hundreds of schools with thousands of people across the UK and increasingly internationally.

Interestingly, Independent Thinking doesn’t employ anyone, it doesn’t own anything and it doesn’t produce anything. And while it needs to make a profit, it never puts that above making a difference.

With the current education reforms taking place globally, reforms that are more about the business of education than the heart of education, Independent Thinking is positioned where it works best. In the margins, on the edge, in the cracks, fighting the resistance and helping empower all those who know that there is more to school life than passing exams and sitting in rows.

So, come and join in. We are open to all who have something to offer when it comes to the sort of education we believe in, one that is about what we can bring out of, rather that simply put into, young people’s heads.

We look forward to working with you on the journey.