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  • Paul Stockley

P4C in the Time of Covid

“P4C is a fun activity to do – it’s exciting to do – it’s good to sit with friends and hear their ideas. Sometimes their ideas really help us with problems.” (Y6 pupil)

Paul Stockley is headteacher of Bradway Primary School, and used Philosophy for Children (P4C) throughout the period of lockdown. Paul reflects on the positive impact on children’s learning experience, and how this continues now that they’re back in school.

At Bradway Primary School, after six months of disruption, we are finally back to some sort of ‘normality’, whatever normal is. It has been a challenge, settling the children back into learning after what has been, for many, a long absence from ‘formal’ education. P4C, of course, is already helping to make that transition a successful one, by giving children a forum in which to express views and opinions about a range of issues that interest them or concern them.

At a time of anxiety for many people, it is wonderful to see the care which is expressed between pupils as they adapt to being around their classmates again. This term’s school curriculum is art and design based, so many of our philosophical discussions have been focussed on concepts such as art, beauty and truth. We are conducting P4C, in our class bubbles, as we did before, with circles of enquiry and lots of warm up games.

At Bradway, P4C has been a key part of our improvement journey, and has been central to our curriculum over the past four years. It will continue to underpin our vision for the future since it has the power to transform children’s thinking.

During lockdown, despite the challenges, we continued providing P4C activities for children to do at home. Now that they are back, the value of P4C for the children is evident, right across the school, and we are proud of our children’s ability to talk and think about the world around them in a critical, creative, caring and collaborative way, something that is particularly relevant and important at this time of rapid change.

At Bradway we have always understood that preparing children to successfully face the challenges of the world, and preparing children to be successful learners, are two sides of the same coin; in our opinion, you can’t have a successful learner over time if you neglect development of the whole child and P4C helps with all aspects of children’s learning.

Children love doing P4C. The following quotes from our children exemplify the positive and wide ranging effect that philosophical thinking, and specifically P4C, can have on children’s lives:

“I didn’t have a lot of friends before P4C – I found it hard to fit in – people liked different things to me. P4C teaches us to work together and to be kind.” (Y5 pupil)

"I think P4C might be one of the most important things in the world, to make the world a better place” (Y3 pupil)

In September 2019 we achieved the SAPERE Silver Award for our achievements with P4C and we were aiming to achieve Gold in 2020 - before the world changed with Covid19 and put our plans on hold. We are now aiming for Gold in 2021!

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