Posted: April 19, 2018

The Constance Bridgeman Centre is proud to be the latest UK school – and the first PRU in England – to receive a SAPERE Bronze School Award in recognition of their commitment to the Philosophy for Children (P4C) pedagogy.

P4C is a powerful approach to learning and teaching that boosts children’s reasoning, social skills, and overall attainment. Children are taught how to create their own philosophical questions. They then choose one question that is the focus of a philosophical enquiry, or dialogue. The teacher, as facilitator, supports the children in their thinking, reasoning and questioning, as well as the way the children speak and listen to each other in the dialogue.

As well as providing an academic curriculum, CBC aims to meet students’ social, emotional and behavioural needs and introducing philosophy helps to develop their self-awareness and critical thinking. By thinking about their rights and responsibilities, students learn to reflect on their behaviour and review decisions which they have made and, in many cases, now regret.

Although P4C is used extensively in mainstream schools, this is still a relatively pioneering initiative in PRUs. Independent research has shown P4C to be a solid approach that develops critical thinking and enquiry in learners; students learn to debate and listen to and respect the opinions of others, even when they may be different from their own. Over time they develop acceptance, tolerance and respect for those who have different beliefs and life circumstances to their own.

The Centre’s last Ofsted inspection in November last year observed that, ‘Leaders have adapted the curriculum to ensure that due weight is placed on raising pupils’ self-esteem and ability to overcome challenges. This is a good example of how you are considering the wider outcomes necessary for pupils’ future success.’ The Centre’s P4C approach is a big part of that.

CBC is one of a very small number of providers outside of mainstream schooling to offer P4C and the first to achieve accreditation at Bronze level.

Founded in 1992, SAPERE is the internationally recognised educational charity that promotes Philosophy for Children. SAPERE’s mission is to train teachers in P4C which encourages children to think critically, creatively, collaboratively and caringly. They help children, particularly those facing disadvantage, to become lifelong learners. Approximately 5,000 teachers a year are trained in P4C by SAPERE.