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Philosophy in Schools with Students

Thursday 30 July 2015, 9:30 - 18:00
Parkinson Building, rooms 1.08, B08, B09 and B10

Conference Rationale

Philosophy is not part of the core curriculum of UK education, despite the intellectual, social and emotional benefits associated with talking and thinking together. Nevertheless, thousands of children and young people in nurseries, primary and secondary schools, and FE colleges, engage regularly in philosophical enquiry as a way to identify and address issues that matter to them, from friendship to fallacies. This is made possible due to the work of educators, philosophers, and charities such as SAPEREThe Philosophy FoundationBlooming Minds, and Thinking Space, as well as institutions such as the University of Leeds.

In recent years philosophy students and students of education have begun to develop this work. Since 2013 philosophy undergraduate students at the University of Leeds have had the opportunity to observe, plan, and lead philosophical learning in primary schools as part of their degree. This programme, Leeds Philosophy Exchange, now has a sister project, Bristol Philosophy Exchange, with plans for an Oxford Philosophy Exchange in the pipeline. These all involve students and teachers working together to develop a better understanding of philosophy with children. Each programme has given participants rich insights into philosophising with children, ideas and methods in education, and into the discipline of philosophy itself.

This one-day conference is designed to bring together undergraduate and postgraduate students, trainees, teachers, tutors, lecturers, and anyone else with an interest in education and philosophy. It is an opportunity to collect and share insights into philosophical enquiry with children for university students, whose experiences of philosophising in schools are just the beginning, as well as researchers and experts in the field. Registration for the conference is free of charge, and lunch, teas and coffees will be provided.


We wish to acknowledge the generous financial support the School of PRHS and Leeds Arts Educations Engagement has given the conference, without which the event would not be possible.

Conference organisers

Grace Robinson, Teaching Fellow, School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science, Leeds

Elizabeth Watkins, MA Student, School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science, Leeds


  • Pete Worley, CEO and Founder, The Philosophy Foundation
  • Lizzy Lewis, Development Manager, SAPERE
  • Fufy Demissie, Senior Lecturer, Department of Teacher Education, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Steve Bramall, Independent P4C practitioner, Steve Bramall Associates
  • Michael Lacewing, Director of Research, Philosophy and Theology, Philosophy and Theology, Heythrop College.
  • Kath Jones, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Founder and project leader, Blooming Minds and University of Greenwich
  • Charlotte Blease, Postdoc research fellow in Philosophy, University College Dublin
  • Darren Chetty, PhD Candidate, Institute of Education, Rap Classroom Founder,
  • Arabella Carter, Teacher, Ethical and Religious Studies, Repton School, Derbyshire
  • Carola Hübler, Master’s student in Philosophy, Johannes Gutenberg – Universität Mainz, Germany
  • Ezgi Emel, P4c Co-ordinator, Istanbul Utopya Primary and Secondary School, Turkey
  • Ori Freiman, Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
  • Isabelle Millon, Teacher and Trainer in P4C, Institute of Philosophical Practice, France
  • Ellie Hart, Co-ordinator and Co-Founder, Bristol Philosophy Exchange
  • Florence Cathcart, Undergraduate Student in Philosophy and Philosophy in the City practitioner, Uni. of Sheffield
  • Tainá Lopes Rangel de Sousa, Undergraduate Student in Philosophy, State University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Lana Costa de Andrade, Undergraduate Student in Philosophy, State University of Rio de Janeiro
Download the Conference Programme (pdf), File Download

Society Ideas

At the end of the conference, the development of a society for those interested in and practicing philosophy in schools was mentioned. Our motivation for this suggestion was that there appeared to be no body to represent the practice of philosophy in the school context and provide resources for the development of this for the wide range of individuals across varied institutions currently interested and engaged in doing philosophy this way. We were interested to know whether or not people think there would be added value from a UK society of this kind, beyond the existing provision of accredited training, support networks and other resources from other national and international organisations. And if so, what would the society ought it to look like and be responsible for?

We are very keen to involve other existing providers of resources for those leading philosophy sessions in schools in this conversation. Our intention in facilitating this conversation is not to end up with a body that duplicates or rivals the work of existing organisations.

We are keen to hear what kind of society (if any) it is that you would find most useful for developing your own philosophy interests and programmes, but also of any experience that would be relevant to thinking about the creation of a society. If you have any thoughts on the questions below, or other questions and ideas that you think need to be asked at this point, please get in touch with us via We would also appreciate hearing from anyone who would be keen to take on responsibilities for organising this process of visioning a society, including publicising it, sourcing funding, and coordinating those who contribute to the discussion.

  • What should the function(s) of a society be?
  • What kinds of people would be in it? (Teachers/teacher trainees/teachers trainers/academics/students/independent practitioners/other?)
  • How should it be funded?
  • Would it have formal/informal affiliations with existing national and international P4C organisations and societies?
  • What would the extra value of having a society be, given the wide provisions of resources by existing P4C organisations and societies?


Here are some of the presentation and literature that featured at the conference. These documents have been generously shared by the authors and can be downloaded and adapted for use in your own practice. Where this is done please be sure to credit the original author and source of the work appropriately. Thank you.