The Case for Philosophy For Children In The English Primary Curriculum

  • Rhiannon Love


The introduction of the new National Curriculum in England, was initially viewed with suspicion by practitioners, uneasy about the radical departure from the previous National Curriculum, in both breadth and scope of the content. However, this paper will suggest that upon further reflection the brevity of the content could lend itself to a total re-evaluation of the approach to curriculum planning in individual schools. This paper will explore how, far from creating a burden of extra curriculum content, Philosophy for Children (P4C) can in fact be a driver for the whole primary curriculum. With the renewed focus on Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development (SMSC) in England, it will investigate the potential for P4C to engage and enhance these areas, which often are neglected or side-lined in the primary curriculum. It will consider the benefits to a class, and indeed school, of creating communities of enquiry and how they can influence school ethos, values and vision.

The paper will also share reflections on my own practice as a new trainer with SAPERE over the past two years of training student teachers, colleagues at the university as well as local primary school teachers and head teachers. In addition it will share examples of good practice from three schools where Philosophy for Children has been successfully integrated in a variety of models across the whole school curriculum.