STUDENTS AWARDED GOLD FOR ASKING ‘LIFE’S BIG QUESTIONS’
EAST LONDON’S MANORFIELD PRIMARY RE-ACCREDITED WITH TOP STATUS BY CHARITY SUPPORTING PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN IN THE UK
Manorfield Primary, a school in the Tower Hamlets borough of London, has been re-accredited with Gold Award status by a charity that fosters philosophy in schools across the UK. The award, conferred over the summer, confirms Manorfield as a leading and exemplary school for its integration of philosophy into the school syllabus, as well as the fostering of critical and creative thinking in the pupils’ daily lives to help engage with what the charity, SAPERE, calls ‘life’s big questions’.
The award reflects several years’ worth of development at Manorfield, with students working together in classes to form questions based upon a given stimulus and then discussing answers in an open and communal manner. SAPERE calls these ‘philosophical questions’ because they are ‘contestable, central and common’, and Manorfield students have leapt at the chance to take on the tough topics: a Year 4 pupil commented that she enjoyed these Philosophy for Children (or P4C) classes because ‘there is no right or wrong answer’ and described how they ‘challenged your brain’.
Manorfield were accredited with the Gold Award by the charity in 2016, and the re-accreditation process involved a visit to the school from a delegate who observed P4C sessions in various classes across age groups, as well as sitting down to lunch with several ‘P4C leads’ – children from Years 3 to 6 who lead the philosophy initiative for their classes and the school as a whole. In the report it was noted that there had been ‘renewed development and progress’ since the last visit, whilst the school was praised for how its curriculum ‘continues to be developed to link with the learning of philosophical concepts within subject areas’.
Particular commendation was given to the school’s P4C Leader, Nicole Saunders, for ‘her passion, drive and commitment in keeping P4C high on the agenda’. Ms Saunders said she was ‘immensely proud’ of the award and described how P4C at the school ‘has attracted visitors both nationally and globally to come and see us,’ calling Manorfield pupils ‘wonderful thinkers’. Examples of the questions students have been discussing include ‘should we travel through time?’, ‘does technology rule us?’, ‘Money growing on trees: good or bad idea?’ and even ‘should robots replace teachers at school?’.
To find out more about P4C and SAPERE, visit: https://www.sapere.org.uk/
To follow P4C at Manorfield Primary, see: https://twitter.com/P4CManorfield
Follow Manorfield on Twitter (@ManorfieldPri) here: https://twitter.com/ManorfieldPri