Philosophy for Children (P4C)

At New End School, we use the Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach to teaching and learning, to help children to develop into effective, critical and creative thinkers and to take responsibility for their own learning in a caring and collaborative way. We do this by providing practical ways of developing good thinking, questioning and communication skills.

During regular P4C sessions, children and their teacher share a stimulus, for example, a story, film clip, picture; they then take thinking time to devise their own questions and together the class chooses one question for further enquiry.

With experience, children’s questions become deeper and more thought provoking. The children’s discussions become more disciplined and focused yet, at the same time, more imaginative. The approach not only helps to develop creative and critical thinking skills but also encourages children to care more about what others say and develop the ability to recognise differences and explore these collaboratively.

The aim of P4C is to help children to develop the skills and dispositions that will enable them to contribute as responsible citizens of the future. This supports the school’s core identity, where children learn to listen to and respect each other.

Often, P4C is linked to a particular topic area or curriculum subject, particularly in English, PSHE or RE. There is the opportunity to make links between matters of personal concern such as love, growing up, friendship, bullying and fairness and more general philosophical issues such as change, personal identity, free will, space, truth and right and wrong.

P4C helps to create an environment where a child’s questioning can flourish, developing children’s abilities to ask their own thoughtful questions. Additionally, it helps to enhance the quality of learning as a whole and raise standards of attainment and achievement.

As from September 2017, New End has been participating in the Going for Gold scheme run by SAPERE, the educational charity responsible for the development of P4C in the UK.

If you are interested in finding out more about P4C then please go to or have a read of the research highlights.