On Wednesday Barbara and I went to Jon Trotter’s school, Handford Hall Primary, in Ipswich. The hall was filled with lots of teachers from Suffolk, a smattering from Norfolk, and some important people like advisers and teacher trainers. There was a great deal of excitement from the teachers who had gone to visit Buranda Primary School in Australia, to see philosophy taking place in the classroom. It reminded me of examples of things that had been happening in Norfolk classrooms about 10 years ago with the Thinking Schools, Thinking Children initiative. However an Ofsted inspector said that in the past couple of years she hadn’t seen any philosophy going on in the Norfolk schools that she had inspected. It seemed impossible – is it that schools felt Ofsted wouldn’t be interested? Helen lamb, a Head Teacher from Woodside Infant and Nursery School, invited her to visit her school in Norfolk where it is alive and well! Brilliant Helen. I bet she will be impressed.
In our own school I remember the amazing effect philosophy had on all the children. One boy, a selective mute in Reception, said a couple of years later that he began to speak because of philosophy. He said that listening to the others he realised that you didn’t always have to get the answers right. He went on to get Level 5 in all his SATs at the end of Key Stage 2!