Philosophy For Children (P4C)

Socrates said that “The unexamined life is not worth living” and here at Northampton High School this is one of our fundamental aims to ensure that our students develop their thinking skills as thinking is life.


The P4C or “community of enquiry approach” has been shown to develop this still further as it is very adaptable; which is why it is used in adult groups as well as schools, and for recreational as well as educational purposes.

The approach has been implemented here at school as the aim behind it is to develop resourcefulness in the use of language by putting enquiry into the heart of the educational process, teachers begin to ask more open and genuine questions, whilst students become more confident in expressing their puzzlements and in developing their interests.

But developing a community of enquiry requires more than just concentrating on better questioning. It is equally important to develop reasoning and reflection, both in public and private. And these bring into play, among other things, emotions and the thoughtful expression of emotions.

In essence the process is multifaceted and profoundly personal. It presents an intellectual challenge to our girls, but also a social and emotional one. It encourages open-mindedness, and creates conditions for change.

Philosophy for Children promotes a forum for open dialogue in which participants are not content to exchange ideas and opinions as if they were bits of information. This term the U4th have been involved in looking at development in Sub-Saharan Africa, they have asked questions, sifted arguments and explored alternatives. Above all, they try to understand each other and the role disease is playing in the development of this area.


Mrs Langhorn, Senior Teacher