I'm thinking of booking, but...
I'd like to know who would be running my training.
In almost all cases, it will be either Jason or Tom. On peak INSET times at the beginnings and ends of terms we also work with a small group of associate trainers who are experts in their own right. Many have been doing P4C for longer than us!
There’s many P4C trainers out there, what makes you different?
We place big importance on delivering training and resources that are easy to digest, and simple to embed into the existing curriculum. Our Philosophy Circles approach is the culmination of years of experience in the classroom. We receive weekly feedback from teachers on how it has revolutionised not only their practice, but their approach to P4C. But don’t just take our word for it – read teachers’ feedback here.
Where can I find out what others have said about your training?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to send one staff member on a cheaper open-course, who can then feed back?
The the initial outlay would be less, but so would the impact. On the course, the teacher will be engaged in a day of hands-on experiences, interactive demonstrations and those magical moments that make everything click. It’s impossible (not to mention unfair!) to expect thay staff member to re-create this experience for others, and a dissemination of notes will usually end up in the INSET graveyard.
Plus, these courses usually cost upwards of £300. For little more than 3 times the amount, more than 30 times as many staff can receive the same experience.
One of our staff has had training in P4C and it would save the school a lot of money to keep training all staff in-house. Shouldn’t we go for that?
You could do, but take a moment to consider the wider picture. For an average-sized school of 30 staff, you've already spent £6k on wages for the day, and so it's important you make the experience worthwhile. You could ask a member of staff to deliver it, probably for the first time. Or you could invite someone who has done it hundreds of times and has refined it over several years.
It’s quite an investment and we simply don’t have the money. Are there other options?
Yes – you could ‘buddy-up’ with another school to share the cost. Or you could ask to be put on our ‘short-notice’ waiting list. When we have quiet period, we’ll give you a few possible days that can be delivered at reduced cost. We also offer half-days.
What if I feel the training hasn’t been worth the money?
This has never happened, but should you feel it hasn’t been worth it, we’ll refund the entire cost.
Curious what the workshops are like?
How long do pupil workshops last?
We usually stick to the length of your school day – so five to five and a half hours in total, following your usual pattern of breaks. For gifted pupils, particularly at secondary school, keeping one group together for the whole day has great benefits, but most workshops can be split between two groups doing a half day each.
For primary schools or Year 7, we can work with up to six classes during a day, in sessions of 30-60 minutes each, however you want to split it.
How much does a workshop day cost?
Pupil workshop days are £750 + VAT, and if you take twilight INSET on the same day, we reduce this from £400+VAT to £250+VAT.
What’s the best size for a group?
At secondary, probably 15-24, 30 max. Momentum can be lacking in groups smaller than 10 if they are quiet and shy to begin with; up to 24 is probably optimal for giving each participant the chance to be heard in whole-group discussions.
At primary, an ordinary class group is fine. We used to offer to work with up to 40 pupils, but although schools were happy with the results we didn’t find the dialogue had the same depth.
How able do participants need to be?
This is going to sound like an advert for “pills for all ills”, but P4C does have something to offer across the range of ability and motivation. All the workshops were originally developed for G&T pupils, but we have worked with whole year groups as well in small secondary schools.
In primary, practically all of our workshops are with full classes.
The general atmosphere of the workshops will appeal to all ability ranges: there is a fair bit of moving about, lots of humour, and P4C as a method is often successful in drawing out engaged and thoughtful responses from pupils who rarely contribute in other lessons.
At the top end of the ability range, the open-ended questions the complex links that can be made between different concepts provide a high level of challenge, and if you have some exceptionally gifted pupils we will enjoy pushing them to their limits.
Do staff need to be present?
You don’t have to have a staff member to help, any more than you would have a teacher shadow a supply teacher! If you can spare someone, or a rotating team of staff, we expect they will enjoy it and may pick up some techniques they can use in their own classroom – during moments when the pupils are working in groups, we'll always “show our working” and explain the thinking behind the activities to staff who are interested.
As long as we know where the loos are and can get access to a cup of tea at lunch time, we're self-sufficient.
Do you need an interactive whiteboard or other facilities?
Not usually. One of the alternatives for The Ethics Committee uses some short videos, but other than that things are deliberately no-tech so as not to distract from the most interesting visual aids in the room – each other.
What sort of room do you need?
Within any day, some activities require the whole group to sit in a circle, others ideally need an open space, preferably about 30 feet long by 15 feet wide. A drama studio is ideal as it saves moving furniture repeatedly. A generously sized classroom is fine.
But PLEASE don’t schedule a pupil event in the school hall. All our presenters agree – the only time we’re less than happy with the way a day goes is when it’s in a big, echoey space like a hall or sports hall. Whether it’s the psychology of speaking out in a place with a high ceiling, or the association of halls with sitting still and listening, it just doesn’t get the best from the children. Even if you mark off some space in a corner, you can’t create the required intimacy – and it’s murder on the presenter’s voice as well. It’s better to move from place to place and use ordinary classrooms.
Can you put together something different for our particular needs?
Usually, yes. The main skill in what we do is in creating the conditions for philosophical dialogue. Context, duration, age group are all flexible, and being asked to explore a different theme helps to spark off our creativity: you’ll know yourself how much easier it is to come up with new ideas when someone else gives you a starting point. So if, for example, you’re running a gifted summer school with a particular focus, we’ll see what we can do.
Making a booking
I’d like to make a booking. How do I do it?
Either email Tom directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Once I’ve enquired about a booking, what will happen next?
Tom will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible, and ask you more about your school’s requirements, so we can tailor to meet and exceed them.
How far in advance do I need to book?
The earlier the better. Most schools book at least a half-term in advance, but we sometimes have short-notice availability, so get in touch no matter what date(s) you have in mind.
I’m interested in booking more than one day – is there a discount?
We have our daily rates and feel they provide exceptional value, so we aren’t in a rush to slash them. However, anything beyond a day will be even more tailored to your school, and so prices will vary too.
I’ve already purchased a School Resource Pack – does this money come off the price of training?
Yes, it does.
Can I invite other schools to a training?
Yes, in fact we encourage it as it can create a collaboration between schools on their respective P4C journeys. As a thank-you to the host school, we take £50 off your invoice for each school represented.
Should I invite teachers to a training, or all staff?
We always recommend all staff attend. TAs play such an important role in the embedding of P4C, and it’s also important all staff are on the same page.
Using our shop
I've ordered some books from your shop. How long will they take to arrive?
Each order is processed and packaged by Tom. We aim to get everything in the post within 48 hours of receiving the order.
I've made an order, but never received a confirmation email. Where is it?
It's almost certainly in your junk-mail folder. If it’s not there, contact us with details and Tom will look into it.
I placed an order yesterday. Where's my stuff?
Unfortunately, we don't have a big warehouse with pickers working round the clock. Tom takes care of all orders, and aims to make the trip to the local post-office within 48 hours of receiving an order.
It's been a few days. Where's my stuff?
Dispatch can occasionally take a day or two longer than expected if we're in residence in a school. Tom will be in touch if there's any significant delay.
How can I pay?
You can pay via PayPal, or using your credit or debit card. If you are ordering from a school address, you can request an invoice.
Can I request a personal invoice?
We're sorry, but we only accept invoices to school addresses. It's for our own sanity. If payment doesn't arrive, chasing up schools is frustrating, but we can just about fit in it. We receive so many orders that to chase up individuals for payment would drive us nuts.
Signing up to our bulletin
I signed up to your free P4C resources, but still haven't received anything. Why not?
We send a 'Confirm you want us to send you stuff' email, to ensure we don't get consigned to the Spam folder. So take a look for that - including, ironically, in your Spam. It'll be from Jason Buckley, not "The Philosophy Man."
If that is nowhere to be found, then you've either just not found it - you wouldn't believe how many write to us saying it's not there, but check again and it is. Or, you may have entered your email address wrong Don't feel bad. Dozens do it each month. Just double check you know it correctly, especially if it's a school one, and go back and put it in again.
I receive the free p4c resources, but have changed my address. Do I need to enter it again?
No, just contact us and ask for it to be updated. We'd recommend this over re-entering, as you'll have got to a certain stage in the 'back-catalogue' sequence, and as useful as the emails are, it would be a shame to have to start again.
I'm receiving two emails a week, instead of one. Why is this?
For just over six months, you'll receive two a week, made up of:
One freshly-baked - topical resources and curriculum ideas to use that week
One specially selected resource from our 'greatest hits' - we started sending these broadcasts 6 years ago, so why should recent subscribers miss out on what's already been sent?
Once the back-catalogue emails finish, you'll then receive just the fresh, topical one.