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Are you looking to inspire Headteachers?


Headteachers come to conferences to be inspired. They're looking for not only new ideas and fresh approaches, but practical strategies to improve the quality of teaching and learning at their school. They are managing staff already under pressure and wary of taking on “yet another thing”.

How can you guarantee a session that leaves Heads full of strategies their school can immediately use to deepen pupils' thinking, and within their existing curriculum?

Philosophy Circles Headteachers Workshops

For Primary, Secondary and Special School Headteachers/Deputies

Almost all Headteachers will have heard of Philosophy for Children (P4C). But there are obstacles to implementing it. Traditional one-hour stand-alone sessions won’t fit in their timetable.

Now there is an easier way for them to make the most of P4C in their school, without having to change their timetable.

Our Headteachers' workshops outlines the principles of Philosophy Circles, by putting them into practice through fun and interactive demonstrations, before suggesting ways to share them with colleagues. Each session includes a set of curriculum-based and stand-alone session plans to allow schools to make an immediate start with P4C.

Jason at a recent European conference.
Jason at a recent European conference.

"High octane,inspiring and brilliantly conceived..."

"High octane,inspiring and brilliantly conceived with so many practical applications to ensure debate, higher level questioning and in depth thinking."

The delegates loved the session and all had so much to take back to their schools.

Clive Rickart

General Secretary, Society of Heads

Help children find their voices

More and more children arrive in reception scarcely talking at all

Parents distracted by social media speak less to their children, and the impact is growing. In one school with many younger parents, children joining reception completely nonverbal rose from five, to half to the class.

If children don't learn to talk confidently to groups in their primary years, it's unlikely they ever will. It impacts their learning and their economic and social potential.

Philosophy Circles gives Headteachers a set of strategies to embed across their school, to overcome the different obstacles children have to speaking, and get (almost) every child talking:

  • Playground Confident, Classroom Shy - how to empower children who clam up in the classroom
  • Separating Thinking and Speaking - how to beat the "I dunno" card
  • Small Talk, Big Talk - how to keep them talking while raising the stakes
p4c training

"After 30 plus years of teaching, advisory and inspection experience I thought I’d seen plenty of innovative and exciting approaches in the classroom...

...but whilst sitting in a session led by Tom I couldn’t help feeling that here was something new and of superior standing. Philosophy Circles is like a magic portal (dare I say TARDIS….bigger on the inside!). I've been carrying it around in my handbag for months. Just 50 pages but packed with an ever expanding wealth of resources and don’t get me started on what it feels like when you try them out in class. As the book says ‘take the road less travelled’ and it will make ALL the difference to your class!" 

Sharon Hallis

Advisor and Inspector, Wiltshire

Practical for Teachers

How planning less gives more space for children’s independence, and more room for teachers to observe

With the ever-increasing pressure from above, teachers feel more and more accountable for planning every minute of children’s learning. This creates a dependency culture, with children always looking to the teacher, and teachers becoming dependent on their planning. Headteachers will learn how planning less and letting the questions do the work fosters greater independence for children and faster progress for the pupils:

  • Scribe, don’t script: how to be at the service of a discussion instead of leading it
  • How to create deep, worthwhile discussions within a 30 minute timetable slot
  • Simple, memorable principles that connect with your values as a Headteacher


Kent Headteachers Conference, 2017


Why your physical position in the classroom is key - and needs to change more than you'd think

We have to be able to command children’s attention in order to teach. But the techniques which establish our presence work against us when we want children to look to one another for answers. With our Philosophy Circles workshops, headteachers learn some tested techniques for changing their staff's role in the classroom by something as simple as where they sit:

  • How to 'Go Into Orbit' and let children develop independence
  • How giving children  “teacher power” improves discussions
  • How to deepen their thinking rather than adding your own
  • Forgetful Storytelling - a joyful route to a collaborating class

"At a time when 'higher order thinking' and 'consistent challenge' appear regularly in inspection reports, I believe P4C can help schools meet the challenge of extending all pupils"

Thanks for providing such an interactive and interesting workshop at conference today. As we discussed briefly the challenge for our schools is to embed P4C into the ' everyday ' in schools, more as a pedagogy than as a separate subject in its own right. At a time when 'higher order thinking ' and 'consistent challenge ' appear regularly in inspection reports, I believe P4C can help schools meet the challenge of extending all pupils. I hope to work with you again in the future, I am sure our staff and pupils would benefit hugely from your input.

Tony Shrubsall

Head of Junior School, St. John's College

Feedback from recent training:

"I cannot describe the buzz and vibe from the staff, all down to you."

"You really did create a huge buzz in school, which is a difficult shout on the first day back! You covered everything we wanted out of the training and gave us mountains of material to use in class.  I loved the fact you gave each phase some planning time to discuss ideas and plan sessions and then trial them out of colleagues.  You have definitely given us some inspiration and I am very excited to see what happens next."

"There was a buzz during the staff meeting, which for any member of staff attending a staff meeting knows this is a rare thing! All the staff said how enthused and excited they felt to get back into their classrooms and try out the methods they had been shown."

"The questions raised interested everyone and there was a real buzz in the room. Our training was full of practical activities and games, with the just the right amount of discussion about teaching techniques interspersed. What an inspiring day!"

"It is us who would like to thank you. It was such an inspirational INSET and the staff were truly excited. Several of us have run introductory sessions with the children and although it is early days the enthusiasm is palpable."

Interested in booking us for a Headteachers Conference? Send us a quick message with your contact details below and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

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"I just wanted to say thank you, your session was engaging and helpful for us all as a group of Headteachers."

Emily Caldwell

Headteacher, Park Walk Primary School

Quick and easy to expand to their whole school

Handouts from training courses often sit in the 'INSET graveyard'. It's full of ideas that sounded great on the day but which never quite got passed on to colleagues. Teachers are very busy, and so new initiatives often get buried under the hectic pace of day to day teaching. To avoid that, the workshop includes attractive minibooks that are written with busy teachers in mind. Our range of resources give all the support for Headteachers and colleagues to start straight away.


Minibooks that make the key principles easy to absorb

All the key ideas of Philosophy Circles have been carefully constructed around three principles. These are explained a minibook that is succinct enough for even a busy teacher to find the time to read.


Get Moving -  high-energy, active techniques to maximise engagement


Y-Questions - how to find questions that will provide real challenge


Take a Back Seat - how to change your role to give children independence


The book has memory aids in the form of stories, summaries and fun activities so it's easy for colleagues to make it part of their general teaching style.

Heads will also receive copies of the Thinkers’ Games minibook

  • Strategies for making thinking physical to promote engagement
  • Techniques and frames for question creation
  • Over 30 flexible games that can be adapted for any subject matter


Session plans for use within the primary and secondary curriculum

Most teachers who discover philosophy for children love the idea, but can’t find an hour for a session that does not connect to a crowded curriculum. So P4C gets squeezed out, and children miss out on the chance to deepen their thinking.

Our Headteachers workshops include a range of quick-start resources for 30 minute sessions on the most popular school topics. It makes it another, richer way to do what you do already, rather than something else to squeeze in.

Philosophy Circles
Thinkers Games Image 2

What teachers say about our resources...

These resources are absolutely superb. I've been trying/failing to use my imagination to get our girls more interested in this kind of thing. After using various books, an outside speaker and my own imagination I've made a tiny bit of progress, but your exercises captured the girls' imagination much more quickly. Great stuff.




Just wanted to thank you for all the resources you have created/sent to me/posted.  They're great and I'm using them weekly with my class.

Debbie Brooks

Can I start by saying how fantastic I think your ideas are - I really enjoy getting your emails and my Y6 class and I have really enjoyed using many of your stimulating resources. Recently, we spent all afternoon philosophising following your 'should Russia be sent home from the euros?' stimulus - kept my lively class engaged for hours. So huge thanks!

Jo Lowe

Newlands Primary School

Suddenly remembered that I have an inbox full of your emails and I have found so many good resources for kick starting discussions and debate. I am planning this lessons for year 7 form tutors (mainly PE, Maths and Economics teachers) so it has been really useful to have interesting resources to build on.

Lucy Strike

William Ellis School

There is definitely a buzz with your P4C materials with my current class and colleagues, which is all down to you.

Heather Soar

Handsworth Primary School

Thank you so very much for your wonderful P4C resources. I will prepare the sessions during the summer holidays in case I find another school who would like P4C before then.

These first lesson examples you have so kindly shared will be really useful and I just wanted to say a big thank you to you for your generosity of spirit. This will really help me to get going.

Rachel Hutchings

Kent County Council

I wanted to send you a thankyou as i have bee4n completing a research project in school this year and your emails inspired me to create a philosophy SOW for my year 8s.

Ann Morris

St Ambrose Barlow School

I wish to say a most heartfelt thank you to you as I used some of your exercises as part of a mini project and it has had tremendous feedback both from staff at my school and from tutors at university. I really appreciated you taking time out from your busy schedule to help me.
Thank you also for the wonderful resources that you send out, (the doughnut and it's hole being my current particular favourite - I have even had teachers reading philosophy papers about the concept of holes as a result of this lesson!)

Andrew Lawson

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your emails, I am finding them to be more useful than the majority of the information that I paid to have access to! I have only just started a P4C group as a volunteer at my children's school, my enthusiasm is by far more dominant than my experience and your emails are a really valuable guide.

Gemma Soper

I just want to thank you for all the P4C resources that you have been emailing me.  Our school uses them regularly as we conduct P4C throughout our primary school from foundation to year 6 once a fortnight. Most of our staff are quite new to P4C so your resources  have been greatly appreciated.



Athersley South Primary School

A note to thank you for the resources you send weekly. A few years ago I did the SAPRE level 1 P4C course and practiced it for a short while. However my interest has been revamped since recieving your weekly resources and I have now begun to practice it again with the year 6 class that I teach once a week. I am now in senior management and am encouraging others to take this up by observing my sessions and passing on your resources to teachers of older pupils in the school.  Your hard work is much appreciated. Many thanks.



Thankyou Jason for all these fabulous resources, as a Headteacher of a small primary you have given me so much to work with.


Christine Kirton


Thank you for the either ories stimulus, it was just what I needed to get my reception class really engaged with philosophy. Our final episode involved arriving back at the port and being offered the opportunity to stay and continue exploring or to go home. They absolutely loved it and we are following it up today.

Clare Walsh

Reception teacher

Thank you so much for your email and the inspirational attachments!
I left the first 'Would You Rather...?' (bear/snake/monkey) for PPA cover for my Y1 class this morning with very clear instructions on how it should be used and returned to find my TA and class incredibly positive about talking about their feelings and able to articulate their thoughts much more clearly!

A major breakthrough in a class that has found the transition to KS1 very hard so far, even with me as an experienced EYFS/KS1 teacher!! They are immediately more confident in talking through their thinking and gave clear and eager explanations all afternoon!

Let's hope they can continue to develop their deeper thinking and reasoning skills and the confidence to participate more!

Tina Hammond

Foundation Stage Phase Leader

What an incredible resource!
Many thanks!



Excellent, excellent resources.
Thank you very much.

Lisa Chaffer


Many thanks for all of your wonderful resources which you have kindly sent to me over the past 18 months. I have thoroughly appreciated all the help and inspiration you have given me. It has been invaluable.

Peter Reader

Thanks a lot for all the good material and great ideas. I've been working in Philosophy for Children in Porto, Portugal, since 2015 and I'm getting even more enthusiastic with your help.

Actually, last week i was making some research online about icebreakers and other games to apply with the children, and then i received from you some good examples to try in class. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not!

Marco Antonia

Teacher, Portugal

Thank you for your posts. They have been inspiring, giving me lots to think about and share.They put a new slant on everyday situations, real depth rather than the usual superficial conversations.

Avril Hapley



Workshops come with a range of session plans with a consistent, easy to follow format, plus a wealth of supporting stimuli and other resources.

 Curriculum based session plans

Easy-win resources

Spot and Stripe videos for the youngest children 

These resources inspire and instigate current discussions with the children which can occur in many curriculum areas. The mini resource booklets are great too as they are concise and clear. The resources are practical, effective and require very little preparation- which is great!

Though we have separate P4C sessions, we have easily and seamlessly begun to use it in other curriculum areas.

Kayleigh Dell, Greenway Primary School

What’s the difference between Philosophy Circles and “traditional” P4C?

All P4C gets children thinking about challenging questions, where teachers act as facilitators rather than knowledge-givers. Traditional P4C follows a series of stages. Children see or read a stimulus, think about the ideas in it, create questions, evaluate the questions, and then choose one to talk about. In Philosophy Circles, the facilitator usually asks the first question, so the children get thinking and talking straight away. Children’s own questions and ideas still emerge and grow through discussion. Rather than strict stages, Philosophy Circles is built around three facilitation principles which run through the whole process, making it more fast-paced and versatile for use across the curriculum.

Philosophy Circles


"It was great to meet you and work with you today; I thoroughly enjoyed it; I found it engaging and thought provoking. It was super that we had so many opportunities to try out the activities/games etc. The 'hot off the press' booklets are such a good idea; I will certainly be reading through mine over the weekend as I intend to try out a game or two with my class next week."

Ali Few

Deputy Headteacher, Broomfield School

This all sounds great, but what will OFSTED say?

With the relentless focus on data, everything schools do has to show an impact on maths and literacy. Fortunately, not only does OFSTED look very favourably on Philosophy for Children, but a recent EEF study demonstrated that it had a positive impact on both maths and literacy scores. We are excited about philosophy for its own sake, but it’s nice to know that it has a benefit for measurable outcomes, and in particular that it helps to diminish the difference between disadvantaged children and their peers.

‘Philosophy for Children is giving pupils the skills they need to present a point of view and become more articulate, thus boosting their confidence

St Matthews School, Westminster

“Impressively, year 2 pupils can identify ethical dilemmas in their fiction books and propose related questions for discussion in philosophy lessons” “Philosophy lessons challenge pupils to respond to probing questions, such as, “Are all humans connected in some way?”

Churchfields Infant School, South Woodford

The school advises and supports other schools in the use of philosophy with children. This exemplary practice is spreading throughout the school and is having a positive impact on pupils ‘communication and thinking skills and this is beginning to be reflected in their achievement. In an excellent philosophy lesson in the nursery children were challenged to think about the characteristics of two imaginary characters and whether they would change depending on their facial expressions or on what they wear. The curriculum is broad and balanced and meets pupils’ needs well, including the excellent promotion of their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and philosophy.

SparHawk Infant and Nursery School, Norfolk

In a year 5 and 6 philosophy lesson, excellent use was made of a recently released Christmas advertisement for a famous store to encourage pupils to identify sophisticated concepts such as reliability, hope, trust and friendliness. This work made a particularly good contribution to developing their social and moral awareness

North Lakes School, Penrith

‘The thought provoking and exciting curriculum the school has developed over the last two years is an outstanding component of the school’s success (this includes) the development of ‘Philosophy for Children’, a powerful tool which both excites the pupils and gives them the confidence to explore stimulating and challenging ideas and concepts. It not only strengthens their academic learning, but also encourages their empathy for others and gives them insights into the adult world

Ropsley Primary School

"Fantastic training where everyone was highly engaged and are now ready to start the P4C strategies at school. Very well organised, fun for all and lots of ideas to use immediately..."


Andrea Wadsworth

Headteacher, Crosslee Primary School

Who's running your course?

About Jason Buckley

The Founder and Director of The Philosophy Man. A life-long philosopher and former teacher, English, Jason is now an internationally renowned trainer, writer and speaker on P4C, classroom dialogue and stretching the more-able. He is author of three books, with more in the pipeline. Jason is also Director of Studies at GIFT, and also an outdoor education company, Outspark. In his spare time, he's a storyteller and improviser, and all these skills come together in his lively training, with minimum of Death by PowerPoint.

Click here to find out more about Jason Buckley →

About Tom Bigglestone

Tom's courses are incredibly well-received as he continues to work with classes week-in, week-out through his role at the Economist Eductional Foundation, alongside his training role at The Philosophy Man. He has been Head of Department at both primary and secondary level, and in both the maintained and private sector. He has specialised for several years in P4C, and in 2014 was awarded The Walter Hines Page scholarship, for which he spent time in the United States researching assessment of philosophical skills.

Click here to find out more about Tom Bigglestone →


Most conference organisers ask us to deliver workshops as part of the 'breakout' section of the day. As they prove so popular among Headteachers, we usually run at least two so as many can attend as possible. We're also asked to speak, either as part of the Keynote address or as a high-energy finish to the day.

Peak Full dayMon, Fri Full/half dayTue – Thu Full/half dayHead Pack
from £1250£1250 / 800£1000 / 7001 p/Headteacher

Resources Included With The Booking:

All Headteachers (regardless of whether they attend our workshop) receive a Heads' Resource Pack:

  • Copies of The Philosophy Circles Handbook and Thinkers' Games
  • Download of Philosophy Circles Starter Pack Resource Compendium - 12 session plans, Easy Win Resources, Help Me Find My Voice e-book and The Enquiry Dashboard,

Peak INSETs are the day or two at the start and end of each term and half-term. All prices are +VAT.


Any questions?

If you have any questions, or would like to make a booking in person, please fill in this form. We'll get back to you as quickly as we can.

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