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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.