Philosophy Lessons for Primary Pupils; Look and Learn: Pupils at Gallions Primary in Beckton Debate a Theory during a "Philosophy for Children" Lesson

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Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

WHICH is better, day or night? Is there really such a thing as goodluck? Do people ever truly appreciate what they have? And can a five-year-oldreally be expected to grasp the thorny issues of modern philosophy? PaulJackson, co-head teacher of one of London's top primary schools thinks so. Hehas introduced a philosophy course for pupils at Gallions Primary in Beckton,who range from nursery age to 11, and believes it is helping improve bothresults and behaviour.

The school, which is rated "outstanding" by education watchdog Ofsted, is sodelighted by the results of Philosophy for Children, which it teaches in placeof citizenship lessons, that it is now selling teaching materials to otherschools.

Mr Jackson, one of the school's two headteachers, said: "Gallions opened in1999 on a new estate in the East End, with all the problems that aninner-London estate brings with it. Virtually everyone that came here had somekind of emotional or behavioural difficulty."

He said that some pupils' "natural way" of dealing with an argument in theplayground was "to thump each other", while others lacked self-confidence. Theschool brought in a consultant trained in "facilitating"

philosophical discussions with children. …