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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Research into the non-cognitive impacts of Philosophy for Children (P4C)

A research project of the School of Education.


Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a well-established and reasonably widespread learning approach that uses the techniques of philosophical enquiry to enhance the educational, personal and social development of primary and secondary students. The study would be based in 28 schools which are about to implement P4C for the first time. The study would involve conducting a survey at pre and post intervention stages, in-depth work, including observations, and interviews with a variety of stakeholders in the participating schools. The results will be valuable in their own right for practitioners, innovators and school leaders, and the study could (dependent upon results) lead to a large-scale trial of the impact of P4C on non-cognitive and youth social action outcomes (as opposed to a more traditional assessment in terms of improved attainment).


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Research Into The Non-cognitive Impacts Of Philosophy For Children (£31760.00 from The Nuffield Foundation)


The objective of the project is to see whether regular practice of P4C within a school which is committed to the values of P4C and with teachers who have been appropriately trained and supported will:

  • Provide children with a number of critical skills and dispositions which will help them be effective and active citizens with an improved level of well-being, perhaps stemming in part from changes in the relationships between children and teachers, and between children;
  • Have a disproportionate effect on children who are less able or from less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds

We will be able to assess whether the regular practice of P4C does in fact alter non-cognitive outcomes for the children participating, and which aspects are most affected. This will be through the pre- and post-test based on an already developed instrument being used in two Youth Social Action trials (the results of which, for the control groups, we will also use as a comparator here). The research will provide information about whether children from disadvantaged backgrounds and in the lower quintiles of attainment have made disproportionate progress after exposure to P4C.


The study will present its findings in September 2016

Published Results


  • Siddiqui, N., Gorard, S. & See, B.H. (2017). Non-cognitive impacts of Philosophy for Children. School of Education, Durham University.


From the School of Education