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P4C Research Project

       EEF Evaluation Report of SAPERE P4C Project

In 2013, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) carried out an evaluation of Philosophy for Children (P4C). You can read the full report, which was published in July 2015, here. A summary of the findings is also available here.

The report shows that the more disadvantaged pupils participating in the EEF trial saw their reading skills improve by four months, their maths results by three months and their writing ability by two months. Feedback from teachers throughout the trial also suggests that Philosophy for Children had a beneficial impact on wider outcomes such as confidence, patience and self-esteem.

The randomised controlled trial involved 3,159 pupils across 48 schools in the UK and was independently evaluated by a team at Durham University. Teachers were given two days of professional training before the year-long programme began and provided with ongoing support to help them deliver the philosophy lessons. 

At less than £30 per pupil, these results show that Philosophy for Children could be a promising and effective way for schools to spend their pupil premium and improve outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.  

The EEF report also notes the likely benefits in other areas: speaking confidence, listening skills, patience with other children and overall self-esteem. SAPERE is now going on to work with Durham University and the trial schools on a new research project funded by the Nuffield Foundation to assess these non-cognitive benefits of Philosophy for Children.

Professor Stephen Gorard, who led the evaluation, said: 'Evidence like this is extremely important in identifying what works and what doesn’t, to help head teachers decide how to spend their pupil premium funding for most benefit to their pupils.'

SAPERE believes a longer term commitment to regular practice is likely to yield further success and the three year programme Going For Gold has been devised to ensure the excellent practice of P4C is fully embedded.