Project Oracle Validation
The Philosophy Foundation has reached Project Oracle's Standard 2 for impact measurement. This means we have undertaken an evaluation that measures relevant outcomes in an appropriate way, and have provided evaluation findings that indicate that our work has a demonstrable effect on those outcomes.
“Philosophy helps me think outside the box, about the issues that are really important in life; philosophy has really inspired me and will help me go to university.”
The Institute of Education carried out research into our work from September 2012-December 2013. Participating classes were compared with control classes that were very similar in terms of the number of children with SEND and EAL and those on free school meals. The most significant findings were as follows.
- A term of philosophy improves the reading ability of children on Free School Meals and girls. The reading tests used primarily assesses understanding, but also inhibitory control and the ability to distinguish relevance.
- All 8 headteachers would highly recommend The Philosophy Foundation to others. All re-booked TPF for the following year.
- Teachers consistently reported improved verbal reasoning and higher-order thinking, as well as better speaking and listening skills, confidence, concentration and behaviour.
- Teachers also said pupils showed greater respect, empathy and tolerance of the opinions of others.
- Boys (86%) enjoyed the philosophy sessions, girls (81%).
- 83% of the children who had philosophy (250 took part in the research) wanted more of it - both in written feedback and focus groups.
- 60% of parents questioned said they felt their child had become more articulate and able to put across their point of view more clearly.
“The Philosophy Foundation teachers are all dedicated professionals; they worked beyond their contracted hours, were all highly reflective and thought carefully about their practice.”
Dr Jon Swain, Qualitative Researcher, IOE
Other Relevant Research
An ongoing longitudinal study into philosophy for children in Spain (Garcia Moriyon et al) has found not only increases in IQ but also a reduction in psychotic tendencies in those young people participating. This impact on mental health as well as intelligence is an important foundation for future success both personally and within society.
In 2015, a pilot study funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), and working in conjunction with SAPERE and Durham University found that by doing P4C students’ progression in maths and reading levels had benefited in a similar way to an equivalent of an extra two months worth of teaching. However, children from disadvantaged backgrounds saw an even greater increase in their academic scores with reading skills having increased by four months, maths by three months and their writing skills by two. Overall, over 3000 students participated in this year-long study.
Worldwide research into P4C has been gathered on the IAPC website.