Philosophy at St. Anthony’s is core to our beliefs that all boys should be proficient in speaking, listening and critical thought. By exposing boys to Philosophical thought and discussion, a wider range of material can be explored that the boys would ordinarily not necessarily encounter. The specialist teachers from the Philosophy Foundation who deliver their Philosophy curriculum, challenge the boys to think independently, listen and learn from each other and critically analyse issues. This helps prepare our boy’s for the rigours of Senior School entry, including the increasing use of open ended questioning, moral dilemma scenarios and critical thought expected from boys in both exams and interviews.
Our mission is to bring understanding, wisdom and eudaimonia (flourishing) to the heart of education for children and adults.
We believe that:
• Reasoning skills developed through philosophical enquiry are an indispensable foundation of all aspects of learning.
• Philosophy, like maths, music or physical education, is intrinsically worth doing and intrinsically engaging.
All our philosophers hold a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and are trained to work in the specific setting where they conduct their enquiries, from primary schools to global businesses. Our overall aim is to equip our beneficiaries to participate fully in society.
The Foundation’s primary educational aim is to get children doing philosophy in classrooms, and is always researching and developing ways that this can be done. We understand doing philosophy in three broad ways:
• A philosophical encounter – to acquaint children with philosophical problems and thinking by providing the conditions for the children to be able to philosophise (the activity of doing philosophy) with each other.
• Philosophical development – giving students the opportunity to practice and improve philosophising and the intellectual competencies involved in this, which have wider application in most, if not all subjects (see our list of intellectual virtues here)
• Philosophical independence – for children to complete our programme with a disposition to appropriately use these intellectual virtues / competencies, but without the support of a philosophy facilitator. In this way philosophy becomes an important part of life-long learning.
We are committed to promoting a high standard of philosophical understanding and practice within the P4C community and philosophy done in schools.
Our Headmaster is an Oxford Philosophy graduate and was previously Head of Philosophy and RE at KCS Wimbledon and Head of Philosophy at South Hampstead High School. Each week he sets philosophical questions for parents and pupils: these are fondly known as Paul’s Puzzles! He also works intensively with pupils preparing for interviews where they are often given philosophical conundrums to consider and with pupils sitting scholarships to schools which offer philosophy and ethics scholarship papers such as Harrow, Habs, Eton, Westminster, Winchester, St. Paul’s et al.