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James Nottingham began his professional life as a teaching assistant and sports coach at a 3-18 residential school for deaf children. He then trained as a teacher, studying P4C as part of his university degree before working in primary, middle and secondary schools across the UK. Soon after appearing in a televised documentary about P4C in 1999 (see clip here), James left full-time teaching to focus on the development of a P4C network.
A year later, he co-founded a social enterprise project to regenerate areas of North East England characterised by under-employment, low aspirations and lack of community engagement. Using P4C as the catalyst for change, this project grew into a multi-million pound, award-winning initiative working with families, schools and local enterprise. Today, James leads his own company, Challenging Learning. This independent consultancy has 30 employees in 6 countries and works with pre-schools, schools and colleges to enhance learning through P4C, challenge, feedback, growth mindset, and dialogue.
Steve Williams taught English and Media Studies for 14 years in secondary schools and served for five years as head of an English department. He helped to found SAPERE, the Philosophy for Children network in the UK, and was the first person in Britain to introduce P4C as a curriculum subject in a secondary school. Over the years, he has worked with children of all ages in a wide variety of schools. He has helped many teachers to start Philosophy for Children through the courses and support he provides.
He is also very interested in Readers’ Theatre, writing for learning, and online education. He has been involved with national and international projects in these fields. He worked for five years as the senior editor for an educational publishing company, editing books and magazines including Teaching Thinking and Creativity, a well-respected publication with a world-wide reputation. He recently managed the training involved in a successful research project into the effects of philosophy for children for SAPERE and the Educational Endowment Foundation.
Roger Sutcliffe read philosophy and modern languages at Oxford, graduating in 1975. After teaching for 5 years in a junior school, he joined the maths department at Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham, where he also took an Open University degree in maths and educational management. In the early 90s he left full-time teaching for private study, and trained in Philosophy for Children with Matthew Lipman in New Jersey, and Creative Thinking in Malta with Edward de Bono.
After another spell at Christ’s Hospital – this time in the English department – he became a freelance trainer in philosophical inquiry and thinking skills, especially critical thinking, with teachers at all levels. He was a founding member of SAPERE, and has served as both Chair and President. In 2003 he was elected President of ICPIC, the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children. He has been evaluator of two Geographical Association projects, and co-designer of the International GCSE, ‘Global Perspectives’. He has published articles in numerous journals, and was co-author with Steve Williams of The Philosophy Club and Newswise, and co-author with Barry Hymer of Pocketbook P4C. He invented the Thinking Moves A – Z scheme, recently published (2019), and is Director of DialogueWorks (www.dialogueworks.co.uk).
As ‘The Philosophy Man’, Jason sends out a weekly email bulletin that is received by over 17,000 teachers in 96 countries. He is the author of minibooks Pocket P4C and Thinkers’ Games and co-author of Philosophy Circles and Thinking Moves. Jason’s approach to P4C emphasises engaging all participants in lively dialogue, and he often works through story and philosophy-in-role. Jason also runs outdoor education company Outspark (www.outspark.co.uk) and is Director of Studies at GIFT Courses LLP (www.giftcourses.co.uk), Europe’s leading provider of day and residential courses for gifted children.
Jason continues to train teachers and practise P4C in the classroom, preferring when possible to combine INSET with workshops for children observed by staff.
SAPERE: A P4C Charity
SAPERE is the Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education. It is a registered charity dedicated to promoting Philosophy for children in the UK. It manages projects and provides training courses as well as forming partnerships with Higher Education Institutions and teaching schools to enable them to offer P4C training. SAPERE was founded in 1992 after interest roused by the BBC documentary ‘Socrates for 6 year olds’. The documentary showed Philosophy for Children (P4C) at work in schools in the USA where the concept was originated in the late 1960’s by Professor Matthew Lipman. SAPERE has collaborated with the Education Endowment Foundation, Open Futures, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and the Expansive Education Network amongst others. It joined the P4C Co-operative in 2016 and is represented by Lizzy Lewis.