The mindOUT programme was mounted originally by the Philosophy discipline within PPR. This responded to rapidly increasing interest among schools and sixth-form colleges in philosophy and philosophy-inspired enquiry work with children and students. Outreach and on-campus study events for students from Year 5 to Sixth Formers (including support for A-level students and teachers) have been available since 2005. The programme has to date involved students from some 70 different schools across Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

This programme is now delivered in collaboration with Second Thoughts Philosophy a community interest company which supports schools in developing a philosophical approach to teaching and learning Outreach work provided through mindOUT remains free to participating schools / colleges by agreement.

Sessions are inclusive, challenging and involving. Events introduce and explore key concepts in the relevant areas, introducing classic figures and writings as appropriate, informed by academic teaching, 'philosophy for children' methodology and extensive school experience. Film clips, stories, pictures, role-play, games and other stimuli combine with group and individual work, structured research and whole-class teaching in order to engage all students to the fullest possible extent.

Work with younger students explores exciting and surprising questions:

  • Could animals ever talk?
  • Could your pet be your best friend?
  • What does it mean to be brave?
  • What's fair?
  • What makes you you?
  • Can anyone tell you what's right?

At this level, activity-based thinking about ideas and concepts sparks creativity and develops key skills in communication, enquiry and evaluation.

Work with older students extends the citizenship curriculum at Key Stages 3/4, or Sixth Form General Studies, by addressing topical political, moral and social issues, including:

  • new biomedical science and technology;
  • climate change and sustainability;
  • mental health, deviance and morality;
  • communities, rules and laws.
  • evolution and religion (visiting Planet Dawkins);
  • terrorism and security
  • freedoms and their erosion in the surveillance society;
  • fundamentalisms (how science, knowledge, culture and religious commitment interact).

Grappling with the underlying concepts here - rights, responsibility, knowledge, the role of science, "nature" - is thinking for real, while effectively developing learning and thinking skills. Reasoned argument and critical engagement build team-working and participation. Structured research, group and individual work reinforce creative, responsible, and reflective learning.

For Sixth Forms

  • Study Days for students working on topics for AS/A2
  • Extension events introducing students to structured thinking about issues of contemporary importance.

Outreach and on-campus study days are arranged in response to specific requests. They can also be combined with campus visits. Normally events are free to participating schools.

Engaging with Philosophy

An alternative to the current Philosophy A-level using the new Extended Project Qualification has also been developed. Find out more about Engaging with Philosophy including sample materials.