What We Do

PinC volunteers go into local Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Sixth Form Colleges and other institutions to teach philosophy, encourage pupils and residents to think critically about philosophical problems and develop their own ideas.

PinC is committed to making philosophy accessible to as many people, from as many different backgrounds, as possible.


Primary School Projects 

Collaborative Philosophy

Philosophy is a unique subject for many reasons, but one of the brilliant things about philosophy is that it can be made accessible to anyone. This is the idea behind our going into primary schools. We use a structure called P4C (Philosophy for Children) which is designed to promote philosophical thought and allow the pupils to shape their own lessons.

These sessions last for about forty minutes to an hour and are very easily adaptable. The P4C structure emphasises the idea that pupils can learn to think for themselves – a skill which isn’t some thing they necessarily learn in other lessons.

Secondary School and Sixth Form Projects

Teaching and Mentoring 

We teach material and facilitate discussions that relate to the pupil’s syllabus. Therefore, the topics we cover vary widely between classes. There is a lot of emphasis on discussion in these lessons in order to encourage pupils to engage independently and develop their own defences and objections.

PinC volunteers go into a variety of schools and colleges in the Sheffield area. These colleges have remarked upon the improvement of student grades in their Philosophy A-level, despite a national trend in the other direction.

PinC has also provided lessons for KS 3 & 4 students either in the form of a lecture and seminar, or through using the Collaborative Philosophy technique. In the past we have even had professors teach classes to KS 4 students on subjects ranging from ‘Film and Aesthetics’ to ‘Prisoner Rights.’

Committed volunteers have the opportunity to become a mentor. These individuals mentor small groups (or on a one-to-one basis) taking AQA Philosophy or AQA Religion and Ethics courses. Mentors help their mentees to improve in their essay and exam technique and enhance their understanding of the topics.

The Examined Life

PinC – in association with a number of local secondary schools – have hosted a number of Examined Life conferences designed to cover the Physical Social Economic curriculum as defined by the government. A lot of schools are focusing less and less on this mandatory subject. PinC thinks that a student’s ‘spiritual, moral, social and cultural’ awareness (Ofsted 2012) is still an important part of their education. With this in mind, PinC has hosted a series of five one-day conferences for KS4 GCSE students from Sheffield schools.

Each conference is headed by a lecturer from the University of Sheffield’s Philosophy Department who presents a lecture on an aspect of their current research. PinC volunteers then run seminars throughout the day. These seminars try to get the students to engage with what was discussed in the lecture. The aim of the conferences is to promote clear, critical and creative thinking in students so that they may develop into better thinkers.

Non-School Projects

We also run projects in Sheffield’s wider community that take the form of informal discussions of philosophical issues, in which the attendees are made to feel that the subject of philosophy is both accessible and useful for everyone. These projects take place in homeless shelters, elderly homes and probation centres around Sheffield.

If getting involved with PinC is something you are interested in please get in contact by e-mail at pinc.shef@gmail.com. Our service is completely free.

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