Monkton school hosts first ever Bath Schools Philosothon

Monkton were delighted to host the inaugural Bath Schools Philosothon, bringing together over 90 pupils from nine schools, from both independent and state sectors, across the South West for an evening of discussion about topics such as the nature of personhood, what determines continuity in the universe and the extent to which robots deserve rights.

The teachers at Monkton found it wonderful to see their pupils connecting and sharing ideas with others from the school’s wider community, enjoying the experience of some real-life deep conversation. One of the visiting teachers said of the event:

“Our pupils absolutely loved it and it gave them a real chance to shine. I was incredibly impressed with the calibre of discussion. Our House of Commons could learn a thing or two from them.”

The focus of the partnerships programmes at Monkton is on developing long-term sustainable and mutual relationships with the school community, learning from each other and working together to support the children and young people the school serves. As we emerge from the pandemic, Monkton think that it is clear that they need to be creative and proactive about finding opportunities for their students to engage with one another, to develop confidence and rebuild a sense of their place in the world.

The philosothon model is an excellent vehicle for this, with its focus on active listening, problem solving, critical thinking and constructive challenge. There is something really powerful about bringing people together around a problem or an issue, and giving them a chance to learn how to justify their views, disagree with one another respectfully, receive challenge and deepen their understanding. It is a lively antidote to social media soundbites and ‘cancel culture’ and Monkton are already planning ahead to a programme of smaller scale events and exchanges sparked by this experience.