Welsh medium school award is UK first

Posted on: Wednesday 22 May 2024
Ysgol Panteg pupils

As well as the 3Rs - reading, writing and arithmetic - pupils at a primary school in Pontypool have been learning a 4th - reasoned thinking.

Children as young as 3 years of age have been taking part in discussions which develop into philosophical debate as they grow in confidence as part of Ysgol Panteg's Philosophy for Children programme. 

The school has now become the first Welsh language school in the UK to be awarded Silver status by the Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education, which oversees the programme and supports schools in their development.

From work covering the usefulness of technology, personal safety and self-care, to big topic questions such as ‘What is friendship?’ and ‘What is true happiness?’, children have been engaging in spoken, written and practical activities discovering their voice and how to express themselves.

Bethany Llewellyn, who leads the programme at the school said: “It has really supported children across all year groups to become children who are thinking people. We’ve seen their critical thinking skills develop fantastically over the last two years and they are able to formulate their arguments in a sensitive and sophisticated way.

“They really enjoyed the session where we discussed ‘what is love?’ because it was something they were able to explore with lots of depth.”

Ollie, a Year 5 pupil, said: “I love our class debates because it allows me to think about big questions and questions without one answer. I love it because it includes everyone, and everyone gets to share their views.

Headteacher Dr Matthew Williamson-Dicken added: “Obtaining the Silver SAPERE accreditation is a significant milestone for Ysgol Panteg. Our pupils consistently astound me – from their bilingual speaking skills to their dedication to active listening. 

“Taking part in programmes like this ensures we offer pupils a rich and varied learning experience and is one of the many reasons why our pupils enjoy coming to school.

"This award reflects our ongoing commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals equipped with critical thinking skills essential for success in an ever-evolving world."

The council's #NotInMissOut campaign aims to highlight the benefits of attending school regularly by celebrating schools' achievements.

For information about attendance in Torfaen, visit the Torfaen Council website.

Last Modified: 22/05/2024 Back to top