Ofsted praises philosophy lessons at Sparhawk Infant School in Sprowston

A primary school has been praised by inspectors for its use of philosophy lessons to teach its young pupils.

Sparhawk Infant School and Nursery in Sprowston was rated good with outstanding features by Ofsted following the visit last month.

In their report, inspectors highlighted the role of philosophy classes for the youngsters, who are aged between three and seven, which were said to encourage creative thinking among the children. 'Outstanding achievement is clearly evident in philosophy sessions,' the report said. 'These are appropriate for the age group and provide very challenging opportunities to develop children's thinking skills.'

Headteacher Carina Ingham said philosophy lessons were an increasingly popular tool for primary schools across the country and Sparhawk Infants had been offering them for about seven years.

Classes involve questions being put to pupils and teachers encouraging them to think about the reasons behind their answers.

Miss Ingham said: 'A question might be: 'Are all fairies good and all witches bad?' The children would talk about what makes a good witch or a bad fairy.

'They really, really enjoy it because there is no wrong answer in it. That's why it is so important.'

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The school was rated good in three of the four core Ofsted categories – achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, and leadership and management – and outstanding for pupils' behaviour and safety.

Inspectors said: 'Pupils' behaviour is excellent in lessons and around the school.

'The best examples of their excellent social and moral development are shown through un-prompted support for each, such as in year one when one child offered another their pencil.'

The report praised the headteacher's 'strong vision' for her school and said achievement in both mathematics and writing were above average.

Reading was said to be average and staff have been asked to improve standards in that area further. Teachers have also been encouraged to raise their expectations of pupils.

Do you have an education story? Contact Victoria Leggett on 01603 772468 or email victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk.