Philosophy in schools

Since 1997, the Jacobsen Trust has made available to the Royal Institute funds to promote philosophical work in schools.

The Royal Institute provides courses to promote philosophical work in schools. We welcome applications from schools, but please be aware the applications for the programme in 2022/23 are now closed. However, we will be taking new applications from July 2023 for the academic year 2023/24.

Although the Institute sometimes arranges sessions with younger children, the courses usually involve students aged 16 – 19, who have little or no experience in philosophy. We’ll work with students of just about any age and of just about any background. But our hope is to target schools where there’s not much funding or opportunity for extra study like this.

Our teachers tackle basic philosophical topics concerning the nature of knowledge, ethics, the mind, free will, aesthetics and so on. The content is usually organized around the teacher’s own area of expertise — typically courses take up topics encountered at A-level or in first year introductory classes at university.

The goals of the scheme are many: engaging the interest of students in basic philosophical issues, free and rigorous enquiry, clarifying and discussing certain questions and the various reasons offered in support of one position or another, developing the capacity to think critically.

From July 2023 we will be on the lookout for new schools, so institutions able to host a course will be very welcome to apply at that point by filling in the application form on the left and emailing it to the Managing Director.

If you have any inquiries, or want to find out more about the schools programme, please email