Our wide range of extra curricular activities provides students with a chance to discover and pursue their passions. The temporary closure of Blue Coat to the majority of our students has not stopped them continuing their extra curricular activities, and they have found creative new ways to continue their passions as well as engage with other students with similar interests.
Working in partnership, Year 11 students and Philosophy Club members Tim and Lucy, were able to take the club online with support from Mrs Treharne, Head of RS.
For Tim, “I’ve been lucky enough to be able to get some entertainment from dinners with my family during lockdown. Many a topic, important or otherwise, has been discussed around our table, including philosophical ones, so a few weeks ago, I decided to put these philosophical thoughts to good use. With Lucy’s help, I talked to Head of RS Mrs Treharne about setting up a virtual Philosophy Club, so that we could present Year 7 and 8 students with different arguments about various philosophical topics and allow them to share their own thoughts and feelings.
The engagement of students, as well as their ability to grasp really difficult concepts impressively quickly, has allowed the discussions to develop all on their own. As well as introducing really interesting themes to younger students, the first couple of Philosophy Club meetings have also allowed me to research a range of arguments about topics such as morality, justice and capital punishment in greater depth, and broaden my own knowledge and understanding. Not only are these ideas stimulating to ponder, they allow us to consider what we believe and, more importantly, why.
The success of the initial meetings has motivated myself and Lucy to continue preparing for them by researching and giving balanced explanations of various themes, as well as thinking about the different types of activities we can offer. We have discussed different types of formats we could use, such as Lucy’s idea for an ‘X-factor’ style presentation of different philosophers’ views, which students will then vote on. We also hope to organise an essay competition, which will hopefully challenge students to think deeply about conflicting arguments and generate their own ideas.
Already, students have shown a lot of enthusiasm for many different philosophical topics, from deciding what they would like to discuss in the next meetings to even volunteering to give a presentation on a specific issue. We are excited to see how the club will unfold and how the younger students’ understanding of Philosophy will grow further.”
Reflecting on the success of the Club’s online venture, Lucy said, “Two weeks ago the very first ‘virtual’ Philosophy club was held with the focus being on morality, a controversial and difficult topic to discuss and form ideas around. When Tim suggested we start a virtual club I was apprehensive, I wasn’t sure that it would work the same and that it wouldn’t have the same enthusiasm as it did 4 months ago. But our loyal Philosophers never fail to exceed our expectations, and the students who joined our online meeting brought mature and well thought out arguments to the table time and time again.
My thoughts went back to the very first philosophy club I had the pleasure of running in February 2019 when I was only a Year 10 student, where we discussed the age old query “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”. I remember looking out at only a few Year 7’s and 8 students who all seemed a bit nervous to share their thoughts, and wondering if we had picked too juvenile a topic! It turns out that as the weeks went on, when more and more students gave up their lunchtimes to share their views. Students at Blue Coat really are equipped to discuss and debate the most existential topics imaginable. We’ve covered questions such as “What happens when we die?”, “Do we have free will?” and even the gargantuan issue; “Does God exist?”. When you ask questions like these to Key Stage 3 students there’s always some responses that you never expected (or have even pondered yourself) but that just brings home the truth of why Philosophy is so interesting, because in Philosophy club there are no wrong answers and no winner of the debates. I love running the club not just because students enjoy it, but because I think it does us all some good to ask our selves some unanswerable questions, and I always leave the club with a slightly new perspective about life.”