Philosothon Project Newsletter
Number 7 – March 2019
Last year was the first for the Philosothon Project. There were many successes and some exciting new initiatives that started up as a result of the project. Planning for the Australasian Philosothon in Canberra is now well underway and although we have 10 months till the event there is much to do in the leadup. We have recently sent out invitations to twenty schools that were successful in last years regional Philosothons. Previously we have invited the top three schools but due to the number of new Philosothons this year we have invited the top two schools where the number of schools involved in a Philosothon exceeded ten. This will be the largest Australasian Philosothon ever held to date. The national capital is a great location for the 9th Australasian Philosothon.
Included in this newsletter is the formal report the Australasian Philosothon held at St Peters College last year which was produced by Dr Rachel Buchanan. There is much to celebrate there and some useful recommendations going forward. This year for the first time there will be a regional Philosothon in Canberra. Radford College has kindly offered to host this event and we look forward to the regional Philosothon on 8th May and the Australasian Philosothon on the 1st-3rd October. There are several new Philosothons planned around the country including Darwin, Northern Qld, Orange, Armidale and South West WA. If your school would like to be considered for hosting the Australasian Philosothon in 2020 then please contact us via the email address below.
Included below is a link to some of the exciting initiatives in Victoria with six Philosothons in 2019.
- Secondary Philosothon Aug 2019. 
- Middle Years Melbourne Museum Philosothon Apr 2019
- Middle Years Immigration Museum Philosothon June 2019
- Middle Years Scienceworks Philosothon Sep 2019
- Middle Years Melbourne Museum Philosothon Nov 2019
- Primary Philosothon June 2019
Perhaps this might inspire you to think of ways in which you can use the funding options provided by us to set up a Philosothon at your school or in a museum or art gallery near you. 
We are planning to build on the successful seminar that was held last year in Darwin last year by hosting a Philosothon at the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory. Also included in this newsletter is a report from the Tasmanian Philosothon by David Trainor at Guildford Young College in Hobart. So much happening.
Applications for funding grants are now available to teachers and schools that would like some financial support if they would like training, or to set up a Philosothon at their school. There is also money available for travel allowances to help get groups of students to Philosothons and assistance for teachers to travel to PD opportunities. Please go to one of the links below and fill in your details.
warm regards
Matthew Wills (FAPSA Philosothon Project Manager)

                1. Applications for grants 2019 -Now Open
                2. Victorian Philosothons in 2019
                3. Northern Territory Philosothon Project
                4. Philosothon Research
                5. The first ACT Philosothon
                6. Feedback from the Tasmanian Philosothon
                7. Australasian Philosothon
                8. A list of 2019 Philosothons
                9. Revised List of Grant Recipients
         An inspiring sense of what young people are capable of when they're given a conducive environment for thinking and discussion.
Anonymous Feedback from 2018 Australasian Philosothon
1. Grant Opportunities
Each year FAPSA is offering financial assistance to schools to help them become invovled in Philosothons. This means we offer fuding packages and assistance to establish your school as a hub for the development of critical thinking skills. Philosothons are now an well established mechanism for schools to take seriously this aspect of the curriculum helping thier students develop critical thinking skills, collaboration skills and creative reasoning. This inittiave is supported by academics thoughtout Australia in both the tertiary sector, and the school sector as well as many that are passionate about this area.
At the start of 2019 we invite you to consider applying for a grant and then taking up the opportunities that this will provide your students going forward. You might wish to take advise from us going forward or we are happy to provide the funding and then watch as you create something uniquie to your school. These are some of the grants available.

New Regional Philosothons: Subsidies are available for schools to help regional and remote schools cover the costs associated with starting up their own local Philosothon. This will involve other schools in their area. Click here for an application form.

New Philosothons will be supported in cities that do not currently have one, including the New Zealand, the Northern Territory, Singapore and Hong Kong. Click here for an application form

Northern Territory Grant applications- These are travel grants to enable teachers to participate in professional development opportunities related to the Philosothon Project. Some priority will be given to indigenous teachers and or teachers of indigenous students. Please fill in the online application form and we notify you ASAP if your application was successful. Click here to apply.

Travel & Participation subsidies: Subsidies will be provided to assist students/staff who might not otherwise be able to participate in a Philosothon. This might be because they live in remote locations or
because the school is dealing with students from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Click here for an application form.

Judges/facilitators subsidy- Money is available to schools to pay judges/facilitators an Honorarium to cover travel costs etc. Click here for an application form

Teacher training subsidy- Money is available to schools to pay judges /facilitators an Honorarium to cover travel costs etc. Click here for an application form

Training for Phd Students: Training and professional development will be organised to allow students to be trained in the Community of Inquiry pedagogy which, in turn, enables them to act as facilitators in Philosothons. Click here for an application form

Resource development: Teachers and academics will be recruited to consult on and develop age appropriate resources to be used as stimulus material for Philosothons. A website will be developed to house these resources and enable access for all participants. Click here for an application form.

FAPSA is an umbrella organisation which seeks to enrich and expand philosophy education in primary and secondary schools in Australasia. It supports the interests of its nine affiliated Associations through professional development and advocacy initiatives, has an official open access journal, Journal of Philosophy in Schools, and holds a biennial conference. Contact: Project co-ordinator Mr Matthew Wills (e) | Ph: +61 (0)400 029 660 |FAPSA Website:

This project was made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton Religion Trust. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton Religion Trust.
         The students have been exposed to COI that have allowed a deeper level of thinking and philosophical exploration. It has developed confidence and given the girls a sense of success.
Anonymous Feedback from 2018 Australasian Philosothon
2. Victorian Philosothons in 2019
The Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools is offering an amazing array of Philosothons related activities for schools and students in 2019.
3. Northern Territory Philosothon Project
We plan to run a Philosothon at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory (MAGNT) dovetailing with the "Between the Moon and the Stars" exhibition there. The event would be called the "Between the Moon and the Stars Philosothon". This event offers an important opportunity for students to engage in COI's and for teachers to recieve training in preparation for the event. 
                   Click here for a copy of the Project in its fullness.
4. Philosothon Research
This report was commissioned by FAPSA to provide an evaluation of the Australasian Philosothon. The report aims to do that in two ways. Firstly, this report provides a brief overview of the research literature on Philosophy in schools and situates the Australasian Philosothon within that literature. Secondly, this report presents the findings of qualitative research that was undertaken at the 2018 Australasian Philosothon. The literature sections of the report will show where Philosothons are situated in terms of the ways in which philosophy is taught in Australia. It provides a brief synthesis of the pertinent literature that demonstrates the benefits to students of undertaking philosophy in schools and offers suggestions for the type of future research that would provide an evidence that could be used to bolster the case that Philosothons are a worthwhile enterprise for schools and students to be involved in and why Philosothons are worth the investment of time, energy and finances that are required to ensure that they remain viable. Click here for the Report
5. The first ACT Philosothon
In conjunction with the Canberra Society of Philosophy for the Young (SOPHY) and Radford College
Who are the deep thinkers in your school? During the evening there will be four communities of inquiry. Each school enters a team of five students (One student from each year level (9-12 + a reserve). Registered schools will be provided with resource kits, one for the organising teacher and one for the students. There is a small fee $30 per student and this will cover some of the food costs. There is no charge for accompanying teachers.
Please note that if you are a Senior College or a school that only caters for students up to Year 10 you can still enter students.
(There are a maximum number of schools that can be involved so book your school in early)      
6. Feedback from the Tasmanian Philosothon
by David Trainor- Guilford Young School
Teachers from all the schools that participated have provided positive feedback on the event. Many of the teachers facilitated a small group and the judges were also impressed by the students and their high standard of contribution.
For me, the highlight was watching the students present to their peers, family and friends. Every student was encouraged to make a contribution and those who found it difficult to speak publicly were ably encouraged by the peers. Many of the students choose to participate over other events, e.g debating.
We have been unable to engage public schools in the program. This year, 2019, following last years success has enabled us to engage a rural public school and I am hoping to visit and support them to offer a team for this year.
The funding provided materials and food on the night and a contractor fee. This fee was spent on trying to engage schools in the event. The applicant, David Treanor, did not charge any fees from the grant. The money left over will be used for the 2019 event.
We are in contact with schools in Term 1 and we hope to commence school based philosothon's in Term 2 and then the major event in Term 3.
I would be delighted for Matthew Wills to follow up with schools when he visits Tasmania mid year.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Trustees for their willingness to support the philosothon program. Tasmania is often overlooked when grants are allocated as we are a regional state with a small populations. Nevertheless, students are students with a real and deep desire to learn and explore issues and big questions. Sir John would have been delighted if he attended our event in 2018 and witnessed the students understanding and inquiry into the big questions we face in society today.
7. Australasian Philosothon
The ninth Australasian Philosothon will take place in Canberra this year. Radford College will host 20 teams from throughout Australasia for three days of intense philosophical exploration. This will take place between October 1st and October 3rd. Every Australasian state and territory (except for NT) will be represented.


8. 2019 Philosothons
In 2019 the following schools and universities will be hosting Philosothons;
Western Australia
  • Perth Philosothon - Hale hosted the first Philosothon back in 2007. Trinity College is now hosting the Perth Philosothon. Contact Donette Firkins-
  • South West  - Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School- Oct 29th Contact Person - Jane Kirkham-
  • North West- St Lukes College Philosothon- Karratha - Contact Person Donna Clifford
  • Albany -  St Josephs College- Contact Person
  • Western Australian Primary School Philosothon The first WA Primary School Philosothon was held in 2013.
Go to the APIS Website for information about WA Philosothons

New South Wales
  • Sydney - North Sydney Girls High School. Currently 22 schools are involved in the Sydney Philosothon- Contact Gregory Henshaw- 
  • Northern NSW  Bishop Druitt College in Northern Coffs Harbour will host their second Philosothon in 2013.  Contact Sue Paff Bishop Druitt College
  • Central NSW, Orange- Kinross Wolaroi School Contact person Claudia McCalman Email:
  • Dubbo - Central West Leadership Academy Primary Philosothon NSW Contact Mandi
Go to the PiNs Website for more information about Philosothon in NSW.

  • Melbourne- Victorian Secondary School Philosothons- 15th October 2013 Contact the Education Officer for the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools (VAPS)
  • Melbourne -Victorian Primary School Philosothons-The Federation for Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations are hosting the first Primary School Philosothon in 2012. Contact Rosemary Etherton Janette
  • Melbourne -Victorian Middle Years Philosothon  The first Victorian Middle years Philosothon was held in 2016. Contact the VAPS office if you are interested.  Click here
  • Philip Island- Newhaven College-  Contact person Richard Prideaux - Email:

Nathan Pickles is the President of the Qld Association and can assist schools wanting to involve themselves in Philosothons; Contact:
  • Brisbane - Since 2014 the Brisbane Senior School Philosothon has been held at the University of Queensland- Contact- Peter Ellerton-
  • Brisbane- Cavandish High School In 2014 Cavandish HS hosted a Philosothon for Year 7 students.Contact Adam Kuss at;

South Australia
  • Adelaide- Prince Alfred College will host the first South Australian  Philosothon in 2017. Contact Matthew Wills if you would like to know more at;

  • Hobart- Tasmanian High Schools & Colleges Philosothon The first TAS High School & College  Philosothon was held in 2013 Contact Dr David Treanor.

New Zealand

United Kingdom

Click here if you are not currently registered and would like to participate in a Philosothon.

Click here if you would like to host a Philosothon.

         Great opportunity to network with students across the country.
Anonymous Feedback from 2018 Australasian Philosothon
8. Congratulations to the following grant recipients
There are still more grants available so apply here
Regional Philosothon Grant

Newhaven College South East Gippsland Philosothon- Phillip Island- Victoria- Richard Prideaux
Waikato Diocesan School for Girls- Waikato Philosothon  New Zealand-Mark Bellham 
Kinross Wolaroi School Orange Philosothon New South Wales- Claudia McCalman
St Joseph's College Albany Philosothon Western Australia- Jane Bennett 
Central West Leadership Academy Dubbo NSW Mandi Randell
Amanda Kelk- Budaberg Christian College Qld
Alison Freeman - Geographe Primary School WA
PhD Students Training Grants
Sydney University Jane Weiling Loo NSW
Monash University James McGuire Vic
Melbourne University Antonia Smyth Vic
Adelaide University - Timothy Nailer SA
Richard Phan University of Melbounre VIC
Carley Tonoli University of Melbourne VIC

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar Students receive travel grant New Philosothons in cities

Guilford Young College - Tasmania- David Treanor 
Radford College -Canberra Bill Weigall

Prince Alfred College-South Australia

 Travel Subsidies

Nambucca Heads High School  New South Wales- Amanda Taylor
Alyarrandumanja Umbakumba School- NT Kaye Liedke
Alangula Area School Tiwi Islands NT -Jane Dwan
SOPHY - Australian Capital Territory- Bill Weigall 
Bunbury Cathedral College WA- Jane Kirkham

Teacher training Subsidy

St Josephs College Albany Western Australia- Caroline Thompkin

Young High School New South Wales- Elizabeth Myburgh 

St Josephs High School Albany Western Australia- Jane Bennett

Golden Grove High School South Australia- Sue Lyons  

Georgiana Molloy Anglican School Western Australia- Bradley Taylor 
Georgiana Molloy Anglican School Western Australia- Rachel Cook 
Resource Development Grants
Robert  Neurarth NSW
Over the next three FAPSA will make available grants for schools and others to set up or participate in Philosothons. Studies have shown that students participating in a philosophical community of inquiry improve on a variety of academic and social measures. If you would like to make this available to your school community click one of the grant links or contact the Philosothon project office.years
         Students benefited from discussing philosophical issues with a wide range of students from different backgrounds to their own.
Anonymous Feedback from 2018 Australasian Philosothon

Contact: Project co-ordinator Mr Matthew Wills (e) | Ph: +61 (0)400 029 660 | FAPSA Website: This project was made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton Religion Trust. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton Religion Trust.