A New Educational System

Hi Everyone,

I’m guesing folks dont read half of those ‘Introduce yourself’ posts but on there I recently said hello and mentioned that Education was the big thing for me and the area I’d like to particularly help with and that I’d be starting a thread soon. Its quite a long one and there may be some repetition so sorry for any of that.

So to start with I want to lay out what this post will entail. The main point is to present my vision of a reformed school curriculum, which I am calling the Three-Pillar Curriculum Model (or 3PCM), based around the addition of Philosophy to the national curriculum and it joining the two current ‘Core Subjects’ of English and Maths.

I guess some of you will be thinking ‘Thats great and all- but where does it fit with Meritocracy and how does it help us get in Government?’ I suppose, strictly speaking it’s nothing to do with UKMP, and this is something I will be working on regardless of anything else that’s going on, politically or otherwise. But I also think that our aims are closely alligned. Meritocracy is about letting reason and knowledge guide us, and empowering voters to be a part of that progress, am I right @Roberto? . At the moment our whole culture, but particularly our education system develops only a narrow brand of intelligence that serves only to get good grades, get a degree, get a job, earn money, buy a house, buy things, have kids, repeat. Like most of us here will have noticed, people arent awake, they’re either easily manipulated by media or distracted and apathetic to politics, happy to just take care of things in their own little bubbles of comfort; no one is looking at the bigger picture. But imagine an educaiton system that not only strives for excellence in achievement and knowledge-attainment (aka merit) but also produces perceptive, thoughtful, politically aware, WISE young people who actively seek to contribute to the world in the best way they can. Arent these the educated minds we want voting in our Democracy. Wouldnt products of such a system naturally lean toward meritocratic ideals?

I’d like to emphasise that this model is in the earliest of stages of it’s development, I havnt had a lot of time to do huge amounts of research yet and so apologies for coming to you with something that maybe seems really basic and far from completion. I was thinking of keeping it to myself for the time being as I was worried about it being taken and used or warped into something else by others, but I think that to share it at this point may end up being massively beneficial in terms of the suggestions the community may be able to give. I also recently read Plato’s ‘Republic’ and Socrates’ words on Just men not competiting with one another struck a chord!

I must also stress that while the general concept is pretty much unchangeable to my mind, all the details I have proposed are just rough guides and estimates, so while I am happy for suggestions, at this stage please don’t get too bogged down in the finer details - there will be a time for that later on.

Anyway, here goes:

The basic idea as mentioned is to incorporate Philosophy into the national curriculum as a core subject. I think the need for some wisdom in society is pretty evident and so I wont get into the ‘why’ right now so much as the ‘what’. So, Philosophy as a core subject. That’s the basic starting point, but by core subject what I really mean is it needs to be one of the ‘pillars’ of education. Most of what we learn at school in the UK I have grouped loosely into Expression and Knowledge. Stuff like the arts and creative pursuits, and stuff like your maths and sciences. I propose that a central, mediating pillar - Wisdom - should be created. There is a current surge in PSHCE/PD type lessons, particularly in the wake of recent acts of terrorism and ‘radicalization’ but the fact is that these lessons, which aren’t done regularly, barely even scratch the surface of what you can call ‘personal development’. 90% of it is just ‘say no to drugs’, ‘wear a condom’ etc. There’s barely any genuine philosophizing involved. So I’m not talking about glorifying PHSCE. There’s room for that stuff, sure. But what I’m talking about here is a pillar of education that is a grand synthesis of Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Religious Ed (*which I also think needs massive reform), History and Politics. I wont get into the finer details of lesson content here, though I’d be happy to discuss some time, but for peace of mind I’m not talking about reading Kant or whatever to a bunch of 8-year olds. It will be age specific and more related to a ‘community of enquiry’, very much about letting kids think for themselves and come up with their own solutions to the question of central concern: “how ought we live?”
Below are a few basic diagrams I put together.

Vision for the Purpose of Education

’3 Pillars’ Curriculum Model

Basic 3 Pillar Model shown above in Temple Diagram.
More detailed expansion of it below, relating to what each pillar represents.

As I mentioned earlier, these are just early thoughts and the finer details aren’t what I’m worried about right now. Some subjects may be in the wrong pillar, some you may not be able to choose a pillar, some I have excluded because I wasn’t sure where to put them etc. I get that ‘Logos’ could easily be the title of the philosophy pillar, for example, rather than the maths one, but I don’t want to get too caught up in terminology here

One thing to remember is that the pillars are not intended to be separate entities, they should sometimes dovetail. I have thought of plenty of examples of this that I will be happy to share if people want some but for the sake of space I wont go into it in this post.

In terms of imagery, I think the temple is quite a powerful symbol for education and learning, and I’m pretty happy with that but suggestions are always welcome. A tree was the only other one I considered as growth imagery etc.

Though this isn’t really touched upon in the model yet, I also think that (within its limits) pupil choice is a massive factor to incorporate and pupils being able to direct their own learning and follow their natural curiosity will be hugely beneficial in fostering a love of learning and help develop meritorious young people.

So, lastly, what do I want from you guys?

  1. Any suggestions, or constructive criticism on the idea itself.

  2. Any suggestions for research?
    I’ve looked quite heavily into “P4C” (Philosophy for Children) as a base for early years lesson content in particular, and I’m currently looking at how I can link it with Carol Dweck’s ‘Growth-Mindset’ (and how this mirrors Nietzche’s ‘Overman’?)

  3. Current thoughts on where the meritocracy party stands on education content and if and how I may be able to have some input.
    (@HelenBacchus did I see you write about Montesori education somewhere? I’m pretty unfamiliar with this but is it something like the Steiner Schools? If so I think they could potentially be compatible, particularly with regard to fostering a reverence for life.)

  4. Suggestions on where to begin in getting this noticed within the education system, as I am clueless in this respect. (I am thinking of doing some kind of research-masters in education and incorporating this into a thesis of some kind, though I’m not sure how beneficial this would be and it’s a lot of money and time wasted if the wrong avenue)

  5. Any questions about any aspect of all this, more details, clarifications, specifics etc

Thanks for taking the time to read all this and I hope its been clear, not too repetitive, and that you feel it hasn’t been time wasted.


What about starting this through extracurricular philosophy classes? That would give you the opportunity to refine the idea by tutoring students and “selling” the idea to parents. You could grow it over time and earn a living at the same time, while all the time working toward achieving a critical mass of parents that will demand Philosophy be incorporated into the national curriculum as a core subject.



Thanks for the suggestion. I think that’s a great idea in terms of refining the idea and getting practiced in lesson delivery and content. However, I’m not sure the ‘critical mass’ of parents demanding philosophy in the curriculum would be of any significance in terms of nation-wide or even local curriculum change. Firstly I don’t think many kids would actively choose to do philosophy as an extra-curricular activity - there would be some, sure - and they would probably get a lot out of it and may well even tell there parents about how great it is, but generally kids want to spend activities playing sports and games, or doing whatever their hobby may be. So the only kids who are going to do this really would be the already philosophically-inclined. Which is great in terms of giving them a space to get together and develop ideas and grow as learners etc, so it would definatley have positive outcomes. its just that I don’t think that it would affect any kind of change on a large scale.

Maybe I am just being unrealistic about how quickly wide-scale changes can happen - I suppose the whole process has to start somewhere. I was thinking a better way, though, may be to develop a body of empirical research about the benefits of such schemes and methods of implementation (which I suppose the extra-curricular philosophy could be included in) and try and put it forward to the Department for Education. On the DfE website there are numerous articles expressinfg the need for more research-based evidence in directing policy etc. There is also a massive push for SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural) in schools currently so that’s potentially a wave I could ride with this stuff.

What do you think?


Hi there,

Education is my big thing too. I’m putting together a very similar thing called “Spectrum Education”. What age group are you looking at? Have you heard of an organisation called ‘philosophy for kids’? They do great extracurricular stuff. It’s usually quite hard to get an extra course approved or even in the schedule, it might be worth teaching Theory of Knowledge (TOK) for an already accepted programme like the International Baccalaureate. And then from there you can meet parents and kids and build attendence for your programme.
I’m also in touch with a few progressive schools. One of them is in Hebden already has yoga and meditation as mandatory.

I’m also building an online education facility that is connected to a few venues where we can run hands on workshops.—and actually going to be including Mike Hockney’s books in a few of those. Still finalising the curriculum. Due to launch in summer next year so still firming things up.

I’m also linked to a few conferences covering key issues, one of them being A New Paradigm of Education.

I’m looking at building the community around this new paradigm of education. You can be in it! We share resources and share our student networks to help each other get more students…which is what we all want.

Feel free to contact me. My email is julene[at]unseen.is

Wishing you the best things!

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There is a Festival for Alternative Education happening in summer 2017. And there is a meeting taking place Jan.17th, 2017 in Hebden Bridge (Lake District, England). If you want to come, email me. My email is julene[at]unseen.is

Love and light,


Hi Julene,
Sorry about the late reply, I havnt checked this much as no-one seemed to be particularly interested.
Could you tell me more about Spectrum Education?

I didn’t have any particular age-group in mind; I don’t see why any age-group wouldn’t benefit from philosophy. I suppose considering Philosophy/Psychology/Sociology etc are already options for A-Level and in some schools GCSE, Id be focusing on it being implemented from a much younger age.

I have read quite a bit about P4C yeah and the SAPERE organisation. Are you involved with them at all? I understand they do training programmes for staff in P4C which I think would be good to be a part of but I don’t know if my school would go for it. Perhaps I havnt looked into it enough but I got the impression that P4C and Sapere are more about ‘Interventions’ than just a consistent programme of study? But hey maybe they are working towards that.

I don’t live too far away from the Lake District actually but I’m not sure if I will be able to make the January meeting as I’ll be at work. The Summer festival sounds interesting though, could you tell me more about it?

Nice to hear from someone who seems to be on a similar page!

(By the way - I just read an abstract for a journal article titled ‘Can Philosophy for Children Improve Primary School Attainment’ and one of the authors is an N. Siddiqui. Surname slightly different but any relation to you?)

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I think it’s a great idea and philosophy should be a pillar of education. However, the method of teaching and path to each pillar is different for certain students. I think a way of identifying a student type is a good start, then you can tailor your approach or pathway for each student. For example, a student who has a lifestyle of plenty of study time at home and strict parents will find math and philosophy easier than one who has less study time and home issues. So I think once a student type is determined, you can then ‘link’ the subject according to their ability. It’s not easy but I think once you know character traits and personality you can use keywords to stimulate interest in the subject. The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator is a good tool for helping guide educators I believe.


I’m glad you agree!

Forgive me if I’m misunderstanding you though, Zach, but I think you’re touching on a slightly different issue. I agree that educators could benefit massively from being aware of personality types and their implications for learning, and there are all kinds of positive effects this could have in a variety of settings, so I’m all for tailoring to personality types and learning styles wherever possible. Generally, however, particularly here in the UK, you have a class of 20-30 kids being taught set topics from set subjects a certain number of days per week. Lots of teachers do a very good job of teaching and presenting information in new ways and they do try to be as aware as possible of the personal situations and external factors that may factor in to how well kids learn - such as their home life and circumstances - but ultimately its still one teacher in a classroom teaching from a relatively set body of knowledge to 20 or 30 kids.
In the UK we, quite rightly in my opinion, prioritize Maths and English as the two ‘Core’ subjects (with Science not far behind) so kids will have more emphasis and lesson time in these subjects than most others as they underpin the rest. What I’m talking about is making Philosophy as a subject itself to be taught with equal emphasis as English and Maths, so we would have three Core Subjects. I think the question ‘How ought we live?’ should underpin everything we do and learn from the earliest possible age, and I don’t think it requires any specific personality type to be able to think about ones place in the world and how we should live our lives (though I can see how more introverted kids might take to the deeper thought a bit more easily!)

But yeah, I’m not in any way against directing learning based on personality types and would probably lead some great results. I can imagine kids being far more driven, creative and getting much more enjoyment from either subjects/topics or methods of teaching that are tailored to their personality. As long as that doesn’t mean we focus too heavily on ‘parts’ of their personality and fail to develop ‘whole’ and balanced learners.


I understand what you are saying and agree it should be a core subject. We need students to understand from an early age that global awareness is important even at a young age. It’s lack of a bigger picture that seems to push kids onto a narrow track in life. Philosophy can be an outlet for creativity and exploration of all immaterial things that only Religious studies seem to hit on at the moment. Good point.

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I agree with your views on teaching philosophy to children.

I came across this a while ago and upon seeing this thread figured maybe this information could be useful in your quest to reform education https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3jYVe1RGaU

Thanks for sharing, that’s a really cool video. Mathew Lipman (the guy credited with coming up with Philosophy for Children - at least in its current form), proposes making a classroom a ‘Community of Enquiry’. This seems to fit very nicely with the message of that video in that children will actually teach themselves - in these ‘communities’ the idea is that rather than prescribe information, the teacher is more of a facilitator, and really just guides learning by posing the right questions and giving occasional prompts, allowing children to come up with their own ideas, questions, and answers. More like a group discussion than a lecture.

Imagine what the kids would come up with if they were just left with open-ended questions like ‘What does it mean to be human?’ ‘What is our purpose?’ ‘How should we live our lives? Why?’ etc.

Hi all.

Really intersting post; it’s great to know that we have meritocrats already beginning to formulate areas of “policy” that a meritocratic government may adopt.

My partner and I also have an interest in education and we were discussing earlier what education might look like under a meritocratic state. We home educated our sons to secondary school age as we weren’t confident in state education to provide the right start in life for them. I like to think we helped them to think more independently about themselves and the world than a state education would have allowed them.

One element of education that I believe is important is assistance for the individual student with identifying aptitudes and skills, and then guiding them into fields which would enable them to express themselves to the full. This issue, for me, is a synthesis of the dialectic of individualism (“Every man and woman is a Star…”) and communality. In actualising ourselves individually, we allow society to move towards it’s Omega Point which is the ideal for the common good.

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Hi Belanus,

Its interesting that you home-schooled your sons. You must both be very confident and have a wide range of subject knowledge! I imagine you both learnt a lot as well haha! If you don’t mind me asking, how do feel they have fitted in once in school? I may be very wrong here but I think a commonly percieved problem of homeschooling is that children may not develop the social skills that they otherwise would? Also, going from being home educated, how did they find the school experience in terms of learning?

I had not read all of the previous suggestions for education under meritocracy when I made this post so probably repeated many old suggestions (for example, the UKMP website has an article about philosophy for children). I think the main idea amongst the people who (i’m guessing) started up the forum or meritocracy ideas is that of Custom Education - tailoring education to individual personality types, learning styles, natural talents and interests. I think a lot of inspiration for this has been taken from Montessori Education and Steiner schools.

Something I was thinking was that, to allow pupils to achieve their full potential, could the whole school system be set up differently, so that classes were delivered to pupils based on knowledge/ability/interest, regardless of age? I think for the most part kids would end up, there or there abouts, in their own age-groups, especially at the younger stages. But could the system be designed, say, like a tree, starting off as a ‘trunk’ of core subjects/age-group classes, and then splitting off into all kinds of different branches - specific subjects, topics, classes and ability levels - related to natural talents and interests.

What are your thoughts on this? The main problems I see are logistical - timetabling particularly may become far more complex and more teachers would be required.

Hi Rors

Thanks for your reply and for your questions.

Yes, we both were very confident and we consider oursleves above average intelligence. When my eldest son started school, I was working shifts and so used to go into the school some afternoons to help out. What I saw there convinced me that what the children were “learning” there could very easily and more efficiently be achieved at home. Even at that early age it was clear that he struggled with maths but wasn’t getting the extra tuition he needed. Yes, we all learnt a lot from the experience!! They both attended mainstream secondary education at their own request; they fitted in just fine both socially and academically. I don’t think the social skills arguement holds any water but is regularly trotted out by opponents of home education. Where is the benefit of learning to fit in with your own age group whilst being made to feel inferior and subservient to others older than you (except to an establishment class interested in perpetuating the status quo)? Both boys interacted with all age groups on a daily basis. In terms of the educational element of secondary school, they both gave me the impression that they found the work easy after their home education experience. They are now men, by the way, age 21 and 23.

I am not an educational expert but here are my views on education reform. Firstly, we need a definition of eductation; i.e. what is it trying to achieve? The early educational years would answer those questions, introducing concepts of self-actualisation and the benefits to society of individuals actively engaged in their own evolution. What’s needed is a rational and uplifting explanation for the purpose of human existence. Clearly, we need to assist students to discover their aptitudes and how best they can develop their unqiue talents so as to contribute to society as a whole. I don’t know about you but I’m 48 years old and am only just starting to find these things out for myself!

As the student progresses, further specialisation could occur. Perhaps we will have Academies devoted to the cultivation of different aptitudes and skills (e.g. mathematics, philosophy, economics, art, architecture, engineering, etc.) allowing students with those talents to deveop themselves with others of like mind.

The issue is complex!

Of course, nothing will happen until we see a paradigm shift in the way our ploitical system works, In MIchael Faust’s books on Meritocracy, he points out that change will only be possible from the top down and I tend to agree with him. Political transformation is needed prior to societal transformation, prior to individual transformation. However, at this early stage to think about and discuss these issues, particularly with those who might be new to meritocratic ideas, is invaluable in my opinion.

I couldn’t agree more with your point about deciding on a definition of education. As far as I can see, on the current government website there are all kinds of documents on educational policies but no working definition of the fundamental aim of our educational system. But I agree and if for nothing else just to have a starting point from which to base any theorizing around what our educational policies will be would be very helpful.

“…to assist students to discover their aptitudes and how best they can develop their unique talents so as to contribute to society as a whole” certainly sounds like a good start!

In some DfE policy documents, language like ‘to contribute to society’ is used, although I cant help but feel all this really means is ‘to get a job’. So I think if we are to propose a definition it should try to emphasise that this includes getting a job, but also refers to moral responsibilities and community values.

I also think the language used would be very important. Rather than 'preparing students for … ’ or 'imparting knowledge in … ’ we should be saying things like 'Inspiring students to … ’ 'Exploring and discovering the … ’

We want it to invoke ideas of creativity, curiosity, discovery, passion for learning, community and like you say ‘self-actualisation’. For me it wants to be something that when you read it, not only does it come across as sensible, intelligent and holistic, but also fills you with optimism for future generations. Like you say, it wants to be uplifting, much like the Equal Opportunity for Every Child slogan.

Have you any other thoughts on what our definition/aims could be?

I would focus on Self-Development as a Cause to rally around collectively for Meritocrats. So you’d start with developing an online course which can be completely revised (“forked”) by anyone else and without your own ego/needs dominating anything – the Natural Selection of the Meritocracy should be allowed to come about and that’s crucial here.

Once anyone creates something, like Wikipedia, everyone can transform themselves through it without money. The core of Meritocracy definitely shouldn’t shy away from Capitalism and funding projects which need to be sped up & delivered by expert hands. That’s what you can do once you’ve built a curriculum, drawing from all kinds of reading materials such as Carl Jung’s ideas about the Self Archetype and Individuation, which loosely fit as the same thing as Self-Development, Mindfulness etc. http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/the-archetype-of-the-self/

Educating children and the best way to go about that, is a very in-depth advanced topic, so you’re not realistically going to make progress with that right away. I’d suggest focusing on bettering yourselves first. What is the immediate priority here? Self-Development will always be relevant and crucial and transformative. That’s closer to helping Meritocratic aims.

I don’t think society needs more attempts at schooling, but rather, our entire system of knowledge itself is so lacking & needs restructuring and re-presenting to all people regardless of age, as learning never stops. That’s far more an important Cause, to me.

There is certainly a lot of worth in rethinking childhood education, and don’t be discouraged if you have a passion for something. But- how will you get success when you don’t have all the knowledge you need yet? That’s why I think a revolution in self-development and self-awareness self-education is FUNDAMENTAL to transforming society. How can we wait and simply suggest new ways of running things? We have to do it ourselves. WE are the revolution, right now, and always.

When you suggest developing an online course, are you talking about something like an online philosophy course that children and young people (well and anyone else really) could access to supplement their own regular school education? Or developing a draft curriculum? Or something else?

I totally agree with you that learning never stops, but when you say you don’t think society needs more attempts at schooling and talk about the restructuring of our entire system of knowledge, again, I’m not sure exactly what you mean - In what way do you think it should be restructured?

I think having a whole branch of learning dedicated to philosophy (& related subjects such as psychology where things like Jung’s Archetypes could be explored),greater pupil choice in directing their learning, including grouping kids in relation to their personality types and specific talents/ability/interests rather than their age - These are pretty massive changes to the current system and any school operating under these changes probably wouldn’t look anything like what we see today. Would something like this not be a sufficient re-structuring? Or at least a step in the right direction? Sorry if I’ve misunderstood what you were getting at.

I’m talking about developing a philosophy curriculum without being an expert in either philosophy or child learning/development, so I do get the message about self-development and self-education. But at the same time I don’t see any harm in forming opinions and ideas about how things could be better. While I’m admittedly no expert, I don’t think there is anything nonsensical about the suggestions I’ve made in above posts (not that they are really anything original) and I think I have a decent enough grasp of things to make a start. Doesn’t it help to know what you’re aiming for? I see the self-development thing not as a Cause in itself but the means to best contribute to given Causes.

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That sounds great! I wonder where Geography would fit in? I think, not only is it part of the logos knowledge group, but also part of your philosophy group - it teaches people how to think about the world and, therefore, helps them to understand the importance of trying to save and help it. History also - one of the most important as so often do events repeat themselves.
Did you know that, until this year, philosophy and ethics was the main RE course?
Also economics - similar to Geog. Is General Studies still part of the curriculum?

Rors, I am just thinking much more along the lines of helping adults and not children right now. I think that’s the best shot anyone’s got at changing the world in a significant way, as fast as possible. I’m being abstract, talking about looser ideas for creating a new culture. Maybe it’s unclear, but I assume sharing knowledge in interested circles is what effectively restructures our understanding. Activists seem to achieve this somewhat already.

I think if you want to start something concrete for childhood education, then great - go do it! I wouldn’t stress on details at all, but simply get engaged with it, start it, which can present opportunities for new inspirations and new online resources you hadn’t found before.

I would advise that you work on a project you believe in and can commit to. That would seem to produce the best results. Rather than discuss, it would be easier to just get to work, because the idea should be self-explanatory to a large degree. (If someone can help)

Thanks for clearing that up for me.

I was thinking of setting up a webpage based around the idea with some kind of comment/forum section whereby people can make suggestions for research, give some criticisms etc.