The Socratic Society is a group which has been formed at Westonbirt this year for pupils in Years 11 to 13. It deals with the discussion of ‘big ideas’: Art; Music; Literature; Politics; Philosophy; Science and more. All members are expected to contribute to the discussion, to articulate their opinions and be prepared to argue their case. The society is open to all in Years 11 to 13 but is especially useful for those whose future plans include Oxbridge, Medicine, Law, or ruling the world as a benevolent dictator.
Topics for discussion so far have included the death of Socrates, to what extent Huawei should be used building the UK's 5G network, how the morality of an artist, musician or author can affect our appreciation of their work, the definition of a lie and whether judges should be elected.
The real strength of a Westonbirt education is its breadth. Students are encouraged to think in and around the interconnectedness of all subjects, as well as to develop their ideas through debate and discussion. Staff take part in Socratic Society meetings to challenge and prompt; teasing out an idea or exposing a potential flaw in reasoning. The purpose of this is not only to develop young people who are confident in having their opinions challenged and in justifying their thinking, but to build a broad sphere of references and influences, from a range of different subjects and disciplines, to enhance their reasoning.