About JONK

The Joy of Not Knowing (JONK) is a values-led philosophy of education and of school leadership that removes barriers and worries associated with not knowing or with findings things difficult by creating a learning to learn culture and ethos in schools where everyone perceives that anything and everything is possible.


The Joy of Not Knowing approach focuses explicitly on teaching children the value and importance of realising that in order to learn something new they must not know it first, and on then setting up a whole school infrastructure that equips learners with all the values, dispositions, skills and strategies that enables them to develop an intrinsic motivation and enthusiasm to want to learn, evolving as successful individuals, lifelong learners and global citizens with a deep and lifelong love of learning.
Teaching learners how to enjoy not knowing lies at the heart of the JONK approach and particularly within the emphasis that the approach places on launching the academic year for staff and students with a dedicated ‘JONK Learning to Learn and to Lead Learning Week’.
Launching the academic year with such an explicit focus on the conditions and cultures that ensure that everyone believes that they can experience success with their learning, however difficult it may seem at the beginning of the process, enables schools to develop their infrastructure in a way that promotes:

  • an inclusive and non-hierarchical staff and student structure for school improvement

  • students who all believe that they can succeed as individuals, inquisitive lifelong learners, critical thinkers and global citizens

  • students who develop all the values and dispositions and attitudes of successful lifelong learners, contributors to employment and society

  • students who develop the independence, metacognition and strategic awareness that enables them to become leaders of their own learning and partners of the school improvement initiatives

  • a curriculum that is delivered using the latest evidence from educational research and that promotes at all times philosophical enquiry and critical and creative thinking

  • the school as a centre of excellence, active in educational research and rich in pedagogical debate

  • transformational links with families and the local, national and global communities, including learning and thinking through a bilingual approach

If you would like to find out more about how schools around the country and the globe are using the JONK philosophy to build upon and enrich their existing excellent practice by moulding the ideas offered in a way that aligns with each school’s values, culture, ethos and visions, please visit the realms below.
I hope that you enjoy exploring all that the website has to offer. All the ideas and initiatives that make up the JONK approach and philosophy are the result of my personal experience as a practitioner working alongside many inspirational colleagues over the last twenty years as a teacher, senior leader, Headteacher, lecturer, researcher, trustee, speaker and author.
The JONK approach is a collection of all that I have seen to make an enormous difference to children’s and adult’s motivation, engagement, enthusiasm, ambition, thirst for knowledge and love of thinking and learning.

Success Stories

I had the most amazing day with the philosophy masterclass. We had great feedback from the teacher Mr S.

- Philosophy | Masterclass

D said it was the “best day ever”

- Philosophy | Masterclass

Marcelo Staricoff is amazing and inspiring

- Teacher | Brighton

JONKing at Coastal Federation was one of the best things we’ve done to inspire our children- go for it!

- Coastal Federation | Norfolk

Thank you for the JONK Course, excellent course and I can’t wait to start!

- Teacher | JONK Course

Great examples, brilliant presentation

- Headteacher | JONK Course