Foundations for Success

Junior Stretch and Challenge

Inspire Ambition: Age 11–14

Big ideas for curious minds



What to expect on the day

Celebrate a day of intellectual exploration designed for motivated and ambitious students eager to elevate their kills to new heights. This year’s focus revolves around empowering bright minds to adeptly navigate ideas and establish connections across various cademic disciplines.
Engage in dynamic, multimedia-rich sessions that encourage active participation. Immerse yourself in an interactive environment tailored to meet the unique needs of highly capable students, fostering collaboration with like-minded peers who share a passion for idea exchange. Benefit from the expertise of accomplished educator, Julie Arliss,, who will guide and inspire students throughout the day. This exceptional opportunity aims to promote both equity and excellence for diverse learners across the curriculum, providing a platform for high-level challenges that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on participants’ academic journeys.

“We really enjoyed all the sessions, particularly the great interaction and demanding but engaging content. Credit should be given to Julie Arliss who is an outstanding communicator and public speaker.”

Why Attend?

This transformative event is crafted to unleash the full potential of gifted minds, with a specific focus on STEM-related themes. Nurturing self-discovery, innovation, and intellectual growth, the conference is designed to inspire ambition.

  • Captivating Speakers: Explore insights from accomplished individuals, transcending traditional STEM boundaries.
  • Connecting Minds: Forge connections with like-minded peers, fostering new ideas and lasting friendships.
  • Thoughtful Conversations: Dive into discussions on global challenges.
  • Critical Thinking Unleashed: Develop strategies for real-world challenges through interactive sessions applicable to any field.

By attending, students will be inspired to think deeply, gaining valuable insights, and developing skills essential for future success. Join us in nurturing brilliance and guiding them on a path of unparalleled ambition and achievement, igniting a passion for the profound in the minds of tomorrow.






Session 1: Genetics, Epigenetics Transhumanism

A Thought Provoking Exploration of the Frontiers of Genetics


Recent breakthroughs, such as Elon Musk’s brain chip implant, are pushing the boundaries of what we once thought possible. Imagine a world where designing your child for enhanced intelligence and athleticism becomes a reality—questions arise: Could you? Should you?

As the manipulation of genetic matter becomes increasingly woven into the fabric of our world, influencing everything from embryo testing to the creation of new crops, understanding its nuances becomes imperative. Unravel the complexities of somatic cell engineering versus germ line engineering and grasp the profound impact it holds for modern scientific inquiry. In this enlightening session, we’ll explore the transformative potential of genetic manipulation and shed light on potential pitfalls that lie ahead. The talk will not shy away from ethical considerations, including the looming risk of a future genetic apartheid. Join us for a journey into the future, where genetics shapes the very essence of our existence, and ethical dilemmas await thoughtful consideration.



Session 2: Interactive Guided Community of Inquiry

The Task: The Ring of Gyges Challenge


Immerse yourself in a transformative group discussion session, designed specifically for more able and ambitious students! Using a timeless text from Plato, participants will engage in thought-provoking conversations with small groups from various schools, employing the dynamic Community of Inquiry approach. Each student will receive a concise excerpt along with stimulating questions, fostering lively discussions within their small groups. Through collaborative teamwork, participants will collectively formulate a set of ideas, emphasizing not only making quality contributions but also supporting their peers in the process.

Facilitated by dedicated staff members, the discussion will unfold before a shared plenary, exploring profound issues. Reflect on whether intelligence equates to justice and morality when not compelled, and ponder the role of government in legislating morality. To foster an inclusive and collaborative environment, students will be randomly assigned to teams that encompass a mix of ages and schools, promoting diversity and enriching the collective learning experience. A spokesperson will be elected within each group to present their collective conclusions and ideas. Join us in this intellectually stimulating experience, where students become active contributors to a rich tapestry of shared knowledge and insightful discourse.

All attendant staff will be appointed to a group and will need to help and encourage the discussion without leading it.



Session 3: Unlocking Virtue: A Journey into Aristotle’s Philosophy


Aristotle stands as an intellectual giant in the history of Western thought, leaving an enduring impact that resonates across the centuries. His significant contributions span many subjects, from ethics and metaphysics to politics and science. Aristotle’s emphasis on empirical observation and logical reasoning laid the foundation for scientific inquiry, shaping the very essence of Western intellectual tradition. In this interactive session inspired by Aristotle’s works like “Nicomachean Ethics” and “Politics,” students will actively participate, unravelling the intricacies of human nature, morality, and the complexities of our world. Discover the timeless wisdom of Aristotle and explore what he believed to be the essence of virtue, moral character, and the pursuit of a meaningful life. Whether you’re a philosophy enthusiast or seeking wisdom for personal growth, get ready for an enriching experience that goes beyond mere contemplation, fostering active dialogue and intellectual exploration.



Session 4: Debate


This House Believes that the Finely Tuned Design of the Universe Points to the Existence of God.

Engaging in debates not only sharpens your critical thinking skills but also fosters a dynamic environment for exchanging diverse perspectives. Embrace the opportunity to attend this exciting debate about the fundamental nature of reality – whether you choose to speak or simply listen, your presence will enrich the discussion and cultivate a culture of intellectual exploration and mutual understanding among peers.

Closing Comments



Julie Arliss

Julie Arliss is an outstanding Gifted Educator, nurturing brilliance through a holistic approach. At the heart of Julie Arliss’ philosophy lies a deep commitment to unlocking the unique potential within every gifted student. She believes that gifted education is not just about cultivating academic excellence but also fostering holistic development, instilling a love for lifelong learning, and nurturing the well-being of each student. Thriving Minds provides talented students with the tools necessary to cultivate critical thinking, analyse complex problems, and innovate. This philosophy encourages students to question the status quo, explore new ideas, and develop solutions to real-world challenges. In placing great value on mentorship and guidance students benefit from the wisdom and expertise of educators who not only teach but also inspire and support them on their educational journey. Through steadfast commitment to this philosophy, numerous more able and ambitious students have not only achieved academic excellence but have also grown into compassionate, innovative and socially conscious individuals. Julie Arliss’ legacy extends far beyond the conference platform, influencing the lives of students who carry these values with them throughout their lives.

For almost three decades Julie has collaborated with some of the greatest living thinkers delivering outstanding programmes for more able students across the UK and Australasia.

Conference Dates


Additional Detail

Students should be in school uniform. Timings may vary slightly. All bookings are made by the school and not by individual participants.

Fill in the booking form and select the venue of your choice. You will be given the choice to pay online (recommended) or to be invoiced. Tickets are not issued.

Students need to bring refreshments and drinks for the day. Staff will be provided with morning tea and lunch. The events cost $50 per student and there is a free staff place for each group of 12 students. All bookings will attract this fixed fee.

Bookings are not confirmed until payment is received.

School Bookings

For bookings for smaller numbers please address requests to [email protected]

CPD Bookings

For bookings for smaller numbers please address requests to [email protected]