Thriving Minds

Foundations for success

UK Intermediates Conferences

Inspire Ambition, Age 12-14

Big ideas for curious minds



What to expect on the day

This study day offers a unique provision for academically gifted students.
The aim of this study day is to help curious and ambitious students to:
  • Improve their thinking skills
  • Begin to be able to identify what is fundamental from what is trivial
  • Become intellectually creative
  • Identify assumptions and distinguish between good and poor arguments
  • Think systematically and rigorously about relevant modern day issues

Join us on Snapchat – aconferences – for your daily philosophical thought of the day, plus access to free resources.


Session 1: An Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

All matter has a quantum level. Starting with the atom this session will take students down into the quantum world. Wave/particle duality and the double slit experiment will be explained as well as non-locality, superposition and quantum entanglement. Probability rules and the thought experiment of Shrödinger’s cat will also be explored so that students grasp the basic findings of life at the quantum level.

Session 2: Guided Community of Inquiry. Celery Munchers vs Steak Stokers. Is Diet a free choice?

Are you a herbivore or an omnivore, or maybe a carnivore (?!) and it is a free choice? While Descartes did not argue, ‘I think, therefore I am vegetarian,’ others do, so, what are the arguments for vegetarianism and is it a free choice? Eastern traditions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, have a long history of vegetarianism, with up to 85% of the people in India practicing vegetarianism. Modern day ‘Vegetarian Philosophy’ tends to argue that there are ‘consumption ethics’ now that there are readily available alternatives to meat. But what do you think? Members of the team are encouraged to make quality contributions, but also to help others to contribute. There will be a member of staff facilitating the discussion before a shared plenary. Issues arising will include reflection on what defines personal identity, and the implications for human cloning.

Session 3: Justice Truth and Beauty

Punishment is widely accepted and practiced to achieve ‘justice’. Children, adults, institutions and even whole countries can be punished in the name of ‘justice’. But what is justice and does it exist? This session will explore the difficulties of achieving agreement about justice and ask what is the point of punishment, and what is it supposed to achieve? Contemporary examples will be used to illuminate the complexity of the philosophical issues and how we think about other areas of human knowledge, such as beauty mathematics and art.

The BIG Debate:
This house believes that Freewill is an illusion

Are we the product of our genetics, our upbringing and the things that have happened to us along the way, or can we steer our own path? Students will experience a live debate and be encouraged to contribute and to vote. This is a vibrant session and gives an opportunity for the development of a quite different set of analytical and evaluative skills. The debate will conclude with a vote.


Julie Arliss

A Farmington Scholar at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, Julie Arliss is a highly accomplished teacher and author. Julie Arliss is a well-known international educator of gifted students with a gift for making the complex simple, and the simple complex. She is committed to the provision of world-class extension activities for these students, to extend their reach well beyond the curriculum to new areas of knowledge. She is on the examining team for Cambridge International Examinations and founder of Academy Learning.

Tour Dates and Venues


Tuesday 7 March

North Cestrian School
Greater Manchester



Monday 13 March

Woldingham School


Friday 17 March

Oriel High School
East Sussex



Thursday 23 March

Arrow Vale Secondary School


Thursday 20 April

Notre Dame School


Upper Dicker, Wealden

Monday 24 April

Bedes Senior School
East Sussex


Tuesday 20 June

Chester Schools Together



Tuesday 10 October

Bishopsalt School Middlesex


Thursday 12 October

West Buckland School Devon

Perry Barr

Wednesday 18 October

Broadway Academy Trust Birmingham

Additional dates available on request


Conference Fees


A fixed fee of £35 each

We have access to sponsorship for students wishing to attend but for whom the cost is a significant challenge for their families. Please contact us for further details.


A fixed fee of £35 each

One free staff place with every 12 students booked.

Unaccompanied teachers attending for their own CPD to pay £220.

Please Note

These events fill quickly but we appreciate that many schools need time to collect money from students.

Booking Places at a Conference

Bookings for a conference are usually made by a teacher or other representative from a school, and students attend conference with their school group accompanied by a supervising teacher. The school is invoiced for the number of students and staff attending (if schools require payment from students or parents for attendance, these payments are made to the school).

Please note that we cannot accept bookings for unaccompanied students, and all students attending are required have a supervising teacher, or parent, with them. This is a workplace health and safety issue, as we do not have the necessary staff to provide supervision of students at the conference, or during meal breaks. [If a school is not attending, and a student from that school wishes to attend independently, they can do so, but they must be accompanied by a supervising adult who is charged at the same rate as the student, and who makes the booking on behalf of the student. A supervising adult can be a parent or other responsible person over 18. The school or parent must give permission for the student to be absent from school on that day]


Arrival and registration: 9:00

Welcome 9:15

First lecture 9:30

School Booking

Please enter a number greater than or equal to 5.
Please enter a number greater than or equal to 1.

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

CPD Booking