Thriving Minds

UK Junior Programme

United Kingdom

Gifted & Talented Study Day

Think Like An Oxford Scholar

Think Like An Oxford Scholar

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 gifted 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.


Genetics, Epigenetics Transhumanism

If you could engineer your child at conception for greater intelligence and athletic ability, would you? Should you? The manipulation of matter at the genetic level is increasingly a part of the world in which we live. It is having a major impact on the testing of embryos as well as in the creation of new crops. It is an unrivalled tool for modern scientific inquiry and yet few people are aware of some critical distinctions between somatic cell engineering and germ line engineering. Its impact will be hard to avoid in the future as it promises radically different ways of thinking about reproduction. This session will examine the nature of this work and outline its future potential and also some possible future pitfalls. As with all scientific inquiry there are ethical implications and these will also be examined, including the risk of future genetic apartheid.

Do animals feel pain

Do Animals Feel Pain and have a Right not to be Eaten?

Interactive Guided Community of Inquiry

Students will be invited to join a conversation with small groups from other schools to discuss this question using a Community of Inquiry approach. Students will be given a short excerpt and some questions to stimulate conversation in small groups, and then work as a team to reach a set of ideas. 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 altruism, and whether self-survival is the only rational choice. Students will be numbered at the start of the day and their number will be their group number for this session. When the students return from break they will be asked to sit in their numbered groups, not with their own school, in order to mix the age groups and schools. The group will elect a spokesperson to feed back their conclusions and ideas. 1030 – 10.45 introduction to the task. 10.45 – 11.15 groups on task. 11.15 to 11.45 group feedback. 11.45 – 12.00 final questions. All attendant staff will be appointed to a group and will need to help and encourage the discussion without leading it.

Justice Truth Beauty and Maths

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 the impact on other areas of human knowledge, such as beauty, mathematics and art.

The existence of God

The BIG Debate

This House believes that science has replaced God.

Arrival and Registration

From 9.30am. The program begins promptly at 10.00am and concludes at 3.15pm.

Note: times for London conference as follows – 10.00 arrival; 10.30 start; 3.45pm finish.

Conference Fees

A fixed fee of £25. 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 £25. One free staff place with every 12 students booked. Unaccompanied teachers attending for CPD to pay £195.


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 student rate, and who makes the booking]