National Senior Stretch

For Years 10–13



Welcome to the Senior Stretch Study Day 2025!

Are you academically able and ambitious? Are you in year 10 or above? Join us for Thriving Minds Senior Stretch 2025 and embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery, innovation and intellectual growth.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire
W. B. Yeats


Ignite the fire of intellectual growth with Senior Stretch, a revolutionary event designed specifically for more able students, who yearn to explore the vast and captivating realm of interdisciplinary knowledge. Senior Stretch is not your everyday classroom programme. Instead, it’s a journey where students engage at a conceptual level, exploring interdisciplinary ideas to expand their intellectual capacities and ignite a passion for the pursuit of knowledge.

This study day is not about memorising information. We work at the conceptual level to explore intellectual foundations and equip students with a deeper understanding. It’s about taking an interdisciplinary approach to the fundamental ideas that underpin our understanding of the world, ourselves, and others. We bring to you the kind of intellectual stimulation previously only experienced by the students of Oxford and Cambridge. We bring Oxbridge to you.

Remember, knowledge is power. Ignite the fire within you and let Senior Stretch guide your way towards a future that’s as brilliant as your mind.

What to expect

Keynote Speakers: Engage with renowned experts and visionaries who will share their insights on unlocking your potential.

Peer Networking: Connect with gifted students from diverse backgrounds, exchange ideas, and forge lifelong friendships.

Discussions: Participate in thought-provoking discussions on contemporary issues and global challenges.

Critical thinking and Problem solving: Explore new ideas and develop strategies for real-world challenges.

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


Explore Quantum Realities: A Journey Through Quantum Realms

Professor Mark Harris

Prepare to be captivated by an illuminating talk led by Professor Mark Harris, a distinguished physicist and scholar, as he delves into the intricate world of quantum physics. ‘With a rich background in physics and a multidisciplinary approach, Mark will navigate through the complexities of quantum theory, examining some of the most outlandish claims made on its behalf about physical, non-physical and even spiritual realities. During this engaging session, Professor Harris will unveil some of his own cuttingedge research, shedding light on how quantum mechanics challenges and enriches our understanding of reality, human experience, and philosophical thought. By pushing the boundaries of conventional perception, the Professor will invites us to explore the depths of the quantum realm and
its profound impact on our perception of reality.

Don’t miss this opportunity to unravel the mysteries of quantum physics alongside Professor Harris. Join us for an unforgettable journey into the heart of quantum reality

Oxbridge Interview Questions

Julie Arliss

Oxbridge interviews are known for their academic rigour. Practising these questions helps more able students refine their critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills, which are valuable for overall academic growth. Challenge yourself, expand your knowledge and develop valuable life skills by exploring this genuine Oxbridge question, ‘Does a Snail Have Consciousness?’ Surely this is one of the most difficult questions in the Universe! What is consciousness, how do we identify it and how did it evolve? Embark on an incredible journey into your mind, where you’ll acquire the skills, confidence, and adaptability essential for exceptional achievement.

Discover the Psychology of Unconscious Biases

Dr Chris O’Neill

Ever wondered why your brain clings to bad experiences but lets good ones slip away? Join us for an engaging talk on “The Psychology of Unconscious Negative & Positive Biases” and uncover the secrets of how our minds work. Explore why one bad experience in love or money can outweigh four good ones, and how just one “rotten apple” can spoil the whole bunch. Learn why “jerks,” “slackers,” and “downers” can drag down a group’s performance, whether at school or work. Plus, find out why most people think they’re better than average, even when they’re not.

This eye-opening session will give you a deeper understanding of your own mind and how to harness its power for positive change. Don’t miss out on discovering the hidden forces that shape your thoughts, feelings, and actions!

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Mike Grenier

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Debate: The Rise of Veganism: Health Trend or Moral Imperative?

Step into the riveting debate as we unravel the multifaceted nature of veganism. Is it truly about the status and well-being of animals, or simply a trendy lifestyle choice endorsed by celebrities and influencers? Is its popularity driven by genuine health concerns, or merely a desire to follow the crowd on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok? Should our dietary choices be solely based on personal preference, or are there profound ethical considerations pushing us towards a plant-based diet?

Engage in this thought-provoking discussion, where every perspective, whether deeply invested or casually curious, adds richness to the dialogue. Challenge assumptions, foster critical thinking, and navigate the intricate landscape of dietary choices in today’s everevolving world. Your voice matters. Join us and let your insights shape the discourse.


Julie Arliss

Julie Arliss is an outstanding educator dedicated to nurturing brilliance through a holistic approach. At Thriving Minds, she equips talented students with essential tools to cultivate critical thinking, analyze complex problems, and innovate. Her philosophy encourages questioning the status quo, exploring new ideas, and developing real-world solutions. Emphasizing mentorship, Julie ensures students benefit from the wisdom and support of inspiring educators, fostering not only academic excellence but also compassionate, socially conscious individuals.

Julie is a Farmington Scholar at Harris Manchester College, Oxford and coordinates major projects for the Ian Ramsey Centre, including a $3.6M initiative in Central and Eastern Europe, and various outreach programs for schools. As the Founder and Head of Academy Conferences, she has reached over 30,000 students and 4,000 educators across the UK, Australia, and New
Zealand. Julie’s notable projects include “Accelerating Insight” and “Philosothon Expansion,” funded by the Templeton foundations.

Professor Mark Harris

Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion Professor Mark Harris is a distinguished physicist and scholar. Known for his groundbreaking discovery of ‘spin ice’ with Steve Bramwell, Mark has left an indelible mark on the field of magnetism, with over 6,000 journal articles published since their 1997 breakthrough.

After an illustrious career in physics,  Professor Harris broadened his academic pursuits to include the humanities, blending his scientific expertise with spiritual and philosophical inquiry. Now the Andreas Idreos Chair in Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, he directs the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion.

Professor Harris’ research focuses on the implications of quantum physics for the humanities, exploring how modern scientific advancements influence our understanding of human experience, spirituality and philosophy.

Dr. Christopher O’Neill

Dr O’Neill is a fellow of Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford and is a polymathic thinker. He is a psychologist,
registered psychotherapist and trained counsellor. He initiated the large-scale MYRIAD research project in Oxford University investigating resilience and wellbeing in young people. He has forty years’ experience of working with students and staff in schools and is an exceptional educator.

Mike Grenier

is an esteemed educator and advocate of the Slow Education movement. Mike studied English Literature at Oxford University and holds a PGDE from Edge Hill University. With a notable tenure as House Master at Eton and his current role as Deputy Head, Mike has firsthand experience in the transformative power of education. He passionately argues against the corrosive effects of micromanagement in children’s lives, akin to the philosophies behind the Slow Food movement.

Mike founded the UK Slow Education  movement in 2012, emphasizing deep,
meaningful learning and strong student-teacher relationships. He champions a reflective approach to education, urging us to reconsider our haste in teaching. Mike’s work extends to various state schools in the Thames Valley through Eton’s outreach programme. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from
a pioneer in educational reform and discover the benefits of a slower, more thoughtful approach to learning.

Conference Dates


Conference Fees


A fixed fee of £37.50 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 £37.50 each

One free place with every 12 students is deducted at checkout.

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]


Please arrive at the venue early to be seated.

Oxford from 9.15, start 09.45, finish 15.15

London from 9.45, start 10.15, finish 15.45

School Booking

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

CPD Booking