A Level RS Conference

United Kingdom

Think Like An Oxford Scholar

Think Like An Oxford Scholar

What to Expect on the Day

This is a day for bright ambitious students who are interested in ideas. The best way to stretch clever youngsters is to give them a solid platform from which key questions and big ideas can be explored. Students will spend the day with like-minded youngsters all keen to reach the ceiling of their ability and share ideas. Experienced gifted educator, Julie Arliss and lecturers from Oxford University, Aberdeen University and London University will stretch and challenge your students. This is a unique, not to be missed, opportunity for your students.

Why Attend?

  • Oxbridge Masterclass
  • Promote equity and excellence for diverse learners
  • Target the development of capabilities in GT students
  • Add depth, complexity and richness
  • Challenge GT students with abstract ideas
  • Engage the thinker within
  • Share ideas with like-minded people
  • Meet world-class thinkers

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

Course Content


Knowing What You Know and What You Don’t Know

Examining epistemology
Julie Arliss

Knowledge is not the same as belief. What things can we know, ‘beyond reasonable doubt’? This is the task for a jury sitting in a court room and is the opening question of this session. A range of ideas will be presented from across the curriculum to explore the difference between that which can rationally be said to be ‘proved’ and what it is reasonable to believe. This session will give academically able students, thinking tools with which to test factual claims. In addition there will be an evaluation of the claim that there are some areas of human experience, such as claims to religious experience, which require different tests.

bodies can hold knowledge

BODIES - Guest Academic

A different guest academic will speak in each region on the theme of BODIES.

LONDON Professor Charles Foster. Green Templeton College Oxford & Faculty of Law, Oxford. Ig Nobel Prize winner. Why I lived like a badger, an otter, a deer and a swift.

CAMBRIDGE Dr James Orr. Former Corporate Lawyer, Cambridge University Philosophy. Cambridge. Embodied Cognition – Can the BODY have knowledge?

OXFORD, WELLINGTON Mike Grenier. Shakespeare- humors and appetites. A polymathic look at how Shakespeare viewed the body, and our appetites. How does Shakespeare use science to create dynamic dramatic characters and situations? How do melancholic moods create tragic heroes and why is it not entirely bad to have the appetites of Jack Falstaff?

GATESHEAD, MANCHESTER Dr Andrew Pinsent – Ian Ramsey Centre, Theology Faculty University of Oxford, Former CERN physicist. A new look at Heavenly Bodies.

secret of happiness

Science and the Secret of Happiness

Dr Christopher O’Neill

We all want to be happy, so how is that achieved? Is happiness found in fame and fortune? Or in material possessions: house, car, garden, great job? Or maybe the true secret of happiness is accepting that there isn’t one! What’s your guess? Can science tell us how to be happy? Dr O’Neill will review the scientific literature on the secret of happiness.

loving relationships

Philosophy, Love and Relationships

Julie Arliss

Relationships are the most important part of human life and have the power to make us happy, or utterly miserable! No wonder then, that so many people have thought so hard about how to achieve the perfect relationship. David Hume argued that reason is slave to the passions, but was he right? Is it reasonable to expect something more than blind passion to regulate our relationships, or not? This session will start by examining Plato’s philosophical examination of love and other ancient ideas about relationships before considering the world of online dating, Love Island and Tinder. How and why have the rules of relationships changed, and are people happier? If we ‘dare to be wise,’ Immanuel Kant, what does that mean in terms of relationships, and is ‘not hurting anybody’, Jeremy Bentham, enough?

Mind-body-which to exercise

The BIG Debate

"What is more important? A healthy mind or a healthy body?"

An opportunity for students to contribute to this great debate topic. What do you think and can you persuade others to agree with you? An opportunity for persuasive speech and creative thinking on your feet. Dr O’Neill and Julie Arliss will introduce the debate with just a few brief comments setting out some of the questions, and students who wish to contribute will be given a time-limit of 30 seconds to make an impact.


Julie Arliss

Julie Arliss

Recently awarded a Farmington Fellowshipby Harris Manchester College, Oxford, Julie Arliss is a highly accomplished teacher and author. She 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 EthIQa.
Dr Chris Neill

Dr Chris 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 well-being in young people. He has forty years’ experience of working with students and staff in schools and is an exceptional educator.
Dr Andrew Pinsent – Oxford

Dr Andrew Pinsent - Oxford

Dr Pinsent is an international speaker, in great demand across the globe. He is a polymath with doctorates in both physics and philosophy. There are few better placed to discuss matters of science and religion as a speaker and all over the world. Former particle physicist at CERN, being a named author on thirty-one papers of the DELPHI experiment. He is a member of the United Kingdom Institute of Physics. Dr Pinsent also has a second doctorate in philosophy and is currently the Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, a Research Fellow of Harris-Manchester College and a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at Oxford University.
Mike Grenier

Mike Grenier

Alumni of St Peter’s College, Oxford, who works with highly able students at Eton College where his students rate him as ‘a legend’. He is a radical thinker who leads a number of initiatives all focused on finding the optimal challenge for each student: “Teachers need to find our precisely which bowl of porridge suits every student – not too hot too cold, too big or too small.” Widely published in the education world and passionate about a broader view of education which goes well beyond marching bright young students through examinations on the basis of their date of birth. He argues that this risks ‘dehumanising each and every one of them.’

Professor Charles Foster - Oxford

Professor Charles Foster - Oxford

Charles Foster is a writer, traveller, veterinarian and barrister. He is a Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford. His books cover many fields. They include books on travel, evolutionary biology, natural history, anthropology, theology, archaeology, philosophy and law. Ultimately they are all attempts to answer the questions ‘Who or what are we?’, and ‘what on earth are we doing here? His latest book is ‘Being a Beast’, which is published in the UK by Profile Books and in the US by Metropolitan Books. He read veterinary medicine and law at Cambridge, and is a qualified veterinary surgeon. He holds a PhD in law/bioethics from the University of Cambridge. He teaches Medical Law and Ethics at the University of Oxford.

Dr James Orr

Dr James Orr - Cambridge

Dr James Orr left corporate law ten years ago to become a student again and has recently secured a lectureship at Cambridge University. Formerly McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, Dr Orr holds a PhD and MPhil from St. John’s College, Cambridge, and a Double First in Literae Humaniores from Balliol College, Oxford. His publications and policy papers cover many fields including ‘The Discarded Mind’ ‘Created Equal’ and ‘Being and Eternity’. An impressive polymathic mind keen to inspire curious young minds in the search for knowledge.



30th November 2022


7th December 2022


Conference Fees


A fixed fee of £30.

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 £30. One free staff place with every 12 students booked.

Unaccompanied teachers attending for CPD to pay £200.


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 student rate, and who makes the booking]

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.

Student & Staff Bookings

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

Continuing Professional Development Bookings