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Academy Ltd Masterclasses

The Academy Ltd organises meetings and events, connecting leaders in education to top academics from the best universities in the world. They are the most intellectually rigorous events on offer to educational leaders in the country. The purpose is to inspire, to challenge, and to provide vital space for thinking. Come and experience for yourself – take the time you need to think clearly about what you do, why you are doing it, and what you want to do next.

Partners Present and Past

Leading From The Front Working Party

The working party is comprised of twelve volunteer head teachers from a range of different types of school. The working party is as representative of schools as possible so that all views are included and reflected. The aim of the working party is to establish an influence over education policy so that schools are taking a full part in future decision making. As radical educational change is inevitable schools need to step up and take a more active role. The working party is advancing this agenda. New members are welcome to join the working party and may do so by contacting the office (E: [email protected]). The working party is currently chaired by Mike Grenier, from Eton College, who is coordinating their work.

Julie ArlissDr Andrew PinsentDr Stephen LawDr Tim MawsonFr Mark SmithProfessor Daphne HampsonProfessor David HorrellProfessor Gerald PillayProfessor Johannes ZachhuberProfessor Justin JonesProfessor Keith WardProfessor Raymond TallisProfessor Tom GreggsSir Anthony SeldonThe late Professor Roger Scruton

Julie Arliss

Julie Arliss lectures at King’s College and works in close association with Oxford University and Exeter University. She organises and lectures at the best attended student study days in the UK for 15 – 19 year olds. Internationally she works with students in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and is the joint author of a number of books and academic articles including The Thinker’s Guide to Evil. She is regularly invited to be the keynote speaker at events and recently gave the Hobhouse Lecture. She is Principal Examiner in Cambridge combining a strong commitment to young people with academic rigour.

Find out more about Julie Arliss.

Dr Andrew Pinsent

Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Religion and Science, Oxford University

Dr Pinsent is a former particle physicist at Oxford University, being a named author on thirty-one papers of the DELPHI experiment at CERN and a member of the United Kingdom Institute of Physics. Dr Pinsent left CERN to run his own consultancy business, was later ordained and, after completing a second doctorate in philosophy, became 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. He is ‘interested in everything’ and visits schools to encourage the young to be ambitious and courageous in their thinking. He is committed to a broad view of education in which gifted students can maximise their full potential.

Dr Stephen Law


Stephen Law is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London. He was previously the Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy at Queen’s College, Oxford. He is the editor of the philosophical journal Think, which is published by the Royal Institute of Philosophy. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce, and in 2008 became the Provost for the Centre for Enquiry UK. He has published a variety of academic papers as well as popular introductory books in Philosophy.

Dr Tim Mawson

Tim Mawson was educated at St Peter’s College and then Queen’s College in Oxford. He held a number of lectureships at other Oxford colleges before returning to St Peter’s in 1998, where he is now one of two Philosophy Fellows. He has written extensively on the Philosophy of Religion. His recent published work focuses on cognitive science, classical theism, and the knowledge of God.

Fr Mark Smith

Fr Mark Smith is an inspirational school leader and chaplain based at King’s College, Taunton. He works with Academy Conferences and the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford spear-heading the hugely successful Philosothon project in schools. After working as a police officer in South Africa he was ordained and called to work with people in some of the poorest townships in South Africa. He was active in the Anti-Apartheid movement until liberation in 1994. An innovative thinker and a larger than life speaker Mark will lead a session exploring how a quality education is not found in high profile new-builds and expensive equipment, but in creating a unified curriculum through which the individual learns to take their place in the world.

Professor Daphne Hampson

Daphne Hampson is Professor Emerita of Divinity at the University of St Andrew’s, an Associate of the Department of Theology and Religion at Oxford University, and a Life Member at Clare College, Cambridge. She has published widely on Post-Christian thought with an emphasis on feminist criticism, combining her commitment to theological realism with an ethical critique of Christian mythology. Her latest work focuses on the role of religion in contemporary Western society, the underrepresented field of Lutheran thought, and an introductory exposition on the work of Kierkegaard.

Professor David Horrell

David Horrell is the Director of the Centre for Biblical Studies at Exeter University and is widely published as a scholar of the New Testament. His work focuses on a social-scientific approach, exploring aspects of early Christian identity in its socio-historical context. In addition, he looks at contemporary interpretations of the New Testament in ethical and ecological discussions, and delivers training conferences to educators on the way biblical texts shape Christian perspectives on the environment.

Professor Gerald Pillay

Gerald Pillay is the Vice Chancellor & Rector, and the Chief Academic and Administrative Officer of Liverpool Hope University. Professor Pillay holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Rhodes University and a Doctor of Theology degree from the University of Durban. In 1997 he became Foundation Professor and Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Otago University, New Zealand’s oldest University, based in Dunedin. He has served in senior leadership roles at The University of South Africa and the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria and has lectured in several institutions abroad.

Professor Johannes Zachhuber

Professor Johannes Zachhuber is an historical and systematic theologian specialising in the Eastern Patristic tradition of theology, and modern theology from the Reformation to the present. His recent published works include comprehensive treatments of 19th Century German thought in relation to theology, philosophy, and individuality. He supervises a wide range of graduate research projects at Oxford University where he is a Fellow and Tutor in Theology at Trinity College.

Professor Justin Jones

An historian by training, Professor Justin Jones’s research interests relate to religious and social transformation within Islam. His work engages themes such as the changing role of modern Islamic scholars and modern forms of Muslim public organisation as politico-activism. He is a valued member of Oxford University’s Theology faculty and also shares responsibility for recruitment and admissions to Pembroke College at Oxford.

Professor Keith Ward

PROFESSOR KEITH WARD is Regius Professor Emeritus of Divinity at Oxford and was Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion at King’s College, London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Executive Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Professor Raymond Tallis

Professor Raymond Tallis is a philosopher, poet, novelist and cultural critic and was until recently a physician and clinical scientist. In the Economist’s Intelligent Life Magazine he was listed as one of the top living polymaths in the world. Over the last 20 years Raymond Tallis has published fiction, three volumes of poetry, and 23 books on the philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology, literary theory, the nature of art and cultural criticism. Together with over 200 articles in Prospect, Times Literary Supplement and many other outlets, these books offer a critique of current predominant intellectual trends and an alternative understanding of human consciousness, the nature of language and of what it is to be a human being. For this work, Professor Tallis has been awarded two honorary degrees and is a visiting professor at a number of Universities. He was a member of the judges’ panel for the Samuel Johnson prize in 2012 and in 2015 he judged the Notting Hill Essay prize. He makes regular appearances at Hay, Cheltenham, Edinburgh and other book festivals and lectures widely. He is particularly well liked for his amusing, engaging and inspiring talks.

There are few more valuable thinkers in Britain – or indeed, the world – today.The Times Higher Education Supplement

Professor Tom Greggs

Tom Greggs is Marischal Professor of Divinity at the University of Aberdeen; the Marsichal chair dates from 1616 and is the oldest chair in Divinity in Scotland. A graduate of the universities of Oxford (where he was an open scholar and took the Denyer and Johnson Prize) and Cambridge, Tom is the former Secretary of Society for the Study of Theology, and has served as co-chair of the Scriptural Reasoning Panel at the American Academy of Religion, for which he remains a member of the book awards panel. He is currently a member of the steering committee of Duke University’s Theology, Modernity and the Arts Project, and of the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Inter-Faith Theology Group. Tom is a founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland, and in 2015 was elected to the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (which has subsequently appointed him to convene the sub-group on religious pluralism). He is an Honorary Professor in Theology at St Mellitus College, London, and has been a visiting research fellow at St John’s College, Durham, and College of Arts and Sciences International Visiting Scholar and Visiting Professor in Religion at the University of Virginia. Tom’s research relates particularly to the place of faith in a complexly pluralistic and secular society, and he has been engaged in inter-faith work in Britain, the United States and Israel. His work has been used by practitioners in inter-faith work throughout the world, and he is much sought after as a speaker and preacher. He has published widely on the question of what it means to be Christian in a post-Christendom context, and is currently working on a three volume Ecclesiology (the first ever multi-volume dogmatic ecclesiology in the English Language). He recently received a 21 month research grant (beginning in 2017) from the British Academy to support the writing of his next book.

Sir Anthony Seldon

Sir Anthony Seldon is a political historian and commentator on British political leadership as well as on education and contemporary Britain. He is also Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. He was previously the headmaster of Wellington College, and is co-founder and first Director of the Institute of Contemporary British History. He is author or editor of over 40 books, and remains a powerful voice in the world of education.

The late Professor Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton is a philosopher and public commentator. He is widely published with popular works such ‘I Drink Therefore I am’; ‘A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine’ and ‘The Uses of Pessimism’. As a political and cultural commentator he is often interviewed on TV and is famously outspoken with views which never fail to challenge public perceptions. He is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and of the British Academy and is currently a visiting professor at the University of St Andrews and Oxford University. Professor Scruton has an enduring interest in gifted education and runs an exclusive ‘conversation’ group for students who really want to think, and not just to pass exams, at Oxford University. He is patron of the UK Philosothon movement where students meet to have conversations about big ideas. This is a unique opportunity for gifted co-ordinators to hear Professor Scruton share his thoughts and ideas about how best to cultivate gifted students in a school environment.

Thank you for the wonderful reception, the kindness of your entire team. It’s all very exciting. I’m looking forward to watching the videos. Thank you so much for your arc… Read more
Sir Anthony SeldonBuckingham University

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