Manchester 5th March 2015, London 6th March 2015

Candle Education Ltd. presents an all-new intensive professional development event, which explores ways in which the teaching of Ethics may be enriched by drawing on movies old and new. Young people watch far more films than read books and they are used to discussing film characters and the scenarios they face. Their interest can be harnessed, making lessons appealing, helping to communicate difficult ideas, but most of all to provoke discussion and turn the focus away from the teacher onto the students, developing a genuine spirit of enquiry in the classroom.

This event will appeal to all teachers of Religious Education, especially to those delivering GCSE Religious Studies and A Level Religious Studies Ethics options, as well as to teachers of A Level Philosophy, IB Philosophy or Theory of Knowledge, CIE PreU Philosophy and Theology or Global Perspectives. It may also be of interest to School Chaplains and those charged with delivering PSHCE lessons to senior students. Sessions will be led by Dr Peter Vardy and Charlotte Vardy (who led the highly successful “RE goes to the Movies” Professional Development events across the UK, Australia and New Zealand in 2010-12 and co-authored “Ethics Matters” SCM Press 2012). A DVD of related resources will be provided to delegates.

“As Head of Department I value the conferences immensely as an opportunity for CPD for myself and other members of the department. The material covered is always cutting-edge and up to the minute discussion of current issues.” Laura Harvey, Newstead Wood School, February 2014

Sessions will include…

Being Human
This session will explore what it means to be human, how technology threatens to blur the distinction between human beings and other life forms and why this matters when it comes to Ethics. Clips from films as diverse as “I Robot”, “The Sea Inside”, “Her” and “Flatland” will be discussed and ways of opening topics in Medical Ethics, including challenges and responses to the importance of the Sanctity of Life as well as Genetic Engineering, will be considered.

The emphasis will be on student-led enquiries, stimulated by short clips from a films as diverse as “The Hurt Locker”, “Green Zone”; “Bonhoeffer” and “Atonement”. Many young people struggle to understand topics such as war because (thankfully) they have limited personal experience; films are a good way of helping them to empathise with other people and situations and to reflect on the ethical issues that raise.

“Film excels at metaphor, forging a connection between dissimilar objects or themes… Show, don’t tell, is the rule of cinema…” Professor Thom Parham • “Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film and Culture” (2005)

This session will explore the issue of punishment, including capital punishment, and the related questions of freedom and responsibility. Classic films such as “Dead Man Walking” and “The Green Mile” will figure alongside more recent releases, such as “The Adjustment Bureau”, “I’ve Loved you so Long” and “Camp X Ray” encouraging young people to ask whether life imprisonment may sometimes be even more inhumane than capital punishment and whether people who appear to have limited freedom can really be held responsible for their actions. The aim here will be to encourage higher order thinking and to get young people out of rehearsing familiar arguments.


Teaching young people about human relationships is not easy. Whether in the context of KS3 Sex and Relationships Education, Sexual Ethics as part of A2 RS or the discussions of the treatment of homosexuals in different parts of the world, it can be difficult to get young people really thinking about the issues or beginning to understand their importance. The use of film clips can be a way of provoking discussion which is both “safe” (characters and scenarios on screen allow young people to talk about issues without revealing too much of themselves or commenting on the views or actions of others they know) and potentially deeper. This session will show how clips from films ranging from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” to “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Frozen” can transform lessons on human relationships.

Getting young people interested in Business Ethics can be a real challenge! Nevertheless, following the continuing financial crisis that began 2008 it is important for young people to understand the moral significance of financial decisions. Clips from films such as “Inside Job”, “Margin Call”, “Up in the Air” can explain the issues while also helping young people reflecting on how they want to live and on what is really important in life.

To Book…

Places at “Ethics goes to the Movies” are available for £195 each (or £300 for two attending from the same school) for those who complete
their booking before 12th September 2014. After this places cost £225 each. 

This price includes the conference resources DVD and lunch.

To register your interest please contact us or, if you are in a position to proceed with the booking, please use the booking form here.