Meet the Candle Conferences Team



Dr. Peter Vardy was Vice Principal of Heythrop College, University of London (1999-2011); he is internationally well-known as a leader in the fields of Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics and Values Education.


Previously a Chartered Accountant, Management Trainer and Chairman of UK listed companies before he was 30, Peter is a brilliant lecturer with an outstanding commitment to young people, encouraging them to think deeply and well about the big questions that affect us all.  He has been the keynote speaker at conferences for the HMC, IBO and UNHRC and has advised Governments, Local Authorities and Academy Chains on Religion and Values education.


Well known from BBC and ABC radio and from articles in The Times Higher Education Supplement, The Tablet, The Age etc. Peter’s bestselling books – including the “Puzzle of” series for HarperCollins – demonstrate his ability to communicate complex ideas with clarity, accuracy and humour.  For nearly three decades schools and colleges have looked to Peter to provide outstanding learning experiences, resources and CPD / INSET, both to support their work in RS and Philosophy and more broadly.


Beware of imitations! Teachers bring their students back to Peter’s events year after year for a reason!



Charlotte Vardy (Peter’s wife) combines teaching Religious Studies across the age and ability range in a local Church School with her work in managing Candle.  She plans our events, designs sessions and resources and presents at some events – particularly teacher-training – as well as overseeing our website, social-media presence.


Charlotte was previously a Director of Studies and Head of Religious Studies and Philosophy (twice) in the independent sector; she is a highly experienced and effective teacher and manager who has also been Oxbridge Tutor and Gifted and Talented Coordinator.


As an educational consultant and teacher-trainer, Charlotte has worked for organisations including the Gipsy Hill Federation, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, CTVC (True Tube) and Microbooks, examination boards including CIE and The Coexist Foundation (2007-2015).  In addition, Charlotte tutored part-time at Heythrop College, University of London between 2004 and 2011.


The author and co-author of four popular books as well as many articles and teaching-resources, Charlotte is a popular lecturer and, as a consultant, has developed a particular interest in curriculum design.

Meet some of our Guest Speakers


Dr David Webster

Dr David Webster is Subject Group Leader for Religious, Philosophical and Historical Studies at the University of Gloucestershire, which was recently ranked 3rd in the country in the Guardian subject league tables for 2016 for Religious Studies and Philosophy  


David has worked for various Universities, including Sunderland and Newcastle, has written a number of books and articles on Buddhism, the Philosophy of Religion, the blues and death in religions and presents the popular Philosvids blog, which provides a range of useful video resources on ethics and a host of other topics.  He proved to be a popular guest lecturer at Candle’s Ethics events in February 2015 and 2016, with his Kant slides actually going viral!


Dr. Stephen Law

Dr Stephen Law is a Senior Lecturer at Heythrop College, University of London and editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal Think.  A Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and Commerce and in 2008 became the Provost of the Centre for Inquiry UK.


Stephen has published both a variety of academic papers, most famously “The Evil-God Challenge” (Religious Studies, 2010) and more popular, introductory books including award-winning “The Philosophy Gym“. An engaging lecturer, Stephen has debated many well-known figures in the field, including William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga, Alister McGrath and John Lennox, and was a guest at Candle’s 2015 and 2016 Philosophy student events.  He blogs at and tweets @stephenlaw60


Dr Claire Carlisle

Dr Claire Carlisle is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Theology and AKC Programme Director at King’s College, London.


Claire studied at Trinity College, Cambridge before becoming a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in at the University of Leeds. From 2006 until 2011 she was Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool, where she developed a project called Philosophy in the City. She joined King’s in 2011. Her main interests and publications are in the fields of Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion and she has particular expertise in the work of Soren Kierkegaard and Baruch Spinoza. She has written columns for The Guardian and has appeared on Radio 4’s “In Our Time” (on The Ontological Argument).  Claire will participate in Candle’s events for the first time in 2016, joining our A2 Religious Studies and A Level Philosophy events in November.

Professor Alister McGrath


Dr. Alister E. McGrath, is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion  and Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, both at the University of Oxford.  


President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, he serves as associate priest in a group of Church of England village parishes in the Cotswolds. After initial academic work in the natural sciences, McGrath turned to the study of theology and intellectual history, while occasionally becoming engaged in broader cultural debates about the rationality and relevance of the Christian faith.  He is a well known author and speaker who joined Candle for two national series of Philosophy of Religion A Level events.

Dr Robert King


Dr Robert J King is a researcher at the School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, in Ireland. He has published in the field of human sexual behavior, and is a regular “Hive Mind” columnist for Psychology Today magazine.  He tweets @DrRobertKing


Previously a teacher of A Level Psychology and Philosophy, Dr King is a lively and engaging lecturer.  He joined us for a series of Ethics A Level events, exploring the implications of the theory of evolution for Moral Philosophy.


Dr Bernard Hoose


Dr Bernard Hoose is an influential Catholic Moral Philosopher, chiefly known (and specified for study at A level) in relation to his work in developing Proportionalism.  


Before his retirement Bernard lectured in Christian Ethics at Heythrop College, University of London.  His publications include Proportionalism (1987) and Received Wisdom? Reviewing the Role of Tradition in Christian Ethics (1994) and he was the editor of Christian Ethics: An Introduction (1998).  He served on the Theology Commission of Caritas Social Action.  Bernard joined Candle for two series of A Level Ethics events, discussing Natural Law and Proportionalism.

Here’s a little bit more about us…

In 2010 Dr Peter Vardy founded Candle Conferences with his wife Charlotte to run the popular student and teacher-training events that he had previously been running with Richard Huish College and before that Dialogue Education.

Today, Peter and Charlotte are committed to offering students and teachers of Religious Studies and Philosophy a real alternative to OCR, AQA, Edexcel or WJEC examiner-roadshows, textbooks and training, an alternative which takes a broader, deeper approach to education. We always go beyond exam-coaching and aim to teach the subject matter properly, for its own sake, rather than just as a means to an end – though students and teachers report better exam results anyway!


Candle Conferences’ A Level and GCSE events and resources are suitable for any board and any specification (e.g OCR, AQA, EdExcel, eduqas) or alternatively for IB Diploma Philosophy (and the Theory of Knowledge), CIE PreU Philosophy and Theology, SQA Scottish Higher RMPS and other equivalent qualifications, including courses for senior students overseas in Australasia such as HSC Studies of Religion.



Candle now offers a range of Bespoke Events, Resources and Consultancy Services for schools and colleges which offer more teachers, managers and of course young people to benefit from what we do really well; creating opportunities for thinking well about the big questions that affect us all.



Ultimately, we believe that education is about helping young people to become fully human, that success is not only about grades and that in-depth knowledge, thorough understanding and excellent skills will always find their just reward. We want to use our passion for a broader vision for education, help all schools make it a reality and make the future a better place.


Candle aims to ensure that all of its Philosophy and Ethics, Religious Studies, GCSE RS, PSHCE and Gifted and Talented (G&T) student conferences, Bespoke Events, teacher CPD / INSET and resources offer excellent value for money while never compromising on quality or academic rigour.

More Events for GCSE and A Level Religious Studies with Dr Peter Vardy

FAITH has been specially designed to enrich and extend Year 13 students’ learning and covers topics specified by ALL ENGLISH EXAMINATION BOARDS for the full A Level (Year 2 study) in Religious Studies, but also relevant for those studying towards CIE PreU and IB Diploma options Read more»

HAPPINESS has been designed to support your Year 12 students and covers topics specified by ALL ENGLISH EXAMINATION BOARDS for AS Level / A Level Year 1 Study in Religious Studies, but also relevant for those studying towards CIE PreU and IB Diploma options. Sessions will cover… Read more»

Our brand new GCSE event for 2019 CREATION has been designed to enrich and extend your Year 10-11 students and covers topics specified by ALL EXAMINATION BOARDS as part of the Christianity and Thematic Studies modules.  Reference will also be made to Islam and Judaism… Read more»

Adding value to education

CPD events for teachers at venues across the UK and online, including occasional residentials, plus Bespoke training from whole-staff or departmental INSET to individual coaching.

A day for Gifted and Talented Year 10s, a sixth form enrichment day on financial awareness or a governors’ day on ethos… we can arrange a Bespoke Event which adds value to your curriculum.

Ready to book a conference with Candle Conferences? Buying conference tickets is easy and secure using a credit or debit card now, or send an invoice-request to our team…