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St Mary’s, Colchester joins prestigious network of the world’s top schools

A conference on global educational topics, hosted in Cape Town, South Africa, is the kind of event to which any current or aspiring politician would love to be invited, and it is now a diary date for two students from St Mary’s School, Colchester, which has been invited to join a prestigious network of the world’s top schools.

The event is the school’s first engagement as a candidate member of the Round Square Organisation, a worldwide organisation of 180 top schools in 50 countries across six continents, which includes Wellington College and Benenden in the UK, and the famous Aiglon College in Switzerland. Membership was granted to St Mary’s after passing a rigorous inspection by representatives of current Round Square member schools, which focused on six key ‘Ideals of Learning’ – internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership and service – identified by German educational philosopher, Kurt Hahn, who founded the Round Square organisation in 1966.

The first international education event to which St Mary’s is invited is the Round Square International Conference in Cape Town in October. Representing the school will be Year 10 students Laura Payne and Eve Pemrick, along with St Mary’s Principal, Mrs Hilary Vipond, and Head of History, Mr Benjamin Rassell.

This is an extraordinary learning opportunity and experience for Laura and Eve, and the gateway to so much more in the future for all of our pupils,” says Mrs Vipond. “At St Mary’s, we strive to ensure that, as well as offering an outstanding academic education, we nurture the ‘soft skills’ that are universally acknowledged to be essential in the development of well-rounded, active and informed global citizens. Membership of the Round Square network offers St Mary’s a unique framework for excellence and continuous improvement, as well as opportunities to collaborate and share experiences with like-minded peers and establishments. There will also be opportunities for the school to develop educational contacts across the globe, for pupils to interact with young people in other countries, and for staff and pupils to attend a range of conferences and learning forums on topics such as engineering, eco issues, self-reliance and team building.

Added Mr Rassell, the school’s Round Square Representative, who is Head of History and also co-ordinates St Mary’s dynamic School Council, “The students attending the conference in South Africa will not only benefit directly themselves from the experience of contributing to this major event, but they will also be acting as ambassadors for our school and will be able to share their learning with their peers and staff when they come back to school.”

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