Senior Head's Blog: Round Square Conference

I have been very fortunate to spend the start of this week in Oxford at the Round Square International Conference.  Originally, this was due to take place in 2021, but as with so many events, this was pushed back due to the pandemic.  The first part of the conference has brought together 1,500 delegates from schools all around the world, under the conference theme 'Take Less, Be More'.  

The Felsted delegation has been based in St Peter's College, and I am writing this, the Felsted team are getting read to be joined back at Felsted by about 200 students from a variety of schools.  I am pleased to be able to tell you that the Felsted team won praise from everyone for their hard work and support in helping with the organisation, leading groups of students, and even speaking on stage.  I have no doubt that those joining the conference over the coming days will continue this high standard, and I do hope that they will gain a great deal from the experience.  Despite a little short term disruption to school life, I do believe that the benefit of fully engaging with Round Square is worth this disruption.

Round Square was originally established by Kurt Hahn CBE, who was Head of Salem, Louisenlund and Gordonstoun, established the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and founded Atlantic College (and United World Colleges) during his time in education.  Hahn believed that education was about challenging oneself (plus est en vous - there is more in you) and it was this philosophy that led to the six IDEALS of Round Square: Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service.  As a Round Square school, these ideals are part of what we seek to do.  One particularly impactful aspect of Round Square is the exchange programme, through which students can spend time at one of the many Round Square schools around the world.

The highlight of my time in Oxford was hearing Professor Sir Dieter Helm CBE (pictured above) speak.  Helm is an OF and was in Mont's House in the 1970s and is currently Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Oxford, and Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford, and his theme was the climate and the challenge facing the current generation.  His message was very hard hitting, and urged us to recognise that while we could make change, current policies were doing little to slow the increase of carbon particles in the atmosphere, and as such, there was little chance that temperatures would not continue to rise, until we make a change to our approach.  I am looking forward to reading more in his latest book - Net Zero - and will be trying to persuade him to come back to Felsted to talk to pupils and parents!

Have a very good week.

Chris Townsend
Head, Felsted School