Essay Writing Competition

All accredited World Class Schools are invited to enter up to three students for our annual WCSQM Essay Writing Competition. The annual competition gives World Class students the opportunity to challenge themselves with a piece of writing centred around an intellectually provocative theme, encouraging thought and debate on a range of topics that have a direct impact on young people.

The benefits of entering

  • The essay title is set, and each essay entry judged by, a noted academic and/or influencer, renowned in their field of expertise.
  • Students receive World Class feedback on their entry from the independent competition judge and the World Class school nominated to oversee the competition
  • Students shortlisted for the award are invited to attend our annual Awards Ceremony in December, where shortlisted nominees are given an honourable mention, and the winner is presented with the essay writing competition award - perfect for any schools' trophy cupboard!
  • Names of the shortlisted nominees and the winner / winning essays are published on the WCSQM website.

The 2018 essay writing competition

This year's essay competition title was set by Professor Chris Bonell, Professor of Public Health Sociology at the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Chris attended a non-selective secondary stage school in West Bromwich and was an undergraduate at King's College Cambridge. He feels passionately about the importance of promoting opportunities for students in non-selective state education.

Chris Bonell

The challenge in 2018

One of my main areas of research is adolescent health and I focus on how schools and school-based interventions as well as youth services can impact on young people's health. Almost all of my research is concerned with how social exclusion in the form of poverty or other forms of disadvantage is associated with health risks, and my research has examined, for example, how educational disengagement and subsequent adolescent health risks are inadvertent consequences of current UK educational policies. So my essay question is...

How do the experiences of young people at school affect how healthy a lifestyle they adopt?

Chris Bonell

The 2018 winner and honourable mentions

It was very difficult to judge the essays as they were all so good. They covered a myriad of issues that it has taken scientists from across the world decades to explore. Progress might have been faster had scientists listened more attentively to students' views and experiences. The essays ranged from discussions of how educational attainment might relate to health, how gender is a focus of social interaction in schools and what this might mean for mental health through to how schools do or don't promote physical activity and good diet. However, I judged three essays as particularly outstanding.

Chris Bonell

And the winner is...

Emily Jones (Bury St Edmunds All Through Trust) wins first place for an essay which combined reporting of scientific evidence of poor health, comparison of different types of schools systems from across the world in terms of their likely health effects and pragmatic suggestions for school-based health interventions.

Read Emily's essay

Second place goes to...

Matthew Taylor (President Kennedy School) wins second place for an essay which drew on the writer's interviews with other students and in particular drew attention to how pressures faced by students in schools might influence their health.

Read Matthew's essay

Third place goes to...

Patrick Dale (Finham Park School) wins third place for a more autobiographical essay critically reflecting on the writer's own experiences of education and how such experiences might impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of all students.

Read Patrick's essay

Honourable mentions go to the following shortlisted students

  • Aaron Saenz De Villaverde - Bury St Edmunds All Through Trust
  • Imogen Edmundson - Darrick Wood School
  • Pawanpreet Kaur Mangat - Featherstone High School
  • Grace Moongo - President Kennedy School
  • Eesha Pattar / Samuel Posner - Sandringham School
  • Riley Kane - The Ashley School Academy Trust
  • Ruby Bennett - Wade Deacon School

Essay writing nominees

The shortlisted essay writing competition students with their certificates at the 2018 WCSQM Awards Ceremony in December.

The winners of the 2018 essay writing competition, along with the Chair of the WCSQM Alumni Association, Elif Karanis

The winners of the 2018 essay writing competition, along with the Chair of the WCSQM Alumni Association, Elif Karanis, were invited to join Professor Bonell for a tour of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where they also enjoyed the unique opportunity of attending a lecture on disability by renowned professor Tom Shakespeare.

Essay competition 2018 finalists Connor Finnie, Riley Kane and Eoin McLaughlin

Miranda Perry, Director of WCSQM, was delighted to award students Conor, Riley and Eoin from The Ashley School in Lowestoft in person, for their outstanding essay writing submissions.

WCSQM would like to extend a warm thank you for St Albans Girls' School for helping to judge and run the 2018 essay writing competition.

If you are an accredited World Class School and would be interested in running the 2019 essay writing competition, please feel free to get in touch.

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