Round Square


St Mary’s, Colchester is a global member of the Round Square Organisation, a worldwide network of over 200 top schools in more than 50 countries across six continents, which offers the school a unique framework for the development of the ‘character education’ of our students, as well as opportunities to collaborate and share experiences with like-minded peers and establishments across the globe.

Membership was granted to St Mary’s in June 2017 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.

Kurt Hahn was Prince Philip’s Headmaster at Gordonstoun School in Scotland, and his educational ideas about ‘character education’ were also instrumental in the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Hahn believed that: “There is more in us than we know if we could be made to see it; perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.”

Every year a selected group of students have the privilege of representing St Mary’s at the Round Square International Conference, where they work with students from across the global Round Square community, as well as listening to inspiring keynote speakers, and take part in adventure and service activities. This year the RSIC took place at Oxford University, where our students stayed in Balliol College and then took part in environmental initiatives in Pembrokeshire. The Round Square International Conference in October 2023 is due to be held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Students in Year 10 and 11 have the opportunity to become a member of the St Mary’s Round Square Committee and lead Round Square activities at St Mary’s. This year the committee is looking to build on the theme of this year’s RSIC of ‘take less and be more’ by developing the links between our school and the local community. They are exploring ways of developing a mutually beneficial relationship with local old people’s homes, where our students and the elderly community can learn from each other’s skills and experiences.


See below a short animated film that gives an introduction to Round Square.

The Round Square ethos is very much in line with that of St Mary’s. At our school, the emphasis is on encouraging pupils to be happy and to make the most of all the opportunities school life brings. When they feel secure and supported, students do their best academically while developing as individuals, building confidence and discovering talents and interests that bring them fulfilment throughout life.

We are a British Council INTERNATIONAL School; we have a thriving and DEMOCRATIC School Council; we are an Ambassador ECO School; We promote ADVENTURE through a programme of visits and trips and regular Forest School sessions; student LEADERSHIP is embedded; we make a difference through SERVICE by charitable fundraising and community involvement, which is part of our ethos.

For more information about Round Square please visit:

Round Square Website

Our Locations

St Mary's Colchester
Two St Mary's Lower School pupils sitting in a Library holding books and laughing
Additional places now available

Due to increasing demand at St Mary’s, additional places are now available from September.


Enquire today to find out more: