This is an international conference of schools sharing a number of ideals and attitudes, and having a common way of education as being vitally concerned with the development of the whole person. Representatives of six schools whose philosophy and ideals were inspired by late Dr Kurt Hahn, the founder of the Salem (Germany) and Gordonstoun (Scotland) schools, met in Salem in 1966, and under the chairmanship of His Majesty King Constantine of Greece, decided to start the conference. The second meeting took place at Gordonstoun in a building called Round Square and the conference was named thus. In Scotland the administrative centre of an estate is often called the square, and the square at Gordonstoun is a beautiful and unique circular stone building constructed in the 17th century and the name is derived from it.
The conference, which a different school hosts each year to mixed delegations of heads, staff, pupils and governors, provides an annual forum for the exchange of experiences and views, and for the initiation and development of service projects.
Its Governing Council comprises His Majesty King Constantine of Greece (Chairman), H.R.H. The Duke of Yorks, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa, and Mr. R. Kevan Gosper.
Its mission is "Round Square is a worldwide association of schools which share a commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility through service, challenge, adventure and international understanding".
Criteria for membership:
Principles: It should espouse and practise genuinely the fundamentals which include the full and individual development of every pupil into a whole person, that is the simultaneous realisation of the aspirations - academic, physical, cultural and spiritual - of members of the community.
Service: In striving to achieve balance between self-improvement and selfsacrifice in the interests of others, schools should develop in their pupils qualities of skill and care. They should educate their pupils in the concept and practice of service to those in need in their local communities and in projects further a field. Much of this will be achieved internally through example and the experience of the spiritual dimension which should exist in the school. At the same time all pupils, for a period of at least two years during their school career, should be involved in service to the wider community and 21 those in need beyond the school. The school should also demonstrate an active concern for the natural environment, appreciating proven environmental problems and play a part in tackling them.
Challenge: The school is committed to train its pupils in the appreciation of physical health and moral fortitude through the challenge and adventure of outdoor pursuits. In this context graded 'outward bound' type activities should be central to the curriculum and the fostering of a spirit of adventure in all pupils an important aspiration.
Responsibility: Education in the value of - and active participation in - democracy is essential. Pupils, particularly appreciating the importance of self-discipline, should be trained and obliged, through partnership with adults in the school community, to take an active share in the running of the school. A high level of responsibility will be devolved upon them, both individually and collectively. Freedom of thought and speech should be encouraged, with appropriate forms and channels of communications existing to satisfy their aspirations.
Global Perspective: The school should be as comprehensive as possible in the composition of its student body and, in particular, it should aim to be international and welcome pupils of all nationalities, although circumstances may dictate that this is possible only on an exchange or short term basis. Pupils should learn to appreciate and value cultures, religions and languages other than their own and see themselves as genuinely international citizens.
Commitment: It is not for schools to be nominal or institutional members of the Round Square. All members of member schools - governors, staff, pupils - should embrace the philosophy and the values of the movement. Member schools should be prepared to submit them- selves to periodic appraisal to ensure continued membership.
Specific expectations: Furthermore, schools of the Round Square should play a full part in the responsibilities and activities of the Round Square. These, inter alia, include participation in conferences (regular and occasional), international service projects, pupil and teacher exchanges and raising funds for RS activities. There is an expectation to be involved in the organization of some of these activities, including the staging of conferences. Membership of the Round Square involves an enriching of the Round Square’s corporate vision and influences.
RS works on IDEALS which is :
- International understanding - through projects and exchanges
- Democracy - empowering students to take real responsibility
- Environment - making students aware of the world around them
- Adventure - true experiential education
- Leadership - taking stands on difficult issues
- Service - at home, at school and to the world