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 school’s trophy cupboard!
  • Names of the shortlisted nominees and the winner / winning essays are published on the WCSQM website.

“The impact on Ruby Bennett’s confidence in English has been massive since her shortlisting last year so it was all incredibly worthwhile. Hopefully we can go one better this year.” Howard Mealey, Wade Deacon High School, Widnes.

The 2020 essay writing competition

This year’s competition will be judged by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Professor Blakemore leads the university’s Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group, where research focuses on the development of social cognition and decision making in the human adolescent brain, and adolescent mental health. Her most recent publication is Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain.


The award

There will be one winner and honourable mentions, who will receive the WCSQM Essay Competition Award and commemorations at our Awards Ceremony in December 2020 from Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore herself,  details to be announced. Winning essays will be published on the WCSQM website, with winning students and schools named in press releases. 

The challenge

Sarah-Jayne’s essay question is:

“School classrooms look the same across history and across countries. But is the classroom the best way to educate future generations in the 21st century?

What would the ideal education system look like?”

Deadline for submissions

16th October 2020

For more information on how to enter and terms and conditions download the essay writing competition guide.

The 2019 winners and honourable mentions

“We have thoroughly enjoyed the judging process and were impressed with the high standard of entries – it was difficult to decide on a top 10! We believe the shortlisted essays offer a diverse, original selection of interpretations and are all written to an excellent standard.” Daisy Kemp and Alice Medorth, Teachers of English at Tolworth Girls’ School

The Joint essay competition winners are…

Agnes Sykes-Whateley, King Ecgbert School

Read Agnes’ essay

Eedie Baker-Thompson, Forest Gate Community School

Read Eedie’s essay

Emily Rimmer, Tolworth Girls’ School

Read Emily’s essay

Special commendations were awarded to:

  • Radha Castellino, Alexandra Park School
  • Neo Lao, Seven Kings School
  • Daniel Sioson, St Mary’s College
  • Tegan Dean, The Morley Academy

Honourable mentions go to the following shortlisted students

  • Ramla Mohamed, Berkeley Academy Primary School
  • Michael Murrell, Churchill Special Free School
  • Lucie Tomlinson, Cardinal Hume Catholic School
  • Maria Soriano, Europa International School
  • Tarek Otri, Finham Park School
  • Lora Stamatova, St Mary’s College
  • Mia Stamatova, St Mary’s College
  • Ananya Sinhar, Tolworth Girls’ School
  • Maja Khela, Tolworth Girls’ School
The 2019 shortlisted and winning essay writing competition students.

The 2019 shortlisted and winning essay writing competition students.

All students submitting an essay into this year's competition were invited to join Phil Knox for a workshop
All students submitting an essay into the 2019 competition were invited to join Phil Knox for a workshop

All students submitting an essay into the 2019 competition were invited to join Phil Knox for a workshop focusing on this year’s essay question ‘Does Breaking the Rules Change the World?’ held at Lady Mitchell Hall prior to the awards ceremony.

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