Principal’s Blog – “Round Square at Trinity Anglican School”
Date: November 26, 2019 Posted by: Glen Macpherson
An Overview of Round Square at Trinity Anglican School
Round Square is an association of some 200+ schools worldwide, which share a common ethos based on the IDEALS framework. Kurt Hahn, a German educator and founder of Round Square, believed that education, more than learning in a classroom, encompassed many aspects of one’s character and he encouraged his students to be more than they believed they were – “Plus est en vous – there’s more in you than you think”.
TAS became involved in Round Square in 2000 under the leadership of Fr Peter Laurance, with a view to becoming a full member of the organisation. A complete review of the school was undertaken and TAS became an associate (candidate) member until full involvement could be ratified at an international conference. TAS became a global member of Round Square in 2004.
Fr Laurance was of the belief that the Round Square ethos was both complementary and aligned to that of the Anglican ethos. Despite significant growth (in recent years around 10% annually) in the number of member schools worldwide, Round Square membership in Australia remains relatively small with global membership currently at 20. TAS is the only Round Square school in North or Far North Queensland.
Obligations of membership
Active membership of Round Square requires involvement in conferences and exchanges annually as well as participation in a number of fundraising and service activities. This is reported to Round Square via the Annual Affirmation. Schools are also encouraged to raise money for the Discovery Fund. The Discovery Fund (formally the Prince Alexander Fund) provides for the purchase of building materials for Big Build Service Projects and it makes available a number of scholarship opportunities for students in Round Square Schools who would otherwise be unable to attend such projects. Staff at Round Square Schools can get involved in Big Builds in a variety of roles from nurse to project coordinator and everything in between.
Round Square exchange
TAS students in years 10 to 12 take advantage of exchange opportunities within RS schools worldwide. Exchanges have occurred across the globe, including Markham College in Peru, Gordonstoun in Scotland, Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, L’Ermitage in France, Aiglon College in Switzerland, Fountain Valley School, Colorado, USA, CheongShim Academy South Korea, Penryn College South Africa, Cobham Hall in England and Appleby College, Lakefield College and Strathcona-Tweedsmuir College in Canada. These exchanges afford our students the opportunity to immerse themselves within the cultures of other schools sharing the Round Square philosophy. Students who participate in international exchanges pay a $200 contribution to TAS Round Square, which goes towards offsetting the costs associated with Round Square activities in the school. Other than the costs associated with travel and insurance, there are no other fees borne by the student and as such this becomes an amazingly affordable option for exchange to some of the most prestigious schools in the world.
Year 8 students participate in exchanges throughout our region (Australasian-East Asian). Whilst technically this means that they could travel to schools within New Zealand, Australia, throughout Asia and as far as Mongolia, to date students have chosen to travel within Australia for their exchange opportunities. No fee is collected from students undertaking a regional exchange. In 2019 two students attended Bunbury Cathedral Grammar, one student attended Scotch College in Perth and one student attend Ballarat Grammar.
Over the past three years, our Junior School students have enjoyed a reciprocal exchange with Radford College in Canberra. This occurs for our students at the conclusion of the Year 6 Canberra trip and is thus a very affordable opportunity as there are no additional airfares involved. This year three students were involved in an exchange to Radford.
Round Square Conferences
Round Square conferences have continued to grow in size as has the organisation itself. What began as a small group of like-minded schools has grown significantly since TAS first became involved. TAS students have travelled to many conferences both within our region and internationally and have learned much from these experiences. Many students have forged strong relationships with students worldwide and they continue to communicate via social media, some making plans to attend subsequent conferences together.
Conferences are divided into three distinct groups based on age: Young Round Square (10-12), Junior Regional conferences (13-15) and Senior Regional and International conferences. All students who attend Senior and International conferences must turn 16 in the school year of the conference. Age constraints help to ensure that all conference activities are age-appropriate and provide the best opportunity for delegates to meet like-minded students of a similar age and maturity level.
As of 2020, all Regional Conferences will become Global Conferences. Schools within a region that offers to host a conference will be given a six-week window to lodge expressions of interest before the opportunity is opened to the wider Round Square community.
TAS endeavours to involve students in as many of these conferences as possible. Junior School students in Years 5 – 6 are able to attend Young Round Square conferences and students in Years 7 – 9 can attend Junior Regional conferences. Potentially, this can mean travel to areas as far afield as Mongolia in the north, Thailand in the west, Japan in the east and New Zealand in the south of our region. Students in Years 10 – 12 can attend both regional and international conferences but as a rule, most choose to attend international conferences over regional offerings. Students are charged an additional fee of $200 for attendance at conferences at overseas venues.
Conferences in 2020
RSIC (Round Square international Conference) will be held in Australia in September and shared between Ballarat Grammar School, Ivanhoe Grammar School, and Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston. We have applied to attend the conference in Tasmania and we will offer a post conference tour in Cairns for visiting schools.
There is no Senior Regional Conference in 2020.
The 13-15 years conference will be held at CheongShim International Academy in South Korea in March. We are excited to be taking a delegation of 9 students. The cost of this conference is USD$850 for adults and USD$750 for students. A pre-conference tour will be arranged (cost unknown) and airfares are currently around $1500 per person return.
The 10-12 years conference is at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Thailand. Attendance at this conference is not anticipated.
The Round Square Student Committee is charged with raising funds for the Discovery Fund. Each year a sum of money is pledged and fund-raising activities are directed to this end in the first instance. The committee currently meets weekly and is chaired by the Round Square Captains and subject to parliamentary conventions. Meetings are minuted and attendance is encouraged from any interested individual in the Senior School. The Student Committee (in consultation with the Round Square Coordinator, the Director of International and the Deputy Principal) makes the decisions with respect to the types of events that will run and their timing.
Fundraising activities have taken a variety of forms: the ever-popular bake sale is always well supported and sees students and staff contributing baked goods that are sold during breaks. Curry days are exceptionally popular and generate significant income. In 2019 the Japan week food stall was highly successful and not only did students give great support with delicious donations of home cooked goodness, two of our Japanese parents came in and prepared and cooked yakisoba – a Japanese barbeque that was very well received. In general, our parents are keen to display their different cultures and cuisines. Over the past few years we have involved parents representative of the Indian, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Japanese, Papua New Guinean and Cook Islander communities in our school. The Bunnings Sausage Sizzle in 2018 raised approximately $2000, with funds dedicated to our service project with Rosie’s. The Round Square Committee also assisted with the barbeque on triathlon day this year and used the opportunity to run a bake sale. Preparation, service and sales at such events are coordinated by adults and run by students, with adult support.
The pledge for the Discovery Fund in 2019 was $750 and the very energetic Student Committee had raised the necessary funds by the end of term two. This enabled them to direct their energies to some new initiatives. One such initiative was linked to STEM week this year. The Solar Buddy project produces solar lights that are sent to communities without power, in places such as Papua New Guinea. The Round Square Committee agreed to put $500 toward the purchase of 50 solar light kits. Year 10 students assembled the kits during STEM week activities.
TAS is committed to attend Rosie’s – Friends on the Street one Thursday per month during term time. Students must be 16 years of age to attend as a volunteer and an induction is required. More students sign up for Rosie’s than we can accommodate in most months so year 12 students tend to be given preference. This has also been subject to involvement in RS Committee meetings. In order to encourage participation from younger students, sandwiches are prepared after school for each outreach. $60 to $70 is usually spent on groceries and the money comes out of the “Bunnings BBQ” account.
Round Square Service Projects are advertised to students each year. Currently these involve “Big Build” projects and “Environmental” projects and are open to students aged 16 years and over. Staff can also apply to accompany students or lead a project at their own cost. There is no cost to TAS for RS Service Projects.
The student committee has initiated several environmental service projects at TAS including collecting cans for refunds in the “Cans for a cause” program (funds split 50/50 with TAS); and collection of plastic bottle lids in partnership with Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise for Envision Hands – a project that makes bespoke prosthetic aids for children in need.
King Constantine Medal
Round Square schools are encouraged to award the King Constantine Medal to a deserving student each year. This award is presented to a student who has carried out unusual or outstanding service work and in doing so, promoted the ideals of the Round Square Organisation. The medal is provided to TAS without additional cost.