Round Square logo
|Type||International Organization of Member Schools|
|New schools inducted by election of member schools|
|Working language is English|
Round Square is a worldwide network of innovative schools in 40 countries across five continents. The Round Square approach guides students into becoming well-rounded, informed, responsible, principled and confident global citizens. The Round Square schools build and benefit from a mutually supportive network that shares resources, ideas, methods, experience, opportunities, locally, regionally and internationally.
The concept of Round Square was conceived in 1966 and owes much to the heritage of Kurt Hahn, who founded two of its original member schools, Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, with Prince Max of Baden, and Gordonstoun in Scotland. Both schools were founded on a commitment to equip youth for leadership and service in a democracy by helping them to prepare for life despite hardships, dangers, and challenges of the moment.
The idea, developed between Jocelin Winthrop-Young, a pupil of both schools and later the Headmaster of Anavryta school, the Markraf of Baden and His Majesty, was the creation of an international alliance of schools. Their binding principles would derive from Kurt Hahn‘s teachings, and whose students might be prepared to provide practical support to communities in need, as Salem’s pupils had done after the earthquake at Argostoli in the Ionian Islands in 1954. The association was later named after the Round Square building at Gordonstoun, where the first conference took place in 1967.
Round Square schools are characterised by a shared belief in an approach to education based on six pillars, or IDEALS, drawn from the theories of education philosopher Kurt Hahn:
- International understanding, empathy and tolerance for all cultures
- Democratic governance and justice
- Environmental stewardship
- Adventure, motivating self-discovery and courage
- Leadership, with courage and compassion
- Service to others
The common goal is to develop every student into a whole person through academic, physical, cultural and spiritual experiences. The RS method recognises that learning is most effective when it is experiential, cross-cultural and collaborative, and when it is infused through a broad spectrum of inter-, extra- and intra-curricula activities. 
Students have opportunities at various age levels to attend Round Square Conferences at national, regional and global levels. Participation in conferences helps to develop social skills and provides opportunities for broadening international experiences. Each conference has a theme based on the IDEALS of Round Square, and offer a combination of guest speakers, group discussions, cultural visits, community service and adventure activities.
Each Round Square school brings a delegation of up to six students to each International Conference, and each year they return with a vast set of new experiences and ideas that have a profoundly positive impact on their world outlook. In the past few years Conferences have been held in Thailand, South Africa, England and India.
Regional Conferences are held for both younger and older students. These are closer to home, but run in a similar, age appropriate format to International Conferences, giving students a chance to make new friends, broaden their minds and join activities celebrating the Round Square ethos.
All Round Square conferences are action-packed, vibrant, social and intellectual occasions which greatly enhance the ability of the young people who attend them to grasp a more complete world view – as well as a more complete view of themselves.
Every Round Square school encourages and expects students to take part in a range of community service activities both locally and internationally. Many projects are run through the school and further opportunities are available via the Round Square Region, Network and Worldwide Organisation.
Round Square service projects deliver dual benefits. They meet very real and urgent needs in communities in some of the poorest parts of the world whilst also enabling Round Square students to develop a sense of responsibility and leadership skills through learning how to be of service to others.
A key feature of the Round Square experience is the exchanges of students and academic staff between member schools. Teacher exchanges may last for one academic year, and student exchanges vary but are usually one or two terms or semesters in duration. Each individual Round Square School sets its own terms and conditions for exchange and provides its own requirements, information and advice. Round Square schools wishing to arrange an exchange can find a partner by logging in and using the exchange online tools.