Upper Sixth Former, Harry Ward, was shocked but delighted to receive a letter from Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, to say that he had won one of the top prizes in their Staton Essay Competition. His essay entitled: Is violence ever justified in the pursuit of empowerment? was one of hundreds of wide-ranging and ambitious essays entered into this prestigious academic competition, this year on the theme of ‘Empowerment’.

Harry, who was one of two other top prize winners, was invited to a formal awards dinner at Regent’s Park College to receive his certificate. He took his mother and grandma. 

Harry was one of three Bedford School pupils to be recognised for their essays. Head of School, Will Barnes, received a Commendation for his essay of the same title, and Rahul Sheemar also received a Commendation for his essay entitled: How important are the use and validation of native languages in processes of empowerment?

The Staton Essay Prize is a great interdisciplinary competition for Humanities students, ideally suited to our RE A-Level and IB Philosophy cohort. Most of our boys combine Philosophy and RE with their interests and/or studies in Politics, History, Geography and English to produce detailed essays.

Mr Matthew Bolton, Head of Religious Education and Philosophy, encouraged the boys to enter the competition for the rationale given by Regent’s Park College:

“The aim of the competition is to give school pupils the opportunity to explore connections between the subjects they study or are interested in, to develop their independent research skills, and to encourage them to consider interdisciplinary courses at university.”

The work was set towards the end of the summer term. In lessons, the boys were introduced to the competition and its rules and regulations, before independently writing their essays.

Harry is currently studying for the IB, with Philosophy, Spanish and Chemistry at Higher Level, and English, Maths and Economics at Standard Level. He is keeping his options open for his future career, but has already applied to read PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at Oxford University.

If you would like to see what conclusion Harry came to in his essay, you can read it here: Is violence ever justified in the pursuit of empowerment?

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