We are proud to be a Round Square school, and when we joined, we were the first all-girls school to be invited to become a part of this global network.
Round Square schools share the philosophy that education is more than just textbook learning. It is about personal development, global understanding, and the importance of compassion. It is a belief that education encompasses the creation of crucial life skills and the confidence to put them to use; the understanding of both the world and our own place within it; and that we can use our skills and talents to work with and support others.
Round Square provides a framework, known as the IDEALS (Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service), to help develop these ideas and encourage thought and practice beyond the school gates. Being a member of Round Square opens our doors to greater opportunities for our girls, be that through exchanges, conferences or ‘Big Build’ service projects.
How does Cobham Hall live the IDEALS?
The IDEALS stand for Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service. At Cobham Hall, these are borne out in day-to-day life.
Demonstrated through the international make-up of our student body, but also in Boarding, where celebrating National Holidays through cooking and sharing traditional dishes in the Boarding Houses is commonplace. Model United Nations and our Humanities Forums often debate global issues and put themselves in the shoes of those in other countries to understand differing viewpoints and cultures. World at Lunch sees the school proportionally representing the world to understand that things we take for granted are not readily available to others. Girls are encouraged to take part in exchanges, conferences and service projects to boost their awareness of the world around them.
In addition to understanding democracy in lessons, girls at Cobham Hall get to live it, with our Guardian Convention, where the whole school community – from Headmistress to youngest Year 7 to newest member of support staff – all get to vote on the new Student Leadership Team.
Cobham Hall’s Boarding Houses bear 172 photovoltaic cells on the rooves. Through our efforts to make the School more environmentally friendly we have achieved the Eco-Schools’ Bronze and Silver Awards. The School is also investigating some large-scale environmental initiatives – we are currently considering biomass energy generation as a major source of heating. The Carson Club, named for environmentalist Rachel Carson, is an extra-curricular club dedicated to encouraging behavioural changes to support and increase awareness of environmental issues, as well as helping with initiatives in the local community.
There’s more to adventure than high-wire adrenaline filled escapades! At its core, ‘Adventure’ is all about pushing oneself beyond our comfort zone, and at Cobham Hall we encourage this from day one. Adventure is one of the best ways girls can break down the preconceptions of themselves and their abilities which are often the most significant barriers to accomplishment and growth – not to mention the sense of wonder at themselves and the enormous confidence boost when they succeed. Adventure, and the teamwork it often requires, can also break down barriers between people.
At Cobham Hall we encourage student leadership at every age. Each Tutor Group has a group leader, and a Round Square representative. Throughout the School, girls can put themselves forward for training to become Wellbeing or Antibullying Ambassadors. In Sixth Form, girls can stand for the Student Leadership Team. Boarders also have student Heads of House. Wherever possible, we involve students in leading activities – from classroom tasks to sports teams and school-wide events, and leading extra-curricular clubs, such as our Staff and Sixth Form Book Club.
From those who become Ambassadors to support and mentor their peers, to Sixth Form pupils who undertake a range of service activities in the community, Service is embedded in Cobham Life. Service is critical to developing empathy, humility, understanding and a drive to help others. At Cobham Hall, girls are encouraged to realise that service can take many forms, from helping those who are less fortunate, to supporting a friend.