The RCS has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth. We endeavour to promote literacy, expression and creativity by celebrating excellence and imagination. Run by the RCS since 1883, this international schools’ writing contest is a highly regarded and popular international education project.
In 2015, the contest was renamed ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition’, in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s role as both Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of The Royal Commonwealth Society.
Born between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2006 (14-18 years of age)
- Imagine you are President of one of the Commonwealth’s 31 Small States and you have been invited to give a speech on Climate Change to other Commonwealth leaders, what will you say
- There is no Planet B: How will Climate Change affect you and your community?
- ‘We will never stop fighting for this planet’ – Greta Thunberg. How can young people make change happen?
- The destruction of the Oceans everyone’s concern.
Born on or after 1 July 2006 (under 14 years of age)
- Imagine you are Planet Earth, what would you say to Humans?
- A Blue Commonwealth: it is not too late to save our oceans. True or False?
- In 2019, students in more than 100 countries walked out of school to protest climate change. How can young people get their voices heard and make a difference?
- My planet, my place.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020 is open to all citizens and residents of the Commonwealth aged 18 and under.
All entrants to the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020 will receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a week of educational and cultural events.
30 June 2020
Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:
- The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories, as well as residents of the Maldives and Zimbabwe. Residents of non-Commonwealth countries whose entries are submitted through their local RCS branch are also eligible.
- Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 30th June 2020. Senior entrants must be born between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2006 (14-18 years) and Junior entrants must be born after 1 July 2006 (under 14 years of age).
- The maximum word counts are 1,500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries. These word limits apply to all topics and all formats (essay, poem, letter, etc). Exceeding the word count will result in an automatic disqualification. References and footnotes are not included in the word count.
- Entries must be written in English.
- Only one entry per participant is allowed. Please carefully check and improve your writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, contact details, topic number, etc.)
- Plagiarism is not accepted in the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020. Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism. Please see our guide to plagiarism before submitting it.
- Final documents should not include the entrant’s personal details including name, age, school or country. This information should be inputted to the system upon entry.
- The final copy submitted for the competition must be the entrant’s own work, and cannot be excessively corrected or improved by another person. This does not rule out input or assistance from others but does exclude group entries.
- Essays can only be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or in PDF format (.pdf). The online platform does not accept Google Docs (.gdoc), Pages documents (.pages) or other word processor formats. Note: if we are unable to find or open your essay file (either through an incorrect format or upload error), your entry may not be counted in the competition.
- All entries must be written on and relevant to one of the supplied topics in the relevant age category.
- All online entries must be submitted before 5 pm (GMT) on 30th June 2020; any offline entries must arrive at the RCS offices in London by 30th May 2020 or they will not be counted.
- All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or pieces or parts thereof in any advertisements, educational materials, corpus research or media and publicity carried out or produced by the Royal Commonwealth Society and its local branches without further notice or compensation. The Royal Commonwealth Society can publish or decline to publish; use or decline to use, any submitted pieces at the Royal Commonwealth Society’s sole discretion.
- The RCS retains the right to change the prize of the competition if circumstances make this necessary.
- The RCS will only be able to publish on our website and in our literature content that is appropriate for a wide and diverse audience, in line with our own policies. Entrants are encouraged to consider this in relation to their use of language when entering the competition.
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