A Brief History of Round Square
At the centre of Round Square is the educational philosophy of Kurt Hahn and the importance of the organisation as a network; the idea that much more can be achieved together is fundamental to the success of Round Square.

The beginnings of today’s Round Square organisation can be traced as far back as 1920, when educationalist Kurt Hahn opened his first school, Schule Shloss Salem in Germany, based on his philosophies of experiential education.

In 1934 Hahn started another school, Gordonstoun in Scotland, where he continued to implement his unique, forward thinking form of education which embraced the idea of learning through challenge, service and adventure. Box Hill Schools founding headmaster Roy McComish was appointed a Housemaster by Hahn at Gordonstoun and he became deeply influenced by the practical application of Hahn’s principles.

It was just as his time as Headmaster of Gordonstoun drew to a close in 1953, that events transpired which led to the creation of Round Square as we know it today following a massive earthquake on the Ionian Islands off the coast of Greece a working party was formed from a group of schools with links to Hahn which came together to  help rebuild destroyed infrastructure. Roy McComish was part of this working party and he received an award from Prince George of Hanover for leading 100 volunteer pupils.

In 1959 Roy discovered that a small school in Mickleham, Surrey was for sale. He contacted a number of friends and between then they bought the main school house, Dalewood, and the little school of 17 pupils called Box Hill School was founded. From the very beginning the Round Square principles (IDEALS) were central to the ethos and educational life of the school.

The decision to hold a conference between the original schools was reached during a 20 minute meeting between six Headmasters (including Roy McComish) at Salem on Hahn’s 80th birthday in 1966. Roy’s drawing room at Box Hill School became the headquarters and as a talented artist Roy, designed the Round Square logo and then pioneered all the main undertakings and expeditions to India, Africa and the Middle East. He was joined in these endeavours by the respected educationalist Jocelyn Winthrop-Young who was to become a long standing governor at Box Hill School and after whom our new Sixth Form block is named. The first ‘open’ meeting held by Round Square in 1968 was held at Box Hill School where ‘co-education’ was the chief topic of discussion.

Box Hill School students have a long history of participating in service projects and most recently have been carrying out Round Square Service Projects in South Africa.

To this day Round Square maintains and facilitates a worldwide network of 150 schools in 40 countries. Every year more than 25,000 students take part in a community service project; Together Round Square schools organize in excess of 1,700 service projects; more than 7,000 Round Square school students attend a conference; and 1,500 students go on an exchange to another school.

Please click to see more photos.

Please click to read about the first Round Square Conference at Box Hill School
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