Sixth Form Students Commended in Essay Prize

September 26, 2023

Year 13 students Katie and Janani were awarded commendations for their submissions to the John Locke Institute 2023 Global Essay Prize.

The essay competition invites students to explore a wide range of challenging and interesting questions in the fields of Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology and Law. A panel of senior academics, drawn from leading universities including Oxford and Princeton, evaluate entries on knowledge and understanding of the relevant material, the competent use of evidence, quality of argumentation, originality, structure, writing style and persuasive force.

In answering the questions ‘How much richer or poorer are the British today than they would have been without the effects of British colonialism?’ (Katie) and ‘Would justice be better served in the United States if more Supreme Court judges were women?’ (Janani), Katie and Janani proved their skill in crafting insightful and thought-provoking essays.

They attended an invitation-only academic conference at the University of Oxford for shortlisted candidates where they had the opportunity to engage in lectures delivered by experts relating to the essay subject areas. The competition, open to entries from across the world, meant the two Withington students were amongst an international cohort of like-minded individuals.

On their experience of the academic conference, they said: “Meeting people from around the world was exciting and we enjoyed engaging in discussion and debate with them. The discussions presented us with interesting angles and opinions regarding the essay topics. The lectures were a fascinating experience that provided us with the opportunity to make friends from all over the world.”

It was at an awards ceremony, held at the renowned Sheldonian Theatre that evening, that Katie and Janani were awarded a commendation in the categories of History and Law respectively. Following this, a gala reception was held at the Ashmolean Museum where all the candidates were able to speak to the directors of the institute and the examination panel for the competition.

Janani attended the evening celebrations and commented: “I had insightful conversations with the professors who had reviewed our essays and came back with many tips to improve my academic writing. This was a wonderful experience, and I am grateful to have met such eminent professors and many fellow students from around the world.”

Ms Elizabeth Robinson, Director of Sixth Form, said: “We are immensely proud of Katie and Janani for their deserved recognition by the John Locke Institute. They have successfully showcased independence of mind and great skill in persuasive writing. Their success in this prestigious essay competition exemplifies the dedication to continuous learning and intellectual curiosity which we cultivate at Withington.”