The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020

Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020 – The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest schools’ international writing competition, managed by The Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. Every year, it offers all Commonwealth youth aged 18 and under the opportunity to express their hopes for the future, opinions of the present, and thoughts on the past, through the written word. The competition is used by individuals and teachers to build confidence, develop writing skills, support creativity and encourage critical thinking, using literacy to empower young people to become global citizens.

Building upon the 2019 theme of A Connected Commonwealth, this year’s topics draw on the increasing youth movement across the Commonwealth and the ongoing climate crisis. Young people are called upon to consider their position and power in bringing about change, and how the Commonwealth can be used as a tool for positive action. The Final Panel of expert judges described entries to the competition in 2019 as ‘massively memorable’, ‘original’ and ‘very powerful’. The RCS expects a similarly high calibre of writing for 2020.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020 Topics Categories.

Senior Category: Born between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 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.

Junior Category: Born on or after July 1, 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 Eligibility.

  • The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories, as well as residents of The Gambia, 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 2002 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 automatic disqualification.
  • Entries must be written in English.
  • Only one entry per participant is allowed. Once an essay is submitted, students/teachers will nothave the opportunity to revise it. 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.)

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020 Benefits.

  • All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation
  • 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.

How to Enter The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020.

Wait! Have you: 

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of the above, then you are ready to compose your entry to The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.

Once you’ve submitted your piece, your personal online dashboard will confirm that you have entered. This is also where you can download your certificate from when the results are announced in September 2020.

Offline Submission Procedure:

Offline submissions are very difficult to process and can mean that your entry arrives after the Competition closing date. We will only accept an offline entry where the person submitting has no access to internet and is unable to submit online. 

As the RCS has developed a new user-friendly, online platform we do not anticipate many entrants needing to submit offline. Please try to submit online before sending your entry via post and contact competitions@thercs.org if you are experiencing difficulties. 

If you are submitting your entry by post, please complete an entry form in block capitals and attach it to the front of your essay. Entries should be sent to your nearest postal hub, details of which are listed below.

Please note that for postal entries, your essay must be received by 30 May 2020 in order to be eligible. We therefore suggest that you send your essay with plenty of time for delivery, as essays received by a postal hub after 30 May will not be considered in the competition. 

Europe
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
The Royal Commonwealth Society
Commonwealth House
55-58 Pall Mall
London 
SW1Y 5JH
UK 

Africa
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
British High Commission 
Julius Nyerere Links 
PO Box 296
Accra
Ghana 

Americas and the Caribbean 
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
The Royal Commonwealth Society 
P.O. Box 878
Bridgetown
Barbados

Asia
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
Education Department
British Council
30 Napier Road
Singapore 258509

Pacific
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
PO Box 10-741
Wellington 6143
New Zealand

Please ensure your envelope is clearly labelled with ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition’.

All individuals and schools are encouraged to enter online if possible, however please note that no entry will be accepted by email.

Terms and Conditions

Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:

  1. The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territoriesas 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.
  2. Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 30th June 2020. Senior entrants must be born between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2006 (14-18 years) and Junior entrants must be born after 1 July 2006 (under 14 years of age).
  3. 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 automatic disqualification. References and foot notes are not included in the word count.
  4. Entries must be written in English.
  5. 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.)
  6. Plagiarism is not accepted in the competition. Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism. Please see our guide to plagiarism before submitting.  
  7. Final documents should not include the entrants personal details including name, age, school or country. This information should be inputted to the system upon entry. 
  8. 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.
  9. By entering the competition, you agree that your personal details including full name, gender, email, school and essay may be sent to your local RCS branch and any Essay Competition partners. See Clause 4.1.6 of the RCS’ Privacy Policy for more information. Please note: Winners and Runners-up of the pan-Commonwealth competition will have their full names, schools, essays and photographs displayed on the RCS website and social media channels.
  10. 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.
  11. All entries must be written on and relevant to one of the supplied topics in the relevant age category. 
  12. All online entries must be submitted before 5pm (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. 
  13. All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, 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.
  14. The RCS retains the right to change the prize of the competition if circumstances make this necessary.
  15. 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.

Important Reminder

All certificates are generated online and the RCS does not send any certificates in the post. You will be able to view your submission and certificate on your online dashboard, visible when you log in. Certificates will only be available to download once judging is complete in September 2020.

Having trouble submitting your essay? Contact competitions@thercs.org

 Issued: November 2019

Frequently Asked Questions – Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020

Before contacting us with your query, please check the list below:

How do I submit my essay online?

The Royal Commonwealth Society has created  a new online platform that is much easier to use and accessible on all devices Visit https://essay.thercs.org to submit your piece! Please note: we do not accept essays sent by email.

How can i download my certificate?

For those who entered the Competition between 2014 – 2018, visit the online platform and enter your unique reference number in the box underneath ‘Download a certificate’. Your unique reference number was provided to you in an email when you registered. If you do not know your reference number, please contact competitions@thercs.org 

If you entered the Competition in 2019, certificates will be available for download from your dashboard or by inputting the unique reference code sent to you by email. 

How do I know my entry was successfully submitted?

You can login to check details of your submission. This is where you will also be able to see the status of your entry. If you are encountering difficulties, please email competitions@thercs.org.

Where can I find the topics for the 2020 competition?

Topics for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020 can be read online or downloaded.

Can I write on more than one topic?

No, students may only submit one essay each, which means that you have to choose one of the four topics in your relevant category. 

Is there a word limit for the essays?

Yes, different word count rules apply to Junior and Senior categories. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more details.

Should I put my name, age, school, country, and topic number on my essay?

Please do not put your name, age and school on your entry – just your topic number, title, essay and word count. Remember, presentation is important!  

What is my reference number and what is it for?

For all Competitions before 2019, entrants received an automated reference number when they uploaded. This is the individualreference number, which you will need to download your participation or award certificate. 

If you submit your entry by post, your reference number will be your first initial, last initial and date of birth in the following form: 9_DDMMYYYY. For example, if your name is John Smith and you are born on 4 March 2004, your reference number would be 9_JS04032004. You will be asked to write this on your postal entry form, and are requested to keep this safe as you will need it to download your participation or award certificate. If you have any questions, please contact competitions@thercs.org

Are there prizes for the winners?

Prizes have traditionally been awarded only to the first prize winners in the Senior and Junior categories and also vary year by year. This means we are not able to confirm what the prizes will be until after the winners are announced in September 2020. Past prizes have included certificates, resources for winner’s school, visits to Cambridge University, a trip to London and a week of activities, work experience at international organisations, and having your entry featured in worldwide media. RCS regional and branch offices often hold ceremonies or offer prizes. Please contact your nearest RCS branch after the competition closes on 30 June 2020, to inquire about any activities planned. 

What if I’m too old to participate in the competition? 

If you’re over 18 by the deadline, you’ll still be eligible to compete for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 

Winning categories 

Junior Awards Categories (Under 14s)Senior Awards Categories (Ages 14–18)  
Junior Prize WinnerSenior Prize Winner
Junior Runner UpSenior Runner Up
Gold AwardsGold Awards
Silver AwardsSilver Awards
Bronze AwardsBronze Awards


Guidance Notes

  1. Participants are expected to show originality and flair, linked to sound academic standards and competent use of English as a written language. This includes a good standard of spelling and punctuation, neat presentation and clear hand-writing or word-processing.
  2. Entries must respond to the topic. Each year a number of good entrants must be disregarded because they do not fully answer/reflect on what the topic has asked them to do.
  3. Entrants are encouraged to be creative in their response to a topic. Entries can be submitted in a number of different formats: for example, a poem, letter, article, story, essay or a short play/script.
  4. Illustrations are welcomed, particularly in Junior entries, but they must enhance the written text and add to the overall quality of the entry.

Tips from the Judges

The following guidelines provide some useful insights from previous judges who have had experience recognising what makes a good piece of writing, and may help you get started on your submission:

  1. Choose to answer one of the topics, and you are encouraged to interpret this in any way you wish.
  2. Think carefully about the form of writing you use to answer the topic. There are a variety of forms and styles to play with.
  3. Make sure to use your own voice and your own words. Judges are very good at spotting work that is not original. For more information about plagiarism, please download our What is Plagiarism? guide.
  4. We understand that English is a diverse language and there are different and innovative ways of using it around the Commonwealth. We encourage diversity and creativity of language in submissions.
  5. Ensure you take with grammar and punctuation throughout writing your piece. Do not submit an entry without proof-reading.
  6. Presentation is important: think about the visual appearance of the entry as well as the quality of the content.

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