ACS International School Hillingdon has become the first European school to offer the Global Citizen Diploma (GCD).
As the name suggests, the qualification is less an academic endeavour, more an encouragement for students to work towards the betterment of the world around them.
“The various elements of the GCD encourages students to move outside of their comfort zones and foster a sense of self-awareness and self-directedness in relation to their experiences locally and globally,” reads the initiative’s mission statement.
ACS Hillingdon is the sixth school to join the GCD consortium, established at Japan’s Yokohama International School in 2011 and today based at Hong Kong Academy in China.
“I’m thrilled that we’ve found such an effective and thoughtfully structured way of supporting and reinforcing our school’s values, especially given that the values of the GCD so precisely match our own,’ said ACS Hillingdon head, Martin Hall.
“We want every student to be an effective learner, a confident individual and a caring contributor. Above all this, through learning, we want all to make a difference.”
We want every student to be an effective learner, a confident individual and a caring contributor – Martin Hall, ACS Hillingdon
Following a pilot programme involving a handful of pupils, all grade nine and 10 students can now take the GCD to ‘demonstrate their skills, personality, and values beyond their academic grades’. The qualification comprises 16 key elements, including community engagement, global understanding, intercultural communication, wilderness engagement, work experience, artistic expression and leadership.
Pupils at ACS Hillingdon use an app designed by the school’s digital learning coordinator, Alex Reid, to upload a written description – or video, photo collage, sound recording, etc. – of the activities undertaken to demonstrate that they have finished and reflected upon any given element.
Weekly personal development programme lessons have been initiated to help students cultivate the skills required to complete the qualification.
“I see this diploma as an excellent way of recognising our students’ broader learning, of deepening their understanding about what it means to be a citizen of this world, and of motivating them to learn more, reflecting on their experiences and using that learning for the benefit of others, as well as themselves,” added Hall.
“I believe that the introduction of the GCD at ACS Hillingdon is potentially quite transformative for our school and I’m truly excited to see the impact it is already starting to have on our students.”