2010-11 National Schools Essay Competition and Debate

How on Earth Can We Save the Rainforests?

 Aerial Photo

In celebration of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity and the 2011 International Year of Forests, The Living Rainforest is pleased to announce a National Schools Essay Competition and Debate on the topic, ‘How on Earth Can We Save the Rainforests?’

The competition and debate are aimed at primary and secondary students and their teachers (Key Stages 2, 3 and 4, whether in formal or home schools). The winning students/schools will be invited to participate in a National Schools Debate at The Living Rainforest on 16-17 March 2011, featuring a distinguished panel of judges and participants.

Essay Competition

Students are invited to write an essay on the topic ‘How on Earth can we save the rainforests?’ A distinguished panel of judges, drawn from experts and educationalists in the field, will select three winning entries for each Key Stage (2,3 and 4). The submission deadline is 15th January 2011. The winning entries will be announced at the National Schools Debate on 16-17 March 2011 and published on the competition website. Essays will be judged for innovative and creative thinking and the potential to contribute to a broad-ranging and constructive debate. The maximum essay length will vary by Key Stage (KS) as follows:  KS2, max. 400 wordsKS3, max. 600 words, and  KS4, max. 750 words. For each Key Stage, schools will be invited to submit up to 30 essays online. Based on the essays submitted, fifteen winning primary schools and fifteen winning secondary schools will be invited to participate in the Schools Debate in March 2011.


Schools Debate

The winning students and schools will be invited to participate in a national Schools Debate at The Living Rainforest on 16-17 March 2011, represented by two students, plus one teacher champion, for each Key Stage (KS). The debates for primary and secondary students will occur on different days (primary – 16 March 2011; secondary – 17 March 2011). Primary teams will consist of two KS2 student essay writers, assisted by one teacher champion. Secondary teams will consist of two KS3 student essay writers (plus a teacher champion) and two KS4 student essay writers (plus a teacher champion).

Key Competition Dates

8 November 2010 – School/teacher registration begins

15 January 2011 – Closing date for submitting competition essays

31 January 2011 – Judging ends

16 March 2011 – Primary students’ prize-giving and debate (see the provisional programme)

17 March 2011 – Secondary students’ prize-giving and debate (see the provisional programme)

Resources for Schools

To assist teachers and students in preparing for the competition and debate, a range of resources will be made available here in the months leading up to the events.


The essay competition and debate will form the basis of a special research study by the School of Geography at the Oxford University Centre for the Environment (OUCE), under the supervision of Dr. Paul Jepson. All essay submissions (except for those preferring to opt out) will be sent a follow-up questionnaire, aimed at better understanding how teachers and pupils build knowledge about rainforests and conservation.

Enquiries & Updates

Download the 2010-2011 poster (A5, pdf, 5.28MB)

Email queries should be directed to: schools[AT]livingrainforest.org

The above events are being organised by The Living Rainforest in association with the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests and the Oxford International Education Bureau.

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