For 130 years, the Commonwealth Essay Competition has inspired thousands of young writers from all over the world. Run by the RCS, this international schools’ writing contest – the world’s oldest and largest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project. In 2013, over 11,000 young people from 55 Commonwealth countries and territories took part.  

Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and under, the Essay Competition offers young people the opportunity to make their voice heard on a global platform and engage with issues important to them. Every year, judges are impressed with the extremely high standard of entry as participants compete with their peers from every corner of the Commonwealth. For many bright and ambitious students, this is the ultimate competition!

This year’s theme is ‘Team Commonwealth’. As athletes gather in Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, team spirit will be on display both within and between nations. Young writers are encouraged to explore this theme in fun, academic, witty, and most of all creative ways!


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 territories. Note: Special dispensation applies to entrants from Hong Kong, Fiji and Zimbabwe who are entitled to enter the Competition.
  2. Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 1st May 2014. Students of any age can select the Bonus topic, but this must be in place of a Senior or Junior topic.
  3. Only one essay per entrant is allowed (once an essay is submitted, students/teachers will not have the opportunity to revise it)
  4. Entries must be written in English and be the original work of the writer.
  5. Entrants must submit an entry form alongside their essay and complete all the mandatory fields.
  6. The maximum word-counts are 1500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries. Exceeding the word-count will result in automatic disqualification.
  7. Essays can only be uploaded in either word doc. or pdf format.
  8. All entries must be submitted before midnight on 1st May 2014. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Guidance Notes

  1. Entries must be the original work of the writer. This does not rule out input or assistance from others. However an entry will be disregarded if there is any suggestion of plagiarism or undue help from the internet or another person.
  2. 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 even a short play.
  3. 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.
  4. Award-winning entrants 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.
  5. Illustrations are welcomed, particularly in Junior entries, but they must enhance the written text and add to the overall quality of the entry.
  6. Entrants should be aware that the care with which they present their work will be taken into account whether writing by hand or using a computer.
  7. Wondering if your country or territory is part of the Commonwealth? See here for the complete list. 

Junior Awards Categories (Under 14s)

Senior Awards Categories (Ages 14–18)  

Junior Prize Winner

Senior Prize Winner

Junior Runner Up

Senior Runner Up

Gold Awards

Gold Awards

Silver Awards

Silver Awards

Bronze Awards

Bronze Awards



Entries can be submitted online or by post for the 2014 competition.

Click  to submit your entry online. Please read all the information and follow the instructions carefully. It is essential that entrants fill in the mandatory fields in the online entry form.

If you are submitting your entryFAO YOUNG COMMONWEALTH COMPETITIONS,
7 – 11 St Matthews Street, London SW1P 2JT.

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