The Good Place.” A TV programme with a simple premise. Do something good in your life and you will earn points. Do something bad and points will be subtracted. The total number of points that you have accumulated by the time you die will determine whether you make it into “The Good Place” or “The Bad Place.” Not so simple it turns out. In series three when it is revealed that absolutely no one makes it to “The Good Place” we find out that a lot of what we do actually has a negative effect on our community. From buying our groceries (plastic bags); going on holiday (increasing CO2 emissions and possibly funding corrupt governments); posting a comment on social media (damage someone’s reputation) to accepting a job (possibly sanctioning unequal pay for men and women). That is why at St. Stephen’s International School we help students understand the consequences of their actions and make social responsibility as much a part of our DNA as academic rigour.
In fact, in a recent accreditation visit from The Education Development Trust and British Schools Overseas, our commitment to social responsibility alongside our sense of community and superb pastoral care was praised as “Outstanding”. Why outstanding? Because we teach all of our students to understand the needs of our local and global community, to do something to make that community a better place, to understand complex moral issues, and learn to consider the perspectives of others. Our youngest students, ages 2–5, are introduced to the idea of charity work through a love of animals. Last term they set up an animal rescue centre for a week and hosted a “Tape the teacher to a wall” event to raise money for animal welfare. Much fun was had by those doing the taping; I am not quite sure how much fun those being taped to the wall actually had.
But, all in a good cause! In the Primary and Secondary Schools, we introduce business and leadership skills to design, make and sell products to raise the money we donate. Our students are also learning to make a difference through communication. They are raising awareness of a number of issues from the effects of single-use plastic to the problems surrounding the use of antibiotics. St. Stephen’s students show compassion towards others, they demonstrate tolerance of diversity and they speak articulately and eloquently about subjects that really matter. These traits are a clear indication that our students will be a successful and compassionate generation of future leaders who will influence the world in a positive way.