Round Square - A World of Opportunity

Since 2010, Woodleigh School has been a Round Square International member school. Round Square is a global association of over 200 schools from 50 countries that share a commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility, service, challenge, adventure, and international understanding.

More a philosophy than an organisation, Round Square’s overriding goal is to ensure the full and individual development of every student as a whole person through the realisation of academic, physical and cultural aspirations.


Round Square has six specific areas of focus (summed up neatly by the acronym IDEALS):

  • Internationalism
  • Democracy
  • Environmentalism
  • Adventure
  • Leadership
  • Service

Round Square is a best practice example of how young people can be educated on the basis of tolerance, respect and mutual understanding. Whilst most member schools are highly individualistic, common ground is easily found, particularly in concepts like service to the community, adventurous activities and the furthering of international co-operation.

"Students are the crew and not the passengers of a school, and should therefore be given genuine responsibilities over the running of the school community."

Round Square provides opportunities for Woodleigh School students to travel as exchange students to other schools in Australia and overseas. Students are also able to participate in regional and international service projects initiated between member schools, and selected students may attend annual Australasian Junior and Senior student conferences as well as the annual International conference.

The IDEALS of Round Square perfectly complement the philosophies of Woodleigh School. We are deeply committed to educating the whole person to reach their full potential through an enriching range of programs and activities. Attributes like an enquiring mind, initiative, independence, character and personality are nurtured and developed through our extensive Outdoor Education program, our Broadening Horizons program and our Activities programs. We have a long tradition of involvement in environmental initiatives, adventure education and community service.

Our involvement in Round Square has the potential to further strengthen these areas and to bring an international perspective to what we already do. As we live in a beautiful, safe, yet relatively remote part of the world, this global perspective has great potential for us, and the opportunity for our students to share ideas around the six main areas of focus of Round Square in international forums and conferences is an exciting concept.

The strong emphasis on student-focused conferences and student-based decision making has the potential to be of significant value. Involvement with the Round Square organisation also fits neatly with our ‘Broadening Horizons’ agenda and our desire to offer meaningful opportunities for student leadership.

Opportunities for students

Round Square provides opportunities for students to:

  • travel as exchange students to other schools in Australia and overseas (two weeks – six months)
  • participate in regional and international service projects initiated between member schools
  • attend annual Australasian Junior and Senior conferences as well as the annual International conference.


Conferences are gatherings of likeminded students from member schools who debate, learn and apply the six ideals of Round Square to a program which engages and challenges delegates. They are held annually at a different school location each year. Each conference will have a theme - activities organised will be based on the IDEALS of Round Square.

The days are full of activities usually incorporating environmental and community service, cultural and adventure activities. The evenings usually feature motivational speakers and follow up within student barazza (discussion) groups lead by student leaders from the host school. There are many opportunities throughout a conference to make long lasting friendships. Between 120-160 students from across the region attend the conference.

Though the term ‘conference’ sounds stiff and formal, these Round Square Conferences are almost the opposite: they are active, collegial, contemporary and service orientated. They give respect to young people’s ideas and through discussion, develop strategies for spreading the word for service to needs and awareness of the six ideals of Round Square.

Year 8 National Exchanges

A Round Square exchange is an opportunity for our students to:

  • experience new cultures and lifestyles
  • enhance their independence, resilience and initiative
  • experience personal growth
  • enhance their interpersonal skills and emotional stability.

There are more than ten Round Square schools in Australia (excluding Victoria) and most schools take exchange students.

Generally the exchanges are 2 weeks in length. Most exchanges occur during our Term 3; however, this is largely dependent upon the school’s program. Most exchanges are reciprocal. You will be paired with a student from the host school (she/he may not necessarily be in the same year level, but most are) and you will stay with her/his family.

Costs: there is no direct cost to Woodleigh School for arranging the exchange; however, we ask for a $100 donation towards a Woodleigh Community Service initiative or a Round Square Service project.

There are, however, other costs involved. Most notably: airfares and spending and entertainment money. Depending upon the arrangements with your parents, you will be travelling unaccompanied. Once details of the exchange has been finalised between all parties (Round Square Representatives, both families) it is your family’s responsibility to arrange your travel details.

2019 Student Conference at Woodleigh School

At the 2019 Round Square Australasian and East Asian Conference for 13-15 year olds at Woodleigh School, delegates will join together to shift their thinking, inspire others and bring about change in their world. Our theme, 'Gen Z: Mind Shifters', will challenge delegates to make a difference in their community.

Over the course of the conference, participants will work with inspiring people who have brought about real change in the world – change they started at a very young age.

Delegates will engage with the beautiful environment of the Mornington Peninsula, learn from our local Community Partners, get out of their comfort zones and be challenged to make a difference.

Schools can send up to 10 students between the ages of 13-15 years old, and two accompanying staff members.