Year 12 pupil Harvey Highly Commended in Oxbright Competition

Posted on: November 21st 2023School News


Congratulations to year 12 pupil Harvey who entered the OxBright Essay Competition and was Highly Commended. Over 1000 pupils entered this competition, and only a select number of pupils in the top 20% received a Highly Commended award. The OxBright Essay Competition was set up to “give pupils the chance to think about the future, challenge themselves beyond the school curriculum, and consider their subject through a wider lens”.

Harvey spoke about his experiences: “Entering the OxBright essay competition was an excellent experience, which has helped me to develop my knowledge of economics, my research skills and skills of concise essay writing. My title was ‘Protectionism and Trade: why Globalisation is Unlikely to be Obstructed in the Long-term.’, with my essay focusing on long-term data suggesting that technological progress and decreasing influence of autocracies in the international community will mean that globalisation is unlikely to be stifled by the current climate of protectionism caused by factors such as COVID, the Ukraine War and US suspicion of China. One of the unique challenges of this essay competition is that essays had to be less than 3800 characters long (c.500 words) meaning that competitors needed to express their information extremely concisely yet keep the clarity and focus their question demanded. For me, since I was writing the essay in the field of economics, this meant that I needed to communicate large amounts of data quickly and easily to the reader. While I originally intended to use graphs for this purpose, I later learned that the essay competition did not allow students to submit graphs as part of their answers, although they could be referenced. This meant that I needed to express the information which I had referred to in text form, and indicate the source in the references section of my essay. The main sources which I referred to in this regard was World Bank data and analysis of regimes from the Democracy Matrix”.

Harvey added: “Since I do not study economics, entering this essay competition required me to conduct my own research into the area. My topic was focused on macroeconomics, with a particular emphasis on international trade. Primarily, I analysed long-term trends (this was a criterion for essays submitted to the competition) and also looked into the impact improvements in technology (primarily the development of AI) might have in improving international cooperation and globalisation. To do this, I examined the long-term trends of trade as a percentage of world GDP as well as looking at the levels of foreign direct investment over time. Both are currently low, despite a sustained period of growth in the 1950s-2000s. Economics is not a field which I am particularly knowledgeable about, but since I am considering applying for philosophy, politics and economics at university this essay competition helped me to gain a better understanding of macroeconomic development and current problems with globalisation (and potential solutions). It also required me to examine a wide variety of sources, from McKinsey’s predictions of the effect AI might have on the world economy to Vince Cable’s analysis of China’s role in the international community in his book The Chinese Conundrum: Engagement of Conflict. Entering the essay competition therefore improved knowledge of economics and current affairs”.

He concluded: “I was highly commended in the competition, and although I might have liked to win either best in my subject category or best overall, I am proud of the result given the fact that economics is not a specialist area of mine. In the future, I hope to improve my knowledge of the subject further in the future.”

Harvey Hassall OxBright Essay Competition Certificate 103023 0949PM (1)