Global Awareness

Bedales is unique in the UK, in making Global Awareness part of the core curriculum rather than simply an 'extra'. Since introducing Global Awareness, Bedales has used the Harvard Education School / Asia Society definition: "Using 21st Century skills (critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration and communication) to understand and address global issues".

Designed in collaboration with both students and other academic departments, the Global Awareness Bedales Assessed Course (BAC) is horizontal rather than vertical – connecting to many other subjects but occupying its own place and addressing issues that have traditionally been absent from the secondary curriculum. 

The emphasis is on Anthropology, Politics, Economics and Law, making this both an excellent introduction to the global mindset so greatly sought by universities and employers and a useful foundation for A level subjects such as Politics, Economics, History and Geography, as well as the Pre-U in Global Perspectives.

  • Block 3 (Year 9)
  • Blocks 4 and 5 (Years 10 and 11)
  • Sixth Form

Every student at Bedales studies Global Awareness as part of our Project Based Learning curriculum in Block 3 which enables students to understand the links between a range of subjects, and develop innovative projects with long lasting societal effects. Students are then able to select Global Awareness as an independent Bedales Assessed Course (BAC) subject.

Global Awareness BAC

Term 1

Global Issue 1: The Status of First & Indigenous Peoples

Key concepts

- What makes us human?
- Identity circles
- How can a study of first peoples help to develop a global perspective?
- How does our own tribal identity influence our perspective?
- What is lost when indigenous cultures are lost?
- What is lost when rainforest cultures are lost?
- What does it mean to be human?


Practice data response questions on unseen materials.

Global Issue 2: Human Rights

Key concepts

- What are human rights?
- Who needs human rights and why?
- Why is poverty “the worst human rights violation in the world today”?
- What are the best ways to help people out of poverty?
- Why does it make economic sense to invest in women?
- Why is education one of the best ways to protect children’s rights?
- How can the media help to protect human rights?
- How do the most successful campaigns get people’s support and money?
- How can we effectively analyse successful campaigns?
- How is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) incorporated into law?
- Why and how do the US and UK differ in protecting civil liberties?   


Analysis of an advocacy campaign; 10% of final BAC grade.

Term 2

Global Issue 3: Human Rights and Global Health

Key concepts

- What is the Right to Health?
- How is the universal Right to Health applied to different groups?
- What are the top stories in Global Public Health?
- Why haven't we eradicated more diseases yet?
- Are routine vaccinations the most effective way to improve global health and alleviate poverty?
- What is the relationship between health and human rights?
- Why is pain worse in some parts of the world?
- What can a case study on female genetic mutilation (FGM) teach us about global health and human rights?
- Why is there a link between Covid-19 and higher incidences of infection within the Black, Asian and Minority Ethic (BAME) community?


Create a poster for exhibit on a chosen global health threat; 10% of final BAC grade.

Global Issue 3: The Arms Trade

Key concepts

- What is the significance of the global arms trade?
- What is the role of the United Nation (UN)?
- What can a case study on landmines teach us?


Write a New York Times editorial on why the US should either sign and/or ratify either the 1999 Ottawa Treaty or 2014 Arms Trade Treaty; 10% of final BAC grade.

Term 3

Global Issue 5: Peace and Conflict, including cases studies on Rwanda and West Papua

Key concepts

- How effective is the Genocide Convention?
- What are the eight stages of genocide?
- Using definitions to define current situations, particularly Rohingya and West Papua
- What happened in Rwanda in 1994?
- Has the Genocide Convention failed?
- What role does the media and public opinion play?


Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Genocide Convention; 10% of final BAC grade.

Global Issue 6: Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

- What is social innovation / entrepreneurship? 
- How can we effectively define social innovation and entrepreneurship?
- What can case studies of some of the most successful innovations teach us?
- What are the problems associated with social innovation and entrepreneurship?
- How can case studies help us to design our own campaigns?

Project 1: Collaborative project

In groups of three, students use the Design Thinking Model to create a campaign and/or a solution based on a global issue. Students can select an issue from four of the global issues studied in Block 4 (Human Rights, Global Health, Peace and Conflict or The Arms Trade); 15% of final BAC grade.

Project 2: Individual project 

Students create a campaign and/or a solution on a global issue of their choosing, using the Design Thinking Model. Part of the marks will be awarded based on the end of topic viva; 30% of final grade.

Global Perspectives and Research Pre-U

Teaching of the Cambridge Pre-U in Global Perspectives and Research (GPR) commenced in September 2019 as part of our vibrant Sixth Form Enrichment Programme and has proved extremely popular with both students who have studied the BAC in Global Awareness as well as those new to the discipline.

It has long been a desire of parents, students and staff to introduce a sixth form offering to complement the BAC in Global Awareness which continues to develop in terms of popularity and success.

The Pre-U, which is suitable for all students, regardless of whether they have taken the BAC in Global Awareness, places academic specialisation in a practical, real-world context, being a seminar-based opportunity to research and explore a range of issues challenging people across the globe. Developing critical/analytical, research, and problem-solving skills essential to higher education, students will learn to place their personal perspectives in a global context, finding new inspiration and challenges for their studies.

During their study, students consider at least four topics taken from different themes. For example, genetic engineering, medical ethics and priorities, standard of living or quality of life, ethical foreign policies, or the religious-secular divide may be studied under the Ethics theme. Typically students develop the necessary skills to embark upon a realistic and meaningful research agenda.

Students will submit a presentation and an essay from their portfolio and sit an examination. The Independent Research Report gives candidates the chance to dig still deeper into a particular subject, or to cross boundaries by doing interdisciplinary work, or to make a new departure by investigating a subject not covered by traditional school syllabuses. Students submit a single piece of extended work on their chosen theme. Students can choose whether to take the Pre-U short course or to study for the two year Pre-U.

An increasing number of UK and international universities are providing statements of recognition for Cambridge Pre-U in GPR. In their view, Cambridge Pre-U GPR is an excellent preparation for undergraduate study since it gives real evidence of independent, critical thinking. This is applicable across all undergraduate subject areas due to the nature of the skills developed throughout the course.

Head of Department: Abigail Wharton