Beyond the Classroom
Beyond the classroom
Experiences Dukes is home to the UK's leading summer school and activity day camp providers.
Publications Essential reading for students applying to Oxford, Cambridge, or medical school.
University Applications Our curated collection of consultancies represent the best of Oxbridge, US, and Medicine application support.
The Dukes Essay Prize Our essay competition, based on the famous past All Souls, Oxford entrance exam, tests students' ingenuity and originality.
Poetry Together A nationwide scheme that brings young people and old people together to share in the joy of learning poetry by heart.

Dukes Education Essay Prize

The Dukes Essay Prize reopens in April 2020.

Our Essay Prize is a nationwide scheme that encourages academic exploration, creativity, and lateral thinking in students in Yrs 11-12. Inspired by the famous past entrance exam for fellows at All Souls College, Oxford, students write an essay in response to a one-word title.

The Prize rewards creativity, lateral approaches, and engagement with a subject beyond the curriculum.

I am incredibly honoured and grateful for this opportunity. I hope my essay will inspire future students entering this competition as well as shed some light on the topic of gender roles in scientific communities.

Irina, Essay prize 2019, second place.

What is it?

Our Essay Prize gives students the chance to follow their passions and explore subjects beyond the curriculum. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get a taste of university-style work assignments, and a prize is a great achievement to discuss on a personal statement.


Our judges were wowed by the exceptional standard of the 2019 entries. You can read the winning essays below. Our 2019 titles were:


  • Nation
  • Guilt
  • Security
  • Infinity
  • Energy
  • Gender
  • Icon

How does it work?

  • The competition opens each year in April. Current students in Years 11 & 12 can enter.
  • Essays must be written in response to one of the seven titles provided, and be no longer than 1,500 words.
  • They’ll be judged by the way they engage with the chosen subjects, their creativity, and the quality of the writing.
  • Winners will be chosen by a panel of education experts, through a blind judging process.
  • The first-place winner will receive £500. There’s a £250 prize for second place, and a £100 prize for third place.

How does the marking work?

The prize rewards creativity, lateral approaches, and engagement with a subject beyond the curriculum.


Every essay is anonymised for a blind marking process. Our judges do not know the name or school of any student, to make it as fair as possible.


The essays are reviewed by a panel of experts, including Oxbridge-educated tutors, the heads of the Dukes Education Consultancy, and a member from the Dukes Education Advisory Board. Over three rounds of marking, the three final winners are picked.