DAVENANT Foundation School has put global issues on the educational agenda with the formation of Davenant International, a forum for discussion and debate run by the students.

Religious education teacher Ivan Corea helped pupils set up the scheme to increase their awareness of international events and highlight how "what we do in Loughton affects the rest of the world and what the rest of the world does affects us here in Loughton ".

Sri Lankan musician and BBC and Channel 4 television documentary maker Nimal Mendis was the first guest invited to speak before an audience of staff, pupils, parents, local business leaders and Ilford North MP Lee Scott.

Mr Mendis, his wife, Ranjani, and son, Paul, discussed their work on human rights issues in South Asia, including the civil war in Sri Lanka, water shortages in Bangladesh and the Tsunami disaster.

Mr Scott launched Davenant International on behalf of Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing, who had a prior engagement, and praised pupils and Mr Corea for their hard work and foresight in creating the scheme to raise students awareness of global events.

He said: "You're our future sitting in this room. You must make sure you make that difference that I think you can make."

Headteacher Chris Seward said: "Congratulations the pupils who have really worked hard in getting Davenant International launched and to Mr Corea who worked hard giving this some vision and then making it reality."

Students received letters of support from Buckingham Palace, the Prime Minister, the House of Commons, House of Lords, political party leaders and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The forum will hold monthly meetings on global issues, with outside speakers and organised debates.

Next year the school will host a Year 12/13 conference on civil conflict and conflict resolution and in 2007 it plans to send a delegation to the United Nations in New York for a UN student conference of global issues.