The new subject of citizenship requires that students undertake community service. This is something which is also being emphasized in other countries. The International Baccalaureate has pioneered such work for thirty years. It includes a compulsory element of community service ‘Creativity, Action, Service’ (CAS) involving about half a day per week for two years. Though many students are likely to find this motivating the very fact that it is compulsory means that this may not always be the case.
In general, the benefits of community service to what might be termed the ‘recipient’ are self‐evident. Within the context of educational programmes, however, the relationship between encouraging service for reasons related to the greater good of the community, and for reasons related to the associated benefits to the individual student, is a delicate one. This paper describes a study undertaken in an international school. The study was initiated with the major purpose of determining the extent to which the school had been successful in developing the CAS programme. In particular, the study aimed to establish to what extent CAS participants achieved the programme’s prescribed aims, to highlight any aims not fully achieved and, through reflecting on why this might be the case, to identify how improvements could be made. As a result of the findings it was possible to make a number of recommendations for improvements, with implications for such work both in the school and at a more general level.