A north-east independent school has beaten competition from across Britain to be named School of the Year.
A panel of judges selected Lathallan School as the UK’s Small Independent School of the Year.
Lathallan stood out in part for its long-time commitment to environmental learning, which one school leader said is all about showing pupils “that they have the power to make change”.
And on Lathallan’s campus, you’re as likely to bump into a friendly alpaca as an eco-minded pupil. So it’s little wonder that experts recognised Lathallan for pushing the envelope in education.
Sparkling with innovation
Lathallan brought home the Small Independent School of the Year award from a crowd of 50 initial nominees.
Charlotte Avery, Headmistress of St Mary’s School Cambridge, announced Lathallan’s victory in a virtual ceremony.
She praised the school for its “long-term commitment to environmental education which sparkles with innovation”.
We strive to educate our pupils to appreciate and respect the environment. To leave people and places better than they find them.”
-Richard Toley, head of Lathallan
And Richard Toley, head of Lathallan, said: “Winning this national award is massive for Lathallan.
“New initiatives such as the introduction of alpacas to our school farm and development of our 60-acre school grounds, our remarkable teaching team and our commitment to outdoor learning is part of what makes us unique.
“Alongside this, the judges recognised our unwavering commitment to environmental education. We strive to educate our pupils to appreciate and respect the environment. To leave people and places better than they find them.
“Our pupils run the school Eco Club and learn about living a sustainable lifestyle – reducing, reusing and recycling – helping them feel that they are part of the narrative not simply observers, so that they have the power to make change.”
Innovation drives the Lathallan School curriculum
Despite the pressures of lockdown, Lathallan has supplied its students with innovative opportunities throughout the last year. They introduced alpacas on campus in June as the newest addition to their farm education.
In addition to teaching pupils how to care for animals, the alpacas – named Fluffy, Macapaca, Popcorn and Marmalade – proved to have benefits for the pupils’ mental health.
Earlier in the year, Lathallan earned its fifth Green Flag Award. Organised by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the award recognises a commitment to sustainable education. The pupils took on a number of initiatives to earn the title of eco heroes.
Lathallan School: The castle by the sea
Lathallan School is housed in a 19th-century castle on the coast near Johnshaven. With a view of the North Sea, the school is well-placed for instilling an appreciation of nature.
One pupil, S6 Esther Olorode, said that Lathallan would get her vote for school of the year every year.
“After growing up in South London for 11 years, moving to a tiny village by the sea to attend boarding school full-time was definitely a challenge.
“All in all, my school experience in Scotland started out as something unfamiliar and intimidating but has grown into a series of memories and unique adventures that I will forever hold dear to me.
“Upon turning up at our ‘castle by the sea’ on my first night at school, I never would have imagined that the following six years will be the ones most significant to my growth and development as a person.”
Want to learn more about education at Lathallan School? The co-educational day and boarding school offers nursery, junior and senior places. To learn more, you can register for upcoming open days online.