Well known for its exceptional academic results, Kilgraston is rightfully proud of its exam success rates. However, for head teacher Tanya Davie, academic grades are only part of what makes the Perthshire independent school special.
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Mrs Davie attributes the school’s success to the incredible energy and school spirit which she believes creates a truly unique environment for young people.
Experience Kilgraston’s unique environment
The upcoming Kilgraston open day 2024 will be held on Saturday February 3, and a scholarship day is taking place on Wednesday February 7. Parents and prospective pupils can meet staff and pupils, and experience what life is like at the school first-hand.
This is something previous open days have showcased very successfully. Mrs Davie told us: “The response to our previous last four open days has been quite spectacular.
“We’ve had a large footfall of people coming to visit. But what’s really astonished me is that we’ve had several families join us straight away after the open day because they were so keen for their children to experience what they felt when they visited.”
So, what makes life at Kilgraston so different? Since starting at the school in April 2022, Mrs Davie has been trying to quantify exactly that. She said: “People kept telling me there is something different about our school you don’t find in other schools. So, I formed a focus group with pupils and parents to try to understand what exactly is.
“The conclusion? It’s the special blend of the Kilgraston ethos and the Kilgraston family. Everybody comments on it, even people who aren’t here to enrol children but are visiting to give a talk or drop something off!”
Embracing childhood while learning life skills
Consistently lauded as one of the top performing schools in the country, Kilgraston also has an incredible university acceptance rate (including a 100% success rate for pupils in 2023 for University of St Andrews).
What makes these achievements even more impressive, and testament to the teaching and support within the school, is that Kilgraston does not hold academic entrance tests.
And the school offers a wide range of facilities to suit all areas of student interests and hobbies. In a stunning setting amidst 54 acres of parkland with first rate facilities, Kilgraston School even boasts its own equestrian centre.
However, Mrs Davie is keen to point out that is just one aspect of the school. In her experience, she believes the social, emotional and learning environment for both day and boarding pupils is the key to the school’s success.
Mrs Davie explained: “It’s more than just our facilities, lots of schools have fabulous things. But there is a magic here. Our children enjoy being children for longer and our pupils learn empathy and consideration unlike anywhere else.
“We have fearless pupils who can take anything on. They know how to ask for help and how to accept help, which can often be a challenge for teenagers in particular.
“And at the higher end of the school in our sixth form, it’s all about leadership and guidance. Being young adults who have a voice, airing that and being inspirational for the younger generation coming up.”
The Kilgraston scholarship program
In recent years, the school has seen a rise in the number of pupils who are involved in various sports and disciplines at a high level. Mrs Davie says this is down to the tailored approach the school takes to support pupils.
And this, in turn, is something the school is keen to further promote through scholarships.
Mrs Davie told us: “We can create a bespoke program for individuals which is quite rare. As a result, we’ve been supporting many talented sports people.
“They know when they come to us, if they have to go away and train they can still get support with revision, homework and even extended deadlines to fit around their travelling.
“We offer scholarships for sport and equestrian, and we are aware of the time that takes. It’s about getting the balance right.
“We want all our pupils to excel. We want pupils with exceptional talents to have the opportunity to come to a school like ours where we can help with that journey.”
The school’s scholarship program is not just limited to sport and equestrian. There are also scholarship opportunities in the arts, music and academic subjects too.
Applications for scholarships can be made via the school’s website.
Visit Kilgraston open day 2024
“We’d encourage everyone to come and see us and meet us, whether you’re exploring the scholarship route or not,” said Mrs Davie.
“Everything we do is very individualised and tailored. It’s not a one-stop shop where you’re fitted in a mould; we spend time getting to know you.
“Visiting our open day, having a follow up visit, coming for a taster day and meeting peers in the year group. To us, that’s more important than sitting an entrance exam.”
Mrs Davie concludes by saying: “We want all our pupils to make the most of the opportunities here. It’s about maximising your time without burning yourself out. It’s not all hard work and no play, but it’s not all play and no hard work either!”