It’s been a big year for Kilgraston in many ways. The school had planned a big birthday bash to celebrate turning 90 in 2020, however, lockdown meant celebrations didn’t quite go as originally planned.
But along with the rest of the staff, pupils and school community, headmistress Mrs Dorothy MacGinty didn’t let distance ruin the occasion.
Instead, everyone celebrated virtually with a Zoom picnic to mark the school’s 90th birthday.
Over the past five months or so, Kilgraston has become familiar with adapting in this way. Most recently, they turned online to see school leavers through the end of the school year.
“At the end of term we had a leaver’s assembly, and all of the girls from different year groups made a film, a tribute film to the Upper Sixth. We also had a number of members of staff compile a film as well to say goodbye,” said Mrs MacGinty.
They also have plans for a prizegiving and dinner for the Upper Sixth and their parents in December.
Mrs MacGinty explains: “It’s such a rite of passage and they’ve missed out on all the celebrations marking the end of the school year as they embark on the next stage of their education, so it’s a shame that they’ve missed it – but we’re going to try compensate for it as best as we can.”
It’s a well-deserved celebration for staff and pupils after another year of fantastic exam results, with 100% of Kilgraston pupils achieving grade A to C at Advanced Higher.
These strong results in STEM subjects, languages and business management are evidence of the school’s successful efforts to adapt during the pandemic.
“We tried to keep the community going as normally as possible under the circumstances, so we still had the girls getting their normal timetabled lessons through Teams or through Zoom, but then we also ran a lot of our activities,” explains Mrs MacGinty
“So we had the Kilgraston Olympics, and the girls were making plays, filming them and sending them in. We were still delivering assemblies on YouTube.
“The Upper Sixth ran a cookery course and first aid course, so we were doing lots of our extracurricular activities, and not just delivering lessons, and that really helped to keep the community going.”
Getting back to school
Now, the school term has once again started and Kilgraston is happily welcoming back students – even if everything is not quite back to normal.
Staff worked all summer to get the school ready for the new term, and have followed all advice and guidelines to allow for social distancing.
“It will look and feel a little bit different. We’ve turned our chairs and desks in every classroom back to exam style, the old style where everyone is facing the front, so we’re not working in groups,” says Mrs MacGinty.
Other measures like one-way systems in the dining hall and a ‘Keep Left’ rule for corridors will also remain in place for as long as necessary.
Some things won’t be changing, though – like the school’s focus on supporting and developing pupils as individuals.
Kilgraston is all about building community, social awareness and intellect – including emotional intelligence – in pupils. “If you ask the girls what the school’s about, they’ll tell you it feels like a family!” adds Mrs MacGinty.
Also continuing this year is Kilgraston’s focus on ‘Women in Business’, which launched last year.
As part of this, the school welcomed lots of guest speakers and professional women to share their stories with pupils. Kilgraston also competed in the Young Enterprise Scotland programme last year for the first time and won the regional final, with lots of girls who took part now going on to study business at university level.
Find out more
You can find out more about Kilgraston School during its upcoming virtual open day in October.
“We always recommend families visit us to get a feeling for Kilgraston but since this is not currently possible, our virtual open day is the next best thing. We hosted one in June and it was extremely successful. Families can still ask questions and meet some of the staff and pupils,” says Mrs MacGinty.
To find out more about Kilgraston, contact Kilgraston’s admissions team directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01738 812 257 for further information. They’ll be happy to help with any enquiries.