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Headmaster's Blog


After the excitement of last night it is tempting to ruminate on the political situation we find ourselves in and what this might mean for us and the independent school sector in Scotland as a whole.  However, after all the talk and hot air, I’m afraid to say that I feel disinclined to add to it…perhaps next week once the dust has settled and we’ve all gained some perspective!

Our Form 8 pupils have finished their last Common Entrance exam today and will now begin to unwind and prepare to say their goodbyes to us, each other and their school over the next four weeks.  At lunchtime today we dodged the rain and enjoyed a BBQ together to kick things off.  We have also spent some time together today when I set out our expectations of them, explained a bit about the plans for the next few weeks and the adventures still to come.  They might be nearly done here but there are a still a good few things to look forward to.

A report released this week by the wonderfully named ‘Notdeadfish’ consultancy entitled ‘Work on the Wild Side: Outdoor Learning and Schools’, has concluded that the very best schools in the country (defined as those which achieve the highest results, performed best in inspections and are at the top of the league tables) are also those schools which prioritise outdoor learning, learning outside of the classroom, adventurous experiences and residential trips.  They have attempted to provide an evidence base which confirms what many of us who work in schools and with young people have known to be true: that outdoor learning has a significant, measurable impact on pupil progress, wellbeing and attainment. 

No doubt you will be aware of the high importance that I have given to outdoor learning since coming to Craigclowan.  I have done this because I know the impact it had on me during my education.  I have seen it with my own eyes over a 20 year teaching career and now I have the reassurance of new research to confirm my instinct.  And make no mistake, it is not adventure and outdoor learning for their own sake (nice though this can be).  Rather it is a means to an end; we do it because we know the positive impact that learning outside of the classroom will have within the classroom.

Click here if you would like to read the report.

John F Gilmour

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