The top performing independent school

for Advanced Highers 2016 - Best-Schools

7.1.32

Interview One

This 18 year old day pupil is in her final year at Kilgraston and lives in Fife – just under an hour away from the school. She has been at Kilgraston since Upper Fourth.

What is your main, academic, interest?

English, Art, Modern Studies – hoping to read English Literature at Glasgow University. I’m a Sports Captain of my House and an Upper Prefect.

Why did you decide to come to Kilgraston?

My sister was here before me so I knew the school before coming. However, I’m really interested in Art and Design and just loved the Art Department here; all the resources and its big, sunny, windows and natural light. I wanted to come to a smaller school where there’s more attention and everything’s more personal. I think your friendships are more developed and closer in a smaller environment. I came to Kilgraston with two other girls from my junior school.

Anything unexpected that has happened here?

I’ve always loved Drama but, before coming here, I didn’t have much confidence, but here I have taken it as an actual subject and it has given me much greater self-assurance. I’ve been in productions of Mary Poppins – where I was ‘Burt’; The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time, where I played ‘Christopher’ – it took me a term to learn all of the lines but it was a great experience. Drama here gives girls a chance to be themselves and open up to new characterisation and skills.


How are you encouraged to do your best here?

Everyone is encouraged to take part in class discussions, everyone’s point of view if valuable and all opinions are valued. Everyone has to take Religious Studies, which makes everyone have a point of view, and agree to disagree, but it is very healthy and at the end of the class we are all friends!

How do you spend your downtime?

I like that at lunchtime the round tables don’t leave anyone out. If the tables are full, girls will move so that no one is on their own. It’s also a good chance to mix with other age groups at lunch times. At morning break most Sixth Form go to the Sixth Form Common room and have tea and toast and chat together. In the Sixth Form Centre we all have our own desk and set of drawers where we leave our books and belongings. This means that it is easier to study as everything is in the one place and you don’t have to waste time looking for items.


How does sport fit into your time here?

When I first came to Kilgraston, sport was very much encouraged; for the first few years we had about five hours a week of Physical Education (PE). In addition to this I took part in the Hockey and Netball clubs after school. Now that I am older I use the school gym about three times a week – but which is always available – for strength and conditioning. This means that I can stay very fit but on a more flexible basis that suits me.

What do you think of the teaching at Kilgraston?

The pupil to teacher relationship is very close here. All teachers know my strengths and weaknesses and are very encouraging. They are flexible about when to meet up if you want to discuss a work or pastoral matter. There is always someone on the staff who will sit down and listen and offer advice.

In the future, how would you look back at your time at Kilgraston?

For the wonderful opportunities I was given. I went to India on the exchange during 2017 and this was somewhere that I would never have thought of going had the school not encouraged me. Pupils from the Indian school, which we visited, came to Kilgraston so we were able to host them and offer them the chance to see Scotland and some of our culture. India taught me the value of making friends quickly and understanding a different culture. I am still in touch with several girls in India and planning a trip to meet one of them in London later this year.

Kilgraston introduced a single-use plastic ban in 2018, how do you feel about that?

Really proud to be part of a school that is pioneering the way forward, environmentally. Everyone is in favour and doing a lot to help; we now have a ‘make a difference’ 100-point list which we are all contributing to.

What advice would you offer when looking for a senior school?

Look for somewhere that fits you but also look at it for the long-term benefits and if it will provide you with the friendships and experiences that you want to carry throughout your life, beyond senior school. Single sex education has definitely helped me be who I want to be. It keeps me focussed on the things that are important.

Which direction would you like to take your career in?

Hoping to use my degree to travel and work abroad, perhaps for a large charity or a government organisation that does good work around the world. Currently doing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and this has taught me the value of patience and helping others. I worked in a charity shop (Chest, Heart and Stroke) where I learned the value of your contribution to the local community. For my DoE I also studied photography, becoming very interested in the subject. This has encouraged me to pursue it, if I can, when I travel.
In Lower Sixth I was awarded my Sports Leadership Award, which involved more volunteering with sports. I worked at summer sports camps and enjoyed helping out with the teenagers.
Kilgraston had given me a great springboard. It has given me a permanent ‘school family’ with which I will always keep in touch. The five Kilgraston goals (Faith: Personal Growth: Respect: learning to live together and Social Awareness) have been instilled in me and I hope I can take these values forward into adult life.

How will you feel about finishing at Kilgraston?

It will be sad but the school has done a fantastic job in preparing me for the wider world and I feel ready to move onto the next stage of my life. I will always keep in touch with the very strong network of friends that I have made here.