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This Lower Sixth pupil is 16 years old, lives in Dundee – which is about half an hour from Kilgraston – and boards. She joined Kilgraston three years’ ago, in Lower Fifth, from a co-ed school. She is hoping to read Medicine at university and has been looking at various options including Queen’s, Cardiff and several Scottish universities.
Why did you choose Kilgraston?
Saw good news about Kilgraston in the Good Schools Guide and liked what we saw at the Open Day.
What do you like socially about the school?
Love that it is smaller, everyone in Sixth Form stays together, it’s not exclusive, everyone plays and works together.
Academically are you pushed?
Yes, considerably. I get loads of support and everyone works very hard. A ‘peer mentality’ with no-one wanting to let the side down. We receive great support from teachers and tutors – they organise extra tutoring if needed and surgeries (open learning in the classroom) are offered. Tutoring, on a one-to-one basis, is offered. This allows you to have support that is totally focussed on you.
Extra curriculum – what do you like about Kilgraston?
Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards are offered. I’m just about to start Gold as I have already completed my Silver and Bronze. I have the Caritas Award, which involved volunteering with younger girls in boarding and in the chapel. I do a lot of hockey, am in the senior team and play the Clarsach in a musical group once per week.
What would you advise other 13/14 year olds to look for in a school?
You need a good all-round education, not just academic or social, but the whole package. Make sure you feel entirely comfortable with the other pupils at the school when you go and visit.
How did you know this was the right school for you?
It was mum and dad really; I trusted their instincts and they have been completely right. ‘Mother knows best’ but I also really liked the feel of it when we looked around.
How did you feel about becoming a boarder?
I slipped into boarding very easily; the boarding mistresses are all lovely. I actually found I was working a lot better here at school as there were fewer distractions than at home. At school there is always someone around to encourage you to work and do your best.
Do you mix with all year groups?
The school is really good about the buddy system. BFG – Big Friendly Girls – in U6 or the LFG – Little Friendly Girls – which is what everyone up to L6 is called. Last year I went to India and travelled with everyone from Upper Fourth to Upper Sixth.
How do you feel when term finishes?
Very sad, but I always look forward to seeing everyone after the holidays. It’s the same with saying goodbye to the many global friends I have made here: sad to say goodbye, but then I always have friends throughout the world. My best friend left last year and went home to Spain, but we keep in regular contact and she will always be a great friend.
Academically, how are you guided regarding subject choice?
When I was 15 I sat down with my tutor and started to think about subject choices for Highers and possible university courses and careers. This year – L6 – we have been taken to a lot of careers events and have had talks from various industry experts: eg architecture, medicine, engineering and science.
The Higher Education Fair at Kilgraston is an annual event when lots of university representatives come along and inform and encourage you to pursue a particular course.
Why did you choose a single-sex senior school?
I felt I would be able to concentrate better and be who I wanted to be. I have noticed, coming from a co-ed background, how many more girls, proportionately, take science subjects here. At Kilgraston there is a strong interest in historically less female-orientated subjects, like Chemistry and Physics. Everyone is encouraged to take up any subject they feel like pursuing. There is no pressure to conform. Everyone is really comfortable at Kilgraston.
How did you feel about the introduction of the mobile phone ban during the school day?
Personally I didn’t use my mobile very much during the day so it didn’t really affect me too much. I think it’s a very positive move for the school and sets a very good impression, especially to the younger girls. Some of my contemporaries did find it a little difficult at first but everyone has got used to it – we’re all happy with one another’s company so we don’t really miss it now.
To find out more about Kilgraston, read our review in the Good Schools Guide.