This month’s Independent Schools Magazine has profiled Kilgraston School’s very own Mrs MacGinty (p24-26).
Not withholding any punches, questions probe the School’s mobile phone policy, environmental learning, hybrid exam systems and inspiration to enter the profession (her mum) with the mantra: “Children have one chance at education and it needs to be as good as it possibly can be.”
Of course, retirement is on the horizon, with golf high on the priority list: “I thought when I came back to Scotland seven years ago, I would have the opportunity to play some of the country’s magnificent courses and my handicap would reduce – how wrong I was. Leading a boarding school – as all boarding Heads will know – doesn’t allow for four hours’ on the course at the weekend!”
We wish Mrs MacGinty every success on the fairway; the full profile, together with announcement of in-coming Head teacher, Tanya Davie (p46), being available here.
20 January 2022
Making sure girls learn to love Physics at school is very close to Kilgraston’s heart: “It’s all about engaging pupils early in their learning journey,” says Head teacher, Dorothy MacGinty, in the autumn term edition of The BSA Guide to UK Boarding Schools.
Featured on the front cover of the international magazine, the article looks at why an all-girls senior school is the ideal environment for tackling a subject more traditionally studied by boys: “Girls feel free to let their natural curiosity reign,” writes MacGinty, “where every question is encouraged.”
Each year, nearly two-thirds of Kilgraston School leavers pursue STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) subjects at undergraduate level.
“The enthusiasm is definitely there,” states the Head teacher, “but we must continue to deliver the subject in a life-engaging manner.”
Read the full article (front + p124/5) here
Scotland will host the global Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) – when leaders from around the world gather to discuss environmental pressures and solutions – during the first fortnight of November 2021.
However, environmental awareness already preoccupies life at Kilgraston School, the pupils’ impressive ‘Save the Planet’ mural awarded front cover space in this month’s Independent Schools Magazine (front,p3&8).
Life at senior school can seem a long way away, for both pupil and parent, when you’re just setting foot on the educational journey.
But time passes quickly, the preparation for teenage years beginning from the first moments of the earliest Junior Years. This careful transition, and the dedicated behind-the-scenes players and planners who make it all possible, is discussed in this term’s School House Magazine’s piece, ‘Prepped and ready to go’ on page 50.
Within the article, Headteacher of Kilgraston School, Dorothy MacGinty, notes that pupils nearing Senior School age are ready to spread their wings with “long spells at home during lockdowns having been detrimental to them.”
Additional boarding uptake towards the end of Junior School years is cited as frequent preparation for ‘big school,’ “a 24/7 learning experience,” together with the encouragement of increased responsibility and independence.
It’s all in the groundwork.
The article can be read in full here
Pupils returned to Kilgraston School’s Autumn Term, 2021, having lived with Covid 19 for a year and a half.
Noticing how this experience manifested itself in the youngsters’ approach to the pandemic, Headteacher Dorothy MacGinty has written about the old adage of a ‘problem shared is a problem halved’ in newspaper, TES.
“The seriousness of the disease is still very much emphasised,” she notes, “but with the reassurance that there is less likelihood of hospitalisation.”
Continuing, Mrs MacGinty comments: “So many more girls have the shared experience of knowing someone who has had Covid – or perhaps even having experienced it themselves – that they now have their own story to tell and discuss; the common bond (facing the enemy, if you like) is a lot less frightening. With the help of the school’s mental health ambassadors, discussion of guilt or concern is commonplace and encouraged both in and out of the classroom.”
The full Times Educational Supplement article can be read here
Compulsory school mobile phone bans are currently the subject of fierce parliamentary debate.
Dorothy MacGinty, Headteacher of Kilgraston – the first UK school to make the move – writes in the current edition of The Spectator magazine, arguing that, while imposition has been a good move, it needs to come from individual schools, not the Government: “Pupils must learn for themselves that there is life beyond their mobile phone. A heavy hand from above is not the way to do this.”
Since introducing on-campus mobile restrictions, in August 2018, Kilgraston has witnessed a sharp improvement in pupils’ attention-span, general concentration, peer interaction and body language: “I would love to be able to present solid evidence that the removal of mobiles directly correlated with improved exam results, but that’s a tricky one to quantify,” comments MacGinty, “As any head teacher will tell you,” she continues, “results ebb and flow. But what we did notice was that subversive screen-checks became increasingly passé, similar to the historical puff behind the bike shed.”
The Spectator’s full article can be read here while yourself considering the debate…
The pandemic has seen many people rethink their lifestyle, looking at alternative working arrangements and, where possible, seeking-out more spacious living accommodation.
Education has also been upper-most in the minds of many parents and guardians, rural boarding schools subsequently witnessing a huge spike in interest, especially from those in urban areas.
Writing about the trend in this month’s Independent Schools Magazine, Headteacher Dorothy MacGinty notes that the “domestic boarding market has seen a remarkable upsurge.”
Read the full article (page six, which also features the recent Scotland’s Boarding Schools event) here
Kilgraston has ten all-weather tennis courts and its own on-site Equestrian Centre
Celebrating the benefits of green spaces, The Guardian newspaper has nominated Kilgraston as the only Scottish school to feature in its selection of the UK’s ten best rural schools. Commenting on the success, Headteacher, Mrs MacGinty said: “The advantages of having space to think, work and play are always valuable, but never more so than during these difficult days of the pandemic. We are thrilled to have Kilgraston’s facilities nationally recognised and, with the start of our Forest School for our Junior Years, we will continue to ensure that extensive and frequent use is made of our woods and parkland. Outdoor learning – learning to love the outdoors – is such a valuable part of childhood.”
Kilgraston’s all-school environmental mural features in School House magazine
June 29 2021
A Kilgraston pupil has been called up to play football for Scotland national under 17 team.
Upper Fifth’s Leah will join the Scotland women’s team at their training camp in Edinburgh this week. The fifteen year-old, who is left-sided player, currently plays for Edinburgh-based club, Spartans.
Huge well done to Leah, we are all very proud of you, and we cannot wait to hear more about your success.
You can read more about this news story here.
Image via Steve MacDougall/ DCT Media