A parent's perspective on Gordonstoun

Interview with former student and parent Tessa Lumley

  • First of all, can you give us your parent’s perspective on Gordonstoun.

I loved the location of the school, the chance for my children to grow up in a such a beautiful environment and so close to the sea, after early childhood in London. I was very keen on them having as many experiences as possible at school and was thrilled with the idea of expeditions and sail training, with them having experiences I could not provide them, of them climbing mountains and also being expected to help other people. The element of service in the community is really valuable. Considering the wellbeing of others is not necessarily the top priority of a teenager but it is definitely good for them for that reason! The result in both my daughters – who are very different – was immediate, they have more of a sense of what they are capable of now. Neither enjoyed camping or walking with a full backpack through the Scottish highlands at first, but both now know that they are capable of it, that is is actually quite fun - and they’re not frightened to try new things as a result. So they have a much clearer sense of what they are capable of. They have also, through trying new things, discovered new talents – one daughter is a drummer in the Pipe Band, the other can now play three musical instruments, they have competed in different sports all over Scotland, they have taken the stage and they have both held positions of responsibility. I do not believe they would have achieved the breadth of these experiences anywhere else. And all in a nurturing and good humoured environment. I also think there is a correlation between these experiences and their successes in the classroom, which have been consistent. They do well because they understand that they can.

They have also made good friends from all over the world. Going to school with other young people from every part of the world, and every social and cultural background is an absolute gift. It gives them a sense of real global citizenship, perspective and understanding - which is invaluable.

  • As parents, what you particularly love or think is outstanding about our school.

1/ The breadth of opportunities available to every student and the way that these experiences inform how they work in the classroom.

2/ The nurturing environment in which they live, the care that the pastoral team show, ensuring they feel safe, secure and happy.

3/ The nature of the student body. It is both international and also comprised of students from a mixed social and economic background because of the school’s scholarship and bursary programme, which keeps the community my children are being educated in, dynamic and diverse.

  • What would your children say they love about Gordonstoun.

1/ Their friends – and that those friends are both boys and girls. They very much like being in a coeducational environment.

2/ The Saturday night socials which are always fun and might be a dance or a trip to the cinema or a quiz night or a barbecue at the beach

3/ Being members of a boarding house and being part of a larger family of peers and also older students who look out for them and after them.