As well as preparing students for exams, Gordonstoun prepares them for life.
The school’s uniquely broad curriculum encourages every individual to fulfil their potential academically, but it does more than that. It encourages students to fulfil their potential as human beings. The school motto is ‘Plus est en vous’ – There is more in you. At Gordonstoun, this sense of possibility is presented to its students, every single day.
‘It wasn’t until we saw the curriculum and the schedule of what they would be doing each day that we truly understood the difference between Gordonstoun and other schools.’ Current parent.
Although Gordonstoun is within striking distance of two international airports, the school’s remarkable location on a 200 acre woodland estate by the Moray Coast in the North of Scotland provides the background for its world beating outdoor education programme. Gordonstoun was the birth place of both the Outward Bound Movement and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and expeditions to the Scottish Highlands or sail training on the School’s 80ft Sailboat are an integral part of the school’s day to day life. By extending the field of learning beyond the classroom, students gain invaluable experience in being both leaders and team players and in having compassion and understanding for their fellows - and of themselves. Their outlook is broadened, their ability to consider the needs of others developed, and they gain resilience – life skills which can only complement the school’s commitment to, and realisation of, academic excellence.
Active engagement in service to the local community also comprises a core part of Gordonstoun’s ‘working week’, further expanding the students’ sense of personal and social responsibility and building self-esteem. All year groups take part in service, but from Year 11 each student commits to one of the school’s twelve services. These include the Fire Service, Coastguards, Canoe Lifeguards and the Community Service – where pupils visit residential homes and support children with special needs
Gordonstoun follows the English GCSE and A level curriculum. With a staff/pupil ratio of 1:7 and every student’s progress carefully overseen by their tutor, they go on Universities, Colleges and Art Schools all over the world –from Oxford and Cambridge, to Central St Martins, MIT or the Northern School of Music - to study a diverse range of subjects, from Latin to aeronautical engineering, from physics to law to drama and performance. As the current Head Girl said “The whole culture and ethos of Gordonstoun is about finding – and growing - the best in each individual.”
The students at Gordonstoun inhabit a community which is both balanced and internationally dynamic. With students aged from 6-18, the school is fully co-educational and is committed to an admissions system whereby 1/3 of its pupils come from Scotland, 1/3 from the rest of the UK and 1/3 from overseas. Pupils therefore live and learn alongside fellow students from across the social, cultural and geographical board. This sense of existing in a truly global society is enhanced by an extensive international exchange programme, presented alongside opportunities, in the school holidays, for students to take part in international humanitarian projects like the Thailand Water Project, now in its 27th year.
And because Gordonstoun is one of the few remaining full boarding schools, it has a seven day programme which ensures that students are happily integrated and engaged. It also affords the opportunity to make full use of the comprehensive facilities on offer - which includes an expansive sports centre, a drama and dance centre and music studios.
The uniquely all-round education on offer at Gordonstoun provides its students with the chance to develop intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually because Gordonstoun understands that the broader the experience the broader the mind.
In the words of a current parent and former pupil:
“I send my children to Gordonstoun because I want them to have an excellent academic education. But I want them to have more than that. I want them to enter the ever changing world with a sense of possibility and optimism about themselves and their options. It seems to me that the Gordonstoun’s uniquely broad curriculum gives them the best possible chance of achieving that.”