Right from the moment that you pass under the rather grand stone archway that marks the entrance to Kilgraston, it’s clear you’ve arrived at a rather special place. Travel down the driveway, over the stream and past fields of horses until you reach our Georgian red sandstone mansion. Inside, our girls’ artwork adorns every wall, and the sounds of music rehearsals echo down each corridor. Across the front lawn – to what was once the stable building but is now our bright and cheery prep school – girls laugh, play and learn together. Only 45 minutes from Edinburgh airport yet Kilgraston is secluded and girls are free to roam around the 54 acres of pristine Scottish parkland.
About the school
We are a school with traditional values but a modern and forward looking perspective on education. Education is not just about exam success; developing interest and talents, nurturing an understanding of divergent cultures, and emphasising our personal responsibility as global citizens are vital. As such, a Kilgraston girl benefits from a wealth of opportunities to extend and enrich her educational experience. We offer an enormous breadth of extra-curricular activities, and enjoy modern, state of the art facilities in sports, art, music and science. With the Equestrian centre, a new International sized all-weather hockey pitch, 8 all-weather tennis courts, sports hall with climbing wall and fitness suite and a new 25m indoor swimming pool there is more than enough to keep the girls occupied! The school is a member of the international network of Sacred Heart Schools which opens Kilgraston to a wide range of personal contacts and potential for lifelong friendships with a number of pupils who attend from Mexico, Spain, Germany and other countries world-wide.
It’s in the bag: Kilgraston wins Tayside Young Enterprise Regional Finals
'Jute Joy' picked to proceed to June's Scottish national finals in Glasgow.
25th March 2022 — Dundee used to be known as the home of the three Js: jute, jam and journalism and last night it held true to form with its jute heritage bagging top prize.
After a tense evening, Kilgraston’s Upper Sixth team scooped first place in the 2022 Young Enterprise Tayside Regional Finals.
Beating tough competition from across the county, Zara B, Anna T, India D, Tegan O, Poppy P, Robin B and Genevieve N, won with their ‘Joy in a Jute’ company programme, a mindfulness jute bag for young children.
Held at the Forbes of Kingennie Country Resort, north of Broughty Ferry, the team travelled early in the day to set up their stall and go through several assessments and presentations before the final announcement by Bruce Donaldson, Chairman: “The Young Enterprise Company Programme is an extremely valuable journey for students to undertake,” he said, “and, if entered into fully, creates an experience that will last with them for the rest of their lives.”
Winning eight out of ten categories – best trade stand, best marketing, best presentation, best business report, best business mentor (thank you Hannah Ovens!), sustainability, most inspirational journey and, of course, the 2022 Tayside Company of the Year – ‘Jute Joy’ was repeatedly commended for its “thorough” and “mature” approach.
Asked by an audience member if the enterprising experience had changed her thoughts on a future career, Kilgraston’s Upper Sixth, Zara, responded with a quick and clear, “No, but it has certainly cememted my decision to follow business management at university!”
The girls now go on to participate in the Scottish national championships in Glasgow on the 2nd of June.
Kilgraston rolls-up collective sleeves for the on-going Ukrainian refugee crisis
Donations for Ukraine's plight keep flooding-in from throughout Perthshire, with Kilgraston living-up to the School's ethos of 'community', offering on-going help and donations.
22nd March 2022 — As the situation in Ukraine enters its fourth week, the Kilgraston School community continues to volunteer and send trailers full of much-needed items to Errol Airfield, depot of the organisation, Tayside and Strathearn Help for Ukraine.
This weekend, Boarding Mistress, Miss Carden, together with a mini-bus full of senior boarders, again spent several hours packing warm clothing, bedding and medical supplies so that yet another much-needed shipment could leave for Poland and Ukraine; lorries leaving the depot on an almost daily basis.
Kilgraston's effort started just three days' after the first shots were fired in Ukraine, with an initial appeal to the Kilgraston community for warm clothing and daily essentials. Since that day, hundreds and hundreds of beautifully-labelled donations, together with dozens of bunk beds from one extremely generous parent, have swiftly arrived, joining thousands of kind donations from throughout the county and beyond. House removal firm ‘Clockwork’ donated a lorry, transport costs and staff, filling a huge vehicle, bound for an orphanage in Poland, now home to Ukrainian children.
Within School, pupils have also shown their support for Ukraine, transforming Kilgraston’s central glass square into a sea of sunflowers. The donation journey of all the effort, including Kilgraston’s support for the appeal, can be followed on the Tayside & Strathearn Help for Ukraine Facebook page.
The amazing work - by a huge team of dedicated volunteers - continues, every day of the week.
Largest ever entry for Kilgraston Equestrian Championships
Sunshine and smiles for Kilgraston School's biggest ever Equestrian Championships
15th March 2022 — The Kilgraston Scottish Schools Equestrian Championships took place at Howe Equestrian Centre near Auchtermuchty in Fife on Sunday 6th March. The event is the School's biggest event in the equestrian calendar, running showjumping and dressage qualifiers for the National Schools Equestrian Championships.
Having been suspended because of Covid lockdown in 2021, the normally annual event returned with over 150 horse and rider combinations and 330 entries, proving the biggest entry to date. Ten hours of dressage and showjumping ran simultaneously across three arenas: Kilgraston alone entered 14 teams.
More good news came in the form of Mother Nature, who provided wall-to-wall sunshine and clear skies all day!
The Kilgraston Equestrian Championships day starts with younger and less experienced riders, with a walk/trot dressage test and 55cm showjumping, showcasing future talent. The event had huge entries from Gordonstoun, Dollar and Strathallan schools, all putting forward 10+ team of riders through the day; Dollar Academy taking the sashes in Class 1 dressage and Gordonstoun in class 5, the 55cm show jumping. The day continued with Kilgraston’s youngest riders winning Class 2 dressage, all three of which were making their school championships debut.
With numbers being so large the prelim dressage was split into two section, one for those wishing to try and qualify for the National School Equestrian Championships at Keysoe, Bedfordshire, in October and the other competing for their school with very large entries in both sections. The show jumping also progressed with classes up to 1.10m and the top four riders and two teams in each class qualifying for the National Championships.
Riders from as far south as Sedburgh in Cumbria; north from St Margaret’s in Aberdeen and west from Arran High School on the Isle of Arran, turned out to try and gain the valuable qualification certificates. Winners included pupils from Strathallan, Kilgraston, Glasgow Academy, Jedburgh Grammer, Longridge Towers, Gordonstoun and Glenalmound College.
Biodiverse research, monitoring (and dramatically reducing) food waste and spearheading litter collections, earns Kilgraston its first Green Flag stripes
4th March 2022 — Kilgraston is extremely proud to have been awarded its first Eco-Schools Scotland Green Flag Award for environmental endeavours during the last two years.
Commenting on the success, Dr Carl Phillips, Head of Geography and Eco-School coordinator, said: “Massive congratulations are due to our Eco-Schools Prefect, Ruby, together with the rest of the senior Eco-Committee for all of the time and effort that they have put in to completing this award.”
Awarded by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the organisation's Education and Learning Officer, Hendrika Psaila, said of the School: “Despite the (Covid) restrictions in place, staff and students have shown commitment and determination in completing their planned actions.”
In order to qualify for the award, schools had to choose three from ten categories, one being the tackling of litter. Kilgraston concentrated on biodiversity and food and the environment.
Biodiversity saw pupils studying, and coming to a greater understanding of, the natural world around them. One project was to reconstruct bird feeders, subsequently monitoring and logging visiting species. Another focus was reducing plastic usage within school and personal life. At school, single-use plastic audits were conducted, with alternatives being implemented, including the removal of all cling-film. A beeswax-wrap workshop (a highly effective, natural alternative to plastic food wrap) was held, showing girls how to make and enhance the material. Marine Conservation Charity, Surfers Against Sewage, was the inspiration for pupils to carry-out an audit of potential plastic drain-blockers and water-source polluters within school. Many eyes were widely opened to the journey from bathroom to sea!
Food waste was another topic tackled by the committee, who, on given days during term, weighed leftovers from School lunches, highlighting to contemporaries the cost of dealing with residue and subsequent amounts of toxic methane gas produced by rotting food. Pupils were quick to take on board the lesson, immediately reducing the waste by nearly half.
Future projects for the Eco Committee include tree surveys within the school’s grounds - in conjunction with the John Muir Trust Award - together with tree-planting throughout the School’s 54 acres as part of the Queen’s Platinum Anniversary year.
"The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, makes it clear that our window for action is rapidly closing,” noted Dr Phillips, he continued: “However, the authors of the report explain that this does not just mean green energy and electric cars - education, for example, also has a role to play in our transition to net-zero and the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award is just one part of our broader responsibility to prepare our students for a sustainable future."
Renowned journalist and broadcaster inspires during Kilgraston School lecture
4th March 2022 — Who knew that a Ladybird book could alter the course of your life? One woman’s did and that is Catherine Pepinster, journalist, broadcaster, religious commentator.
Speaking to Kilgraston pupils from her base in west London, the journalist was delivering a lecture as part of the school’s Women and Business industry expert series: “I was only about seven or eight at the time and there, in my Christmas stocking, was the Ladybird book of newspapers, featuring a lady with a reporter’s notebook, and I thought, “that’s what I want to do!”
And she did, regaling pupils with stories of a childhood home filled with stimulating political discussion and intellectual reading material, noting, “My parents were always shouting at politicians on Panorama!”
Editing her school’s magazine fully galvanised a career in journalism, prompting Catherine to read Economic and Social Studies at the University of Manchester, before doing a Post Graduate diploma in journalism at City, University of London: “I know that being involved with the student newspaper at university definitely helped with my post-grad application. Work experience is absolutely vital, as is being insatiably curious; essential for a journalist.”
Proceeding to local papers, Catherine highlighted lessons learnt when pounding the pavements, attending courts, council meetings and inquests, explaining: “Very quickly, you learn the power of good contacts and being held to account by your community,” adding, “developing trust and respect lead to more stories being directed your way and that holds true to this very day.”
Moving-up to national newspapers, Catherine’s talent was spotted by The Tablet magazine, becoming its first female editor since its 1840 inception and where she experienced one of her career’s biggest scoops: “I received a tip-off about the resignation of Pope Benedict XV1 in 2013. It wasn’t trite to say this really was the first draft of history.”
The power of working and thinking as an individual – having ideas, following instincts – was counterbalanced with an explanation of how news comes together and the line-up behind production: “Always remember, well-presented, accurate reporting takes a large team of professionals.”
Concluding her talk, Catherine highlighted how her long career in journalism has offered “a reserved” child, self-belief and confidence: “During downing Street’s Tony Blair era, I was curious to know about the acquisition by the Labour Party of a sizeable London building,” she continued, “Looking-up an old contact, I was able to request – and receive – information evaded by others. You have to hold your nerve and poise so people feel they can trust your judgement.”
Asked about the future of her profession, the focus was on ‘data journalism’, from the likes of Freedom of Information requests, and the creation of stories from available material: “I think that is definitely the way it is heading.” However, the power of the ‘long read’ was, she said, not to be under-estimated, referring to weighty weekly, The New Yorker’s terrific pieces.
‘Long reads’ is something with which Catherine is all-too-familiar, having just completed a 100,000 word book, entitled ‘Defenders of the Faith.’ It was, she concluded, an “ambitious six-month deadline” even for someone for whom words do come easily.
Kilgraston was greatly appreciative of her sharing some words with the school.
Kilgraston pupil selected for Scotland U18 Hockey Squad
1st March 2022 — A pupil from Kilgraston School in Perthshire has been selected to play for Scotland U18 Hockey squad.
Lexie MacMillan will part of a pool of players from whom the teams in international matches against England, Ireland, France, Czech Republic and Switzerland, later in the year, will be picked.
Although already in the U17 Aspiring Scottish Squad, Lexie had to go through a rigorous selection process to make the U18 Aspiring team: “I was part of the Dundee Devils regional team, where we were observed during matches and training." Lexie continued: "From this procedure, we were chosen to take part in a training camp at Edinburgh’s Meadowmill and from there, the teams were selected.”
Helen Ferry, Head of PE at Kilgraston, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to watch Lexie develop as a player, combining academic studies with a strict training schedule. Throughout the pandemic, she determinedly kept up her fitness, being match-fit as soon as circumstances allowed. We’re all very proud.”
On a sports scholarship at Kilgraston, giving her Hockey and Tennis Academy sessions, Lexie makes the most of the opportunities on offer: “Hockey training at School has been very beneficial and this, in combination with my training with Perthshire Ladies Club, has given me the best possible start in my hockey development. I’m very excited about the future.”