Kilgraston, which is based in a beautiful 54-acre site in Perthshire, celebrates 90 years in education this summer, and is currently home to 250 boarders and day pupils.
Thanks to the hard work and flexibility of staff and dedication of pupils and parents, they were able to maintain a full curriculum during lockdown, with pupils getting face-to-face teaching via Zoom and Teams.
Headmistress Dorothy MacGinty said resilience and preparation had been key to making it work for all over the past three months.
“We were planning ahead for this scenario; for example ensuring all course work and prelim grades were in place in case exams were cancelled, learning Zoom and Teams ourselves and teaching the girls how to use them before lock down.”
Thanks to the small class sizes Kilgraston has in general, the staff and pupils have very close relationships, which has helped keep everyone going through remote learning.
Like many schools certain things couldn’t happen as planned, but Kilgraston has worked hard to keep life as normal as possible.
Assemblies have taken place online, and the 90th anniversary celebrations became a mass online picnic, with staff, governors, pupils and parents joining in from their own gardens.
Looking ahead to the new term, the school will be opening to all pupils – including new girls – offering a full curriculum from day one, with proper safety and distancing measures in place.
If quarantine restrictions are still in place, overseas boarders will come back to school 14 days before term starts, to allow them to safely quarantine, then take part fully in all school activities.
Boarding pupils are classed as one household, which means they will have a more relaxed approach, and will be able to take part in trips and outings together.
Sport will move to non-contact activities such as athletics, tennis and orienteering, and pupils coming in by minibus will wear masks. Temperatures will be taken twice a day, and hand sanitiser will be readily available.
Kilgraston is a Sacred Heart school, open to Catholic pupils and those of other faiths and none, but the school ethos of One Heart is at the core of what they do, not something they just pay lip service to. Mrs MacGinty added: “It’s the way we live our lives; not what we talk about, but what we are doing.”
And she saw that ethos epitomised over the lockdown, with the huge commitments from pupils, parents and staff.
“We’ve got a very strong sense of community, and obviously that has been very effective for us during this time. I’d like to thank all parents and staff, and the girls, for their hard work and resilience.”
The school caters for girls from aged five to 18, with boarders from eight years old.