School of excellence: Hamilton College

HAMILTON College plans to celebrate its silver jubilee this year with a gold standard of Christian education.

The school marks 25 years in 2008 and new acting principal Margaret Clarke says it is an exciting prospect to be taking the institution into the next quarter century.

Pupils will mark the anniversary in style with a venture to Burkina Faso to work with a local community through the Christian relief and development charity Tearfund.

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According to Clarke, the adventure for 12 sixth year pupils has enthused the whole of the school.

"We hope the trip will transform their lives," she says. "They will have experiences that challenge the way they see the world. This is a first for our school, but it's very inspiring and unifying for the pupils."

Despite being a Christian school, Hamilton College is not affiliated with any church, and has pupils from Muslim, Jewish and other backgrounds, all attracted by the strength of teaching on offer.

Since she joined the school in 2006, Clarke says she has been blown away by the attention and care paid to individual pupils at the school. She believes that it is a commitment which will drive the institution's ambition to aim high and celebrate success from all levels, be it pupils, parents or teachers.

Appropriately, during its silver jubilee, the school has already gained silver status for their health promotion. They are aiming for gold in the coming months and hope to link healthy minds and bodies with a healthy environment by expanding their eco-schools programme.

Earlier this year, pupils built a greenhouse with walls made from recycled plastic containers that sits in the school's courtyard.

Next door lies Strathclyde Country Park, giving Hamilton College what Clarke believes to be the best view of any school.

As well as eco matters, there are plans to extend the use of classroom technology and develop closer connections with alumni from the young institution, who will hopefully help with the commemorations throughout 2008.

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"The whole of next year will be a celebration for us," Clarke says. "This school has so much potential."