Awareness Q&A: Gordonstoun International Summer School

By Claire MacGillivray - Director, Gordonstoun International Summer School

1. Please introduce Gordonstoun Summer School Programme and yourself

The Gordonstoun International Summer School (GISS) has been running at Gordonstoun for over forty years, and shares the same unique educational ethos as Gordonstoun. Students are encouraged to have as many experiences both inside and outside the classroom as possible. Consequently dance, drama, creative arts, music, sailing, sport and outdoor education all sit alongside academics in the all-encompassing curriculum.

Our aim is to provide a safe, happy, exciting and invigorating environment for students to come together to learn, have fun and make friends. We welcome students from all over the world and are always happy when they return – which they often do – and happier still when we are able to welcome students whose parents themselves attended our Summer School.

We are always pleased to welcome students who are considering Gordonstoun for full time education, it is a wonderful introduction to boarding life, whilst having a lovely summer. We are completely confident that we can meet any expectations either parents or children might have of a wonderful summer school experience, whilst also offering an excellent programme of academic study amidst all the other excitements.

I am Claire, Director of GISS for the past 3 years. My first experience of GISS was in 1985 when I was working at the Summer School as a young member of staff. A job I returned to whilst at University. So it gave me enormous pleasure to return to GISS a few years later! I am also a former pupil of Gordonstoun, and have a son who attends the Gordonstoun Junior School.

2/ Ages admitted to the summer programme

Students are aged 8-16.

3/ Length of summer programme

3 ½ weeks.

We have two courses which are the same just set one week apart.

- Course I : Friday 5th July to Monday 29th July

- Course II: Friday 12th July to Monday 5th August

4/ International appeal and diversity

We present an exciting summer programme that captures the Gordonstoun philosophy of internationalism and learning through challenge. We welcome around 300 students each year from 35 + countries. We have students from the UK, USA and many other English-speaking countries so there are options to suit both those who are fluent English speakers and also for those who would like to improve their English.

5/ Some of the activities at the summer programme

Some of the activity highlights are:

  • Kayaking
  • Surfing
  • Karting


For more information, visit :

6/ Benefits of the summer programme

The benefits of attending GISS are many. It provides opportunities for academic improvement in a chosen subject – which might be English as a second language (we teach three different levels of EAL classes – beginners, intermediate and advanced) Or it could be Spanish, Literature and Creative writing or Computing and Information Technology. All of which will compliment any academic work undertaken by the student at their school.

We have a very high ratio of 1 member of staff to 2 students, allowing each student to challenge themselves in any area, knowing they are fully supported; whether it is by taking the stage, playing a sport or jumping into the sea for the first time! Confidence building is a huge part of GISS – helping each child develop a greater sense of not only who they are – but also of what they are capable. They will have the chance to experience things they have never experienced before, enabling them to discover and develop skills they never dreamt they had. They also consequently develop leadership skills, understanding of what it is to work in a team, to be part of a team, and to help your team mates!

Because it is an International Summer School, they have the opportunity to meet and make friends with children from all over the world, from different backgrounds, cultures and faiths. This encourages understanding, respect, compassion and responsible cultural awareness. We are careful to ensure that the students come from as many different countries as we can, and that there is not a majority of any one nationality, in order to keep GISS as diverse as possible.

It’s also, fundamentally, designed to be fun! A place to have fun, and create lifelong memories.

The Gordonstoun International Summer School motto – “where everyone smiles in the same language”.

6/ How they can register for a place?

- Please contact us by following this link:

- Phone us, we love to talk about GISS: + 44 1343 837 821

- Or email:

Places are limited, so please don’t leave this for too long! We operate a strict policy of nationality quotas in order to ensure students experience a wonderful introduction to other cultures and make friends with people from all over the world.

Please follow us on social media for regular updates:

- Facebook: @gordonstounsummerschool

- Twitter: @GISSgordonstoun

- Instagram: @gordonstounintsummerschool

7/ Any other details?

Please do be in touch if you have any other questions.

And we look forward to welcoming you to the Gordonstoun International Summer School, “where everyone smiles in the same language”.