A parent's perspective on Gordonstoun

Interview blog with parent Jamie Lumley on what makes Gordonstoun so special and the characteristics the school has instilled in his two children.

  • First of all, can you give us your parent’s perspective on Gordonstoun.

I have known of Gordonstoun since I was a teenager when my childhood friend went to school there. I remember being jealous because it sounded like he had a lot more fun than I did at Harrow! Coincidentally I went on to marry another former pupil of Gordonstoun and that is the main reason why we sent our children there. She has done excellently at school academically, attended a good university and retained great friends, all of whom I thought were excellent people. That was another reason why I was happy to do it.

The ethos seemed incredibly sound, the notion of bringing out the strengths of each individual, and the Junior School was like a paradise compared to the claustrophobic preprep the children attended in west London. They spent a lot of time outside actively playing which I think has got lost in other places and is really important. Being young should still be fun!

Our eldest child achieved a place at a Russell Group University with excellent A levels and a great love of Pipe drumming and having been a member of the school's prize winning Pipe Band, our youngest daughter is about to leave Gordonstoun after ten years in which she has also played, adventured, learned, achieved excellent GCSEs, tried things she would never have tried elsewhere, and been looked after and out for by attentive and dedicated teachers and staff in a dynamic community of young people from all over the world. Writing this, it's hard to think of what more we could have hoped for from their schooling.

  • As a parent, what you particularly love or think is outstanding about our school.

1. The broader curriculum - the fact that the young people at Gordonstoun must take part in expeditions and sail training, along with all of the other outdoor education. It doesn't always go down brilliantly, but the effect on their sense of themselves, and of what they can do, can withstand, can enjoy has expanded exponentially. It's brilliant that, as teenagers who might quickly refuse to do anything they are unsure of doing, they are not given the choice. But they are supported and encouraged into broadening their horizons.

2. I love the location. I love that they live and learn in such a beautiful part of the UK and, as children brought up in London, can really appreciate the hills and the sea and the fresh air.

3. The commitment and dedication of the staff - and the efforts they go to to deliver an education which provides the requisite academic grades and so much more besides are remarkable.

  • What would your children say they love about Gordonstoun.

1. They both loved their House staff - the house parent, assistant house parent, matron and their tutor who looked after them over their years at Gordonstoun in the senior school.

2. They both loved the Junior School, which is an incredibly warm and nurturing place from which to start the Gordonstoun adventure.

3. They are both really aware that they have done things they would never otherwise have been persuaded to do, or even chosen to do - one sailed to the Arctic on Ocean Spirit, another spent a term on exchange in South Africa. The youngest has taken part in 12 expeditions - including her DofE Gold.The eldest was a Coastguard, the youngest the Head of First Aid Service. They both represented the school in sports teams and music ensembles. They performed onstage and helped backstage. And they love that they not only know better who they are because of these experiences, but also of what they are capable. It has unquestionably empowered them.