New Head of our Senior School

Richard Devey on the joy of becoming Head of Gordonstoun Senior School.

It is a huge honour for me to be taking over as Head of Senior School after the outstanding job Titus Edge has done during his time as Headmaster.

Having worked at Gordonstoun for close on thirty years now, I have a deep understanding of the special qualities that a Gordonstoun education instils in young people: confidence without arrogance; the desire to stand up for what is right; a fearless determination to challenge themselves and learn new skills; resilience to pick themselves up when they have been knocked down. These qualities, nurtured and developed through what I believe to be the broadest curriculum in the world, are exactly the sort of qualities that I will look to further develop in all those who pass through our care in the coming years.

In a world which is constantly changing and often unpredictable, it is not enough to simply be good at passing exams. All good Schools help young people do this, and Gordonstoun is no different in that regard. However, what we are deliberately trying to do is to stretch young people in to doing things they are not sure they will succeed at, and in so doing we are helping them to learn that it is OK to try something and fail, that life is so much richer if we step beyond the familiar and attempt new things, and that, despite their own perceived limitations, they can do so much more than they believe if they take a deep breath and dive in!

Gordonstoun’s foundations, rooted as they are in service to others, responsibility for yourself and those around you and challenge in the outdoors, are at the core of my own beliefs. As a member of Gordonstoun’s fire service for the last 25 years, I have seen time and again the impact helping those who are in real difficulty can have on young people, and some of the most transformational educational moments I have seen have happened on the fire ground, late at night on a long call, when a grateful land owner has come and thanked our crew for what they have done to save their barn or livestock.

The same is true of Gordonstoun’s approach to responsibility. I firmly believe that no other school in the world gives students the level of responsibility for themselves and others as Gordonstoun. Whether that is being at the helm of our 80 foot yacht Ocean Spirit in the North Atlantic, or leading a group of tired peers through the Scottish Highlands in a rain storm, time and again we ask more of our young people than others do, and time and again they rise to this challenge and grow as a result.

Therefore, my strong desire as I take over the helm of this great Senior School is to see it grow further, to take the best of what has gone before and build on it. To keep an eye, both on the past, but also on the horizon, and to remain the educational laboratory that our Founder, Kurt Hahn, always hoped we would be. There is an exciting journey ahead, and it is one I hope you will wish to join me in.