Summer is fast approaching and you might be considering different options for the right summer camp for your child. Read LagosMums interview with Claire, Director of GISS as she shares all you need to know about the Gordonstoun International Summer School.
GISS is a great Summer School option for your children. They’ll get to experience the excitement and unique natured activities of a holiday abroad this summer.
Please introduce yourself
I am Claire. I have been the 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 I have a son who attends the Gordonstoun Junior School.
Tell us about the Gordonstoun Summer Program
The Gordonstoun International Summer School (GISS) has been running at Gordonstoun for over forty years. It shares the same unique educational ethos of its world-famous parent school. Gordonstoun was founded in 1934 by Dr Kurt Hahn, an educationalist who believed that the best education lay in the broadest possible education of a young person.
He was the originator of the ‘Outward Bound’ philosophy and the school remains true to its roots, always encouraging its students to have as many experiences both inside and outside the classroom as possible. Consequently, dance, drama, creative arts, music, sailing, sport, outdoor education and service to the community all sit alongside academics in the all-encompassing curriculum.
Gordonstoun counts members of the British Royal family as past pupils, as well as boys and girls from other royal and prominent families around the world. Consequently, GISS is considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious International Summer Schools.
Our aim is to provide a safe, happy, exciting and invigorating environment for students to come together to learn, have fun and make friends. Every year, we welcome students from all over the world and are always happy when they return – which they often do. We are happier still when we are able to welcome students whose parents themselves attended our Summer School.
Please tell us some of the activities available at the summer program
We run a diverse programme of activities and are lucky to be within easy reach of the hills and mountains of the Highlands and of the magical West Coast of Scotland, arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the world. This enables us to provide the chance to sail yachts, to kayak and to climb, as well as to make full use of the school’s comprehensive facilities.
Students at GISS are able to use the state of the art sports centre, climbing wall, fitness suite as well as the Art and Design and technology facilities, and the school’s Drama centre which comprises a theatre, dance studio and rehearsal rooms. The school also boasts the only five-hole golf course in Scotland, but we are within striking distance of three full-size championship courses and can provide a wide range of sports!
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.
What is the age range of students admitted to the program?
It is between 8-16 years.
What is the Length of the summer program?
The length of our summer program is 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
Where is your school located?
Gordonstoun is located in Moray, in the North of Scotland, within walking distance of the long, sandy Moray beaches. It is also within easy reach of Inverness and Aberdeen airport, both of which are international. Elgin train station in the nearby city of Elgin also makes travel by train from Edinburgh and Glasgow easy. On arrival and departure days we arrange all transfers from Aberdeen and Inverness airports.
What other international appeal and diversity does your school have?
We present an exciting summer programme that captures the Gordonstoun philosophy of internationalism and learning through challenges. We welcome around 300 students each year from 35 + countries.
What do students stand to gain from attending the summer program?
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 complement any academic work undertaken by the student at their school.
We have a very high ratio of 1 member of staff to 2 students. This allows each student to challenge themselves in any area, knowing they have full support; 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 teammates!
As 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 many different countries. Also, we avoid having 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 is “where everyone smiles in the same language”.
How can students sign up for a spot?
Places are limited, so please don’t leave this for too long! We operate a strict policy of nationality quotas. This is 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 via our handles below for regular updates. You can also follow us for a sense of what the school is doing generally and how they put their unique educational ethos into practice
Or visit our website: www.gordonstoun.org.uk
Please do be in touch if you have any other questions. We look forward to welcoming you to the Gordonstoun International Summer School, “Where everyone smiles in the same language”.