“What you have to remember,” said James Logan to his eager, thirteen-year-old daughter Elaine as they investigated the Scottish suffragette movement for his Degree in History, “is that you must embrace lifelong learning. You can always do better.”
A Lifelong Passion...
hese words still ring in the ears of the first female Warden of Glenalmond College, a co-ed full boarding school for 12 to 18 year olds nestled in the perthshire hills.
“Academic rigour was instilled in me from the cradle,” says Elaine, “it’s ‘cool’ to work and strive; that was my mantra then and remains so today.” Indeed, the swift introduction at the College of Mandarin, Computer Science and a Scientific EpQ lab is testament to this ethos. A little more contentious was the decision to open a new girls’ boarding house by converting Goodacre’s Boys’ House after a 100-year history, “We have to look to the future,” she notes.
But, with 97% of the school’s pupils progressing to university, does all work and no play not make Elaine – and by proxy, Glenalmond - a dull child? “Definitely not! The College’s Learning project has pedagogy at its heart. My goal is to allow our teachers to teach with flexibility and creativity,
finding a balance between individual initiatives and the needs of a prescriptive examination system. Glenalmond pupils perform extremely well in their examinations, but education is not just about attainment; we must also develop thinking skills.
She continues, “I strongly believe that children learn better when they feel valued and nurtured and are not living with fear and anxiety,” a theory backed up by a recent BBC Radio 4 ‘All in the Mind’ programme featuring teenage mental health where psychologist professor Tanya Byron highlighted the fact that 50% of all adult mental health problems show themselves at the tender age of 14. This subject is a hot topic at the moment and gathering pace with the Government recently announcing £1.25 billion of extra funding for child and adolescent mental health services.
Elaine Logan, Glenalmond College’s first female Warden (Head) since its inception in 1847 and also the first female Head of a major Scottish boarding school, speaks to BSA about her inaugural year, her very clear vision for education, and the delicate subject of the EU referendum...