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Belhaven Hill School Celebrates Centenary with Launch of New Bursaries

Belhaven Hill School Celebrates Centenary and New Bursaries
Belhaven Hill School Celebrates Centenary and New Bursaries

In May 1923, Belhaven Hill School (known simply as ‘Belhaven’) in Dunbar, East Lothian, opened its doors to four boys with a staff of four. As the School celebrates its Centenary this year, it is still a small school with 144 pupils aged 5 to 13 on the roll this term. The original Prep School now includes a new Pre-Prep opened last year.

To celebrate, the boarding and day school has launched a Centenary Campaign to support two initiatives; a Centenary Awards programme to raise substantial funds for bursaries for new pupils and a Centenary Projects fund for investing in new facilities at the School to be used by its pupils and others in the community. The high point of the 100th birthday celebrations was a Centenary Ball in Belhaven’s grounds on 27th May 2023 for 600 members of the wider Belhaven School community, launching the School into its second century in real style.

The party was supported by a massed school pipe band of more than 50 pipers and drummers drawn from multiple generations of current and former pupils. It also provided an opportunity to raise more funds via an auction of sixty lots, generously donated by supporters of the School.

While much has changed at Belhaven, pupils still enjoy many of the same traditions: the Thursday run, the Mansfield Music Cup, the Spoken English Competition, Mastermind, games on the beach and match teas. The school has welcomed girls for more than a quarter of a century, and, like the boys, the girls enjoy a wide range of team sports including cricket and football.

“Our vision for Belhaven’s future is underpinned by our enduring core values: the courage to forge out on one’s own, the courtesy to inspire loyalty and support, and the creativity to enhance our immediate surroundings for the benefit of all,” says Olly Langton, Belhaven’s Headmaster. “We aim to give our pupils the ability to solve problems with wisdom and empathy so that they have the capacity to adapt and flourish in a turbulent world.

“Our boys and girls still have good manners and ready smiles, but there is no shortage of ambition or ability, as demonstrated by this year’s leavers being awarded nineteen scholarships to senior schools. We also embrace digital education which resulted in five Belhaven pupils winning the prestigious, national, PA Raspberry Pi coding and design competition in 2022.”

“We aim to equip our pupils with both the skillset and the mindset to meet the challenges of the 21st Century,” continues Mr Langton. “The life-changing bursaries we already provide through our new Belhaven Centenary Awards programme are a powerful way for us to share excellence and opportunity. The first three Centenary Award holders are already benefiting from transformational bursaries at the School and we hope to attract more applicants in the years to come.”

“In addition, Belhaven’s Centenary Projects initiative will fund an inspirational digital Makerspace and a proposed Sports and Performing Arts Hub, all for sharing with the local community. Overall, we have a very ambitious fund-raising development target of £2 million.”

In December 2022, as part of the Centenary celebrations, Belhaven pupils planted a new Centenary woodland of native trees on land donated by the McNicol family near North Berwick, overlooking Tantallon Castle and the Bass Rock. Each pupil in the School planted a tree and marked it with a named stake in commemoration of the event. The woodland, which has been registered as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project, incorporates an outdoor classroom which will be available for use by local schools as the wood grows and develops.

Camilla Gray Muir, Chair of Governors, adds: “Belhaven remains at heart a family school, a happy ‘home with classrooms’ and the care of its pupils was graded as ‘Excellent’ by the Care Inspectorate this year.

“The loyalty and affection that Belhaven enjoys is extraordinary. Reflecting this, a pupil who will be the fourth generation of his family to attend Belhaven, will join the School this September.”

There’s more information on Belhaven Hill School on their website.


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