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Interview with Ali Kinge, Headmistress of Ardvreck School

We asked Ali Kinge, Headmistress of Ardvreck, a boarding prep school located in Crieff Perthshire, about the benefits for children being educated in this idyllic setting.

How has the school adapted during the pandemic - is it all remote teaching? Ardvreck School is resilience personified. Nothing can stop its feisty ethos and this is exemplified in how the school has tackled distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. After a live assembly, with live hymn singing, live lessons were delivered every morning for 3 to 13 year olds and, in the afternoons, the children were set free to complete fun, outdoor challenges which were monitored by tutors. A full programme of pastoral care was put in place, overseen by the child’s tutor, with online instrumental and LAMDA lessons also in operation! With a nod to the school’s renowned robust spirit, we named it An Ard-e Education! The feedback from pupils and parents is super positive and the entire Ardvreck family had great fun! One of our amusements was putting together the following movie which is proof that, during Ard times, Ard pupils, parents and teachers don’t get down, they GIT UP

What makes Ardvreck special ? The people – the children, the staff and the parents all play an equal part in making this school the home from home which so many families seek for their children. Any school can provide excellent academic rigour, a strong pastoral ethos and a broad co-curricular programme, all of which we do outstandingly well as this year our leavers are scattering to ten different schools across the UK, including to Eton and St Mary’s, Ascot. However, we truly believe that the real value of a rural, prep school education lies in the things that are remembered long after what was taught has been forgotten. The things that contribute to defining not what we know, but who we are. We also recognise that music is an extremely important part of a child’s upbringing; it is a way of expressing feelings as well as emotions. We are exceptionally fortunate in having two resident, professional opera singers and a professional violinist on our team and, alongside the constant, joyful laughter, there is music of all kinds around every corner. Our traditional ensembles and choirs are robust and, due to our Scottish roots, the school’s repertoire is injected with the Celtic kick of a full pipe band and a ceilidh band which provides music for our regular, raucous reeling! Drama always culminates in a spectacular musical – do take a peek at the most recent trailer for our Lion King production! How would you describe your ethos and teaching staff at Ardvreck? We firmly believe classrooms do not need walls. As well as outdoor lessons, the entire school regularly adventures into the exciting, natural playground on our doorstep to undertake Barvicks (expeditions) and a regular Ard Challenge This is most definitely the school every grown-up wishes they had attended as a child. It’s where kindness, courtesy and good manners are at the forefront of every human interaction. It’s an environment where working hard and playing hard are of equal importance and where good humour and fun permeate every undertaking. We firmly believe that there is definitely nothing old-fashioned about traditional values. The wild, Scottish wilderness is one of the greatest of all educators - and that’s certainly saying something given that our actual team of terrific teachers is second to none. Many of them live on site and, without exception, each one is talented, intelligent, committed, loyal, hard-working and incredible amounts of fun. They are movers and shakers, optimists, can doers, smilers and who all care, beyond belief, about the education and wellbeing of every single child in our school.  If city parents are unsure if a boarding or rural eduction would suit their child what advice would you give? Tucked away from the stresses and strains of modern life, in breathtaking Scottish countryside, Ardvreck Preparatory School nurtures and educates your children in a caring, and loving, family environment. Visitors gasp at the awe inspiring views of doorstep Munros as they make their way up the school’s sweeping drive. Their attention is soon diverted to the even more thrilling spectacle of laughing, be-kilted and wellied children hanging out of trees, hiding in Dens or building dams in the burn which flows down the Headmistress’ lawn. The heavens here are fresh and pure; the Milky Way is a constant presence on a cloudless night and sightings of the Northern Lights a frequent treat. The pure, un-polluted atmosphere ensures that our pupils’ eyes shine with wonder and their cheeks constantly bloom with a rosy glow. Who could imagine that this idyllic childhood, seemingly so far from the sinful city, is just one hour from the worldwide gateways of both Edinburgh and Glasgow? 

Ardvreck School, Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland PH7 4EX

Telephone: + 44 (0) 1764 653112 Email:


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