Hamilton College is a co-educational independent school located in Hamilton, Scotland.
We recently caught up with CEO, Katie Morton, to speak about the ethos and success of the school
KM: Fundamental to Hamilton College are – Our Values of innovation, reflection, grace, wisdom, compassion and confidence – through these values, we create a school culture where all our learners feel challenged and driven, energised and inspired, but above all respected, cared for and safe.
Our goal is to allow pupils to grow and flourish as individuals, being encouraged, supported and challenged not only to develop their talents but to also have the self-belief to then use these in the world to create their own impact.
KM: The media have often referred to the last 18 months as a period of lost learning, but at Hamilton College that could not be further from the truth – indeed what has been achieved across the Covid-19 period has been quite remarkable including the roll-out of 1:1 devices for all pupils from J4 upwards, incredible SQA results, upgraded ICT suite, the development of a Transitus model replacing J7, and the launch of our new website and school app.
We opened Session 2020/21 last year with our renewed Vision & Purpose and clear priorities for the year ahead. The past few months could have been an excuse to hunker down, be static and fade; we used it as a catalyst to move ahead, embrace change and flourish.
As a whole school team, we constantly reflect to ensure that we learn from our experiences, adapt, and improve the provision. That has never been more valid and apparent than since March 2020, with our dedicated staff ensuring that the rate of transformation within the school since then has been phenomenal.
And of course, our wonderful children and young people have learned to adapt, to be innovative in their learning and to be resilient to the everyday changes.
KM: The mental health and wellbeing of both learners and staff are key priorities at all times, but lockdown and altered teaching models brought a new dimension to this. For our learners, our Learning Support and Guidance team were a key element in this area working remotely, during lockdown, with those who needed that additional support while being a continuous source of guidance and advice for the general body of young people.
Some young people thrived during the remote teaching and learning model; others did not. For those who struggled, personalised Educational Recovery Plans were put in place focusing on their specific needs when in-school teaching resumed.
As regards our staff, wellbeing was continually monitored, and actions taken as necessary. We offer access to an online “health check and wellbeing” facility but what made the real difference was the whole school team rallied around each other offering to cover and assist colleagues during tougher times.
KM: As an independent school we need to manage our day-to-day as well as strategic risk – whether this is operational, economic, or as regards Health & Safety. Hamilton College is a small establishment in comparison to many schools, with 450 learners aged between 2 and 18 years. As such we need to be able to rely on the advice and overall service provided by all our key professional partners.
Life will always bring accidents and incidents – but that is not the real risk – the real risk to the school would be in not having effective and reactive advisers who can guide and support us through all challenges faced.