Hello! My name is Alex and I am Head Girl at Clifton Hall. I was fortunate enough to move to Clifton Hall at the beginning of S5 – I am continuing my secondary education after moving from Dubai. Moving from, what seems like, one end of the world to another, Clifton Hall has accepted my two brothers and me. That’s what Clifton Hall has taught me almost instantly- they accept you into the school family regardless of where you come from.
Clifton Hall has thousands of great qualities. Number one being the size of the school. Currently, counting up the number of students from nursery to S6, we have approximately 371 students. In S6 alone, there are 20 students. I think this is brilliant because of the strong connection between the students and the excellent teachers here. Having around 30 students per year is important – it means that every student is seen and heard. This reflects the atmosphere around school. It feels like family. Especially around Christmas!
Sport at Clifton Hall is fantastic. Rugby and hockey are our main sports; however, we also have a brilliant football team which is going on tour this year. We also take pride in our athletics where we compete annually on sports day. We put the 50 acres of land to good use! Not to mention Rosie Brown, a current S4 pupil who came 1st in Scotland for pole vaulting in the recent Scottish Championships. Four students, including myself, from Clifton Hall went on tour to Amsterdam to play against different nations over the summer in Scottish Touch. I can proudly say that I play for Scotland in 7s rugby and additionally another 2 students from S4, Andrew Hoggarth and Cameron Lessels play for Edinburgh Rugby U16s. There are many more individual achievements in sports such as scuba diving, taekwondo, swimming and golf. Sport is a massive aspect of school life here. Our PE department is run by Mr Nettleton, Mrs Drummond, Mr Imrie and Mr Crawford, who run clubs during break and lunch too. Here at Clifton Hall our PE teachers are extremely supportive and cater to everyone’s sporting aspirations.
An opportunity we embrace highly is the Duke of Edinburgh award, which is considered of high value when applying for university or for a job. We offer the chance to complete the Bronze award in S3, and we continue to complete Silver and Gold as you go through the school.
Junior school learning at Clifton Hall is very creative. When the weather is warm and sunny, teachers take their class to the outdoor classroom which was built with the help of the students. Mr Clements, who teaches J4, has brought his teachings outside to inform his students about the Woodlands. They studied trees, plants and animals found in Scottish and British rural areas. Indulging more on outdoor experiences, J7 go to Raasay annually. They enjoy exploring the island and taking part in outdoor pursuits, including canoeing, sailing, climbing, abseiling, orienteering, ‘coasteering’ and archery!
Our music department is nothing short of invigorating. Mrs Shields and her fellow music teachers give the opportunity to learn the violin, guitar, piano, flute, voice and many more. These lessons are available to both Juniors and Seniors. We also have many choirs, and we have six music rooms dedicated to composing and improving our musical skills.
Miss Beaton runs our very dedicated art department. It’s inspiring to see the architectural designs, costumes and creative pieces of art work around school. You never know what to expect when you walk into the art room. There’s always something that catches your eye.
The very dramatic Mr Mann, spends his days at Clifton Hall preparing his students for the shows around school. The performances are open to Junior and Senior school, and never fail to disappoint. They get better and better each year.
I haven’t been fortunate enough to work with every teacher here at Clifton Hall, but the teachers that have taken their time to work with me have inspired me to do the best I can do. School is meant to be the best part of your life, and that is exactly what I’m experiencing. There is never a dull moment here, there is always something going on that provides opportunities which cater for everyone’s needs and aspirations.
A quote from Albert Einstein, which I’m sure you’ve heard before, really captures the educational ambience here at Clifton Hall. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid.” You get judged at Clifton Hall by your willingness to take part – we’re all geniuses in our own way.
Alexandra Ward, Head Girl, 2016-17