Board of Governors

Governors’ Review of Achievements and Performance in 2019/20

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This year, more than ever, the qualities of the School’s management team, led by Rob Taylor (Headmaster since 2014) and John Collins (Bursar since 2017) were put to the test by the COVID crisis. While the initial onset of the virus in March led to a period of weekly meetings involving governors and senior staff, we were lucky to complete the Spring term on Friday March 20th ahead of the national lockdown. From then on, plans were created to introduce a period of remote learning. Staff and children were trained in the use of MS Teams. Computers and tablets were distributed to support those who did not have the necessary hardware at home and hard copies of teaching materials were delivered at the start of the new term. For younger children, this distribution continued throughout the term. The children of key workers were invited into school each day and were supervised in their remote learning alongside a series of onsite activities.

Further modifications were made to the timetable at half-term and Common Entrance exams were managed remotely at the start of June. Unfortunately, the continuing restrictions meant that children were unable to return onsite before the end of the school year, meaning that the Form 8 leavers’ programme had to be conducted entirely online. Nonetheless, the term continued through to the published end of the year on Friday 3rd July.

While we would not have wished this situation upon ourselves, we felt that the entire School responded well to the new challenges of what turned out to be a whole term of remote learning. The staff team pulled together to ensure the ongoing development and welfare of the children. Plans were made for the return to site in August and these continued throughout the Summer holiday.

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In the 2019/20 academic year, pupil numbers were slightly down on last year although still at a healthy level with numbers rising to 308 by the start of the Summer Term, with 38 children in the Nursery, 84 in the 5-8 Pre-Prep age group and 186 in the 8-13 Upper School. Flexible boarding arrangements remained a key part of the character of Cargilfield in the first two terms, with about 50 children resident for all or part of the week. The advantages of a boarding culture are apparent in the offering of evening clubs and academic extras and the vibrancy of full weekend activities such as year-group leadership skills and outward-bound camps. Such flexible arrangements offer a critical first introduction to boarding, allowing parents and their children to consider a full range of subsequent senior school options. This year we stopped the provision of occasional boarding as this tended to undermine the settling routines of boarding but we did offer taster nights for younger children to try boarding with their own year group. These were used but not perhaps as extensively as expected: perhaps confirming that many parents are reluctant to encourage their children towards boarding too young.

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The pastoral care of our children is essential to Cargilfield’s values and its success. This exists within the framework of a family-run environment which is both a school and a second home to many children. We have continued a programme of training staff in managing the welfare and mental health issues facing our children. This process is underpinned by staff who are trained in mental health first aid, our School Nurse and a school counsellor, who is available to support both children and their families. Our senior children have undertaken a revised course of instruction and discussion in Personal, Health and Social Education, working more informally in small groups on Wednesday evenings: something that has now become an established part of our routine. A group of senior children also undertook training as anti-bullying ambassadors.

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The School Nursery was last inspected by the Care Inspectorate in March 2017, and was awarded ‘Very Good’ in both of the categories examined: quality of care and support; and quality of management and leadership. To conclude, the report stated that ‘The staff had high expectations for all children, resulting in confident, motivated, successful learners.’ We expect another inspection soon. The last year saw us continue with a successful Beach Nursery programme, whereby, topics such as sustainability, environmental awareness and positive action are introduced through experiential learning outdoors in a natural setting.

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The Nursery underwent a refurbishment at the beginning of the academic year. New wooden flooring, tables and furniture was purchased and display boards were mounted with natural hessian. The purchase of new furnishings allowed us to evaluate and improve our daily practice and the children’s independent experiences. The Nursery remote learning programme received fantastic feedback from parents and was considered a huge success. Participation was not mandatory; however, the vast majority of children took a very active part.

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The Pre-Prep department celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and this was marked in September with a 40th birthday party to which former parents, children and teachers were invited. The children gave a performance to reflect on what was happening forty years ago and tours of the recently refurbished building were given.

With an average of 16 pupils per class across the School, class sizes remained appropriate to the Cargilfield approach. In Form 8, 37 children sat 13+ Scholarship or Common Entrance, with all gaining entry into their chosen senior schools. In addition, 11 children in Form 8 who were young enough to remain at Cargilfield for another year, also took Common Entrance examinations which were marked internally. 20 scholarships were won by the leaving cohort - and these included 8 academic awards with a King’s Scholarship at Eton and an Oundle Academic Scholarship. We are proud of the School’s strong record for awards over the last ten years but this year was up amongst the best.

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The destination schools remain as diverse as the talents of the pupils themselves, and this year included Clifton College, Dollar Academy, Edinburgh Academy, Eton College, Fettes College, George Heriot’s School, Glenalmond College, Kilgraston School, Loretto School, Merchiston Castle School, Oundle School, Rugby School, Shrewsbury School, and Uppingham School.

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Other academic highlights for the year included our first exchange programme for staff and pupils with St Paul’s school in Maryland, USA. We also held our third Book Festival (this one a remote and online project); a STEM Day for Pre-Prep and Upper School; a French trip for children in Form 7; success for Maths and Debating teams in Scottish National competitions; and our best performance yet in the Townsend Warner History competition for prep schools across Britain, including two results in the top 15 places.

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The School continues to promote an all-round education in every way for each child. The music, art, design and technology departments provide an excellent outlet for the nurturing of specific talents, as well as offering cross-curricular opportunities into the main academic syllabus. Art continues to be a strength at Cargilfield and a popular activity that runs throughout the day with break-time and evening clubs. It was striking that this continued within lockdown, where weekly films and classes encouraged the children to find lateral ways of communicating their artwork with a particular focus on recycling and sustainability and an exploration of elements of art history.

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In Music, we have enthusiastic junior and senior choirs that perform every week in chapel and we were especially pleased this year with two concerts at St Cuthbert’s Cathedral in Edinburgh: one created alongside a number of readers on the theme of ‘Freedom’ and another in a joint performance with the Durham Choristers’ School. This year, we enjoyed one of our best musical cohorts and the standard of the orchestra was as good as we can remember. Likewise, we enjoyed our best pipe band for many years and, as a result, they played at the Scottish Schools Championships (despite being much younger than any other band).

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Music in remote learning was outstanding with almost all children continuing their individual lessons and with weekly concerts recorded for the whole community. These led to a series of former pupil concerts as well as some inventive collaborations of music groups playing from home. The teaching of music theory continues to be popular at Cargilfield with about a third of children in the Upper School working towards external exams.

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We are proud that most children took part in a drama production during the year, be it school or year group plays (including a remote performance for Form 8 which was crafted from individual recordings). Some children took this further with opportunities through the Drama Club productions, while a group of Form 7 and 8 children auditioned and were selected for a joint production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a handful of English schools under the banner of the Aquila Theatre Group: sadly, this wasn’t able to proceed due to the cancellation of the Edinburgh festivals. Debating is now a key part of the curriculum for children in in the Upper School. We have hosted the Scottish Prep Schools Debating Competition for the last four years (winning the main competition this year), and fielded teams in other Scottish competitions where we are often the only junior school competing.

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Sport and outward-bound activities remain core to Cargilfield’s distinctive offering. Games are played every afternoon and allow a mix of activities for girls and boys. While sport can be a life-long passion for some, making it fun for all has to be at the heart of any prep school.

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The 2019/20 year was another successful one on the games field (even though it was cut short) with all four of our boys and girls Under 11 and Under 13 hockey teams qualifying for the IAPS National Hockey Finals (the first time in the School’s history).

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Both Under 13 teams made it through to the latter stages with the girls reaching the quarter finals and the boys finishing 3rd. We have again hosted rugby and hockey 7s tournaments for under 11 boys and girls and both Under 13 teams won the equivalent tournaments at Loretto in October. A number of boys and girls were successful in winning all-rounder and sports scholarships to their senior schools while others represented Scottish prep school, regional and national teams in a variety of sports.

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Our new astroturf facilities were completed with the extension of artificial cricket nets which are now an impressive facility for both boys’ and girls’ cricket. While the loss of the cricket season made it more difficult for us to further extend girls’ cricket, this remains a goal going forward.

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These new facilities also allowed us to extend the number of holiday hockey and tennis camps for Cargilfield and other local children during the Christmas and Autumn holidays.

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The School makes good use of its opportunities in the Scottish countryside. All children in the Upper School have the option to take part in camping trips through the year – and we have developed many intrepid Munro-baggers, canoeists, cyclists and climbers. In Form 7, the whole year group visit the Burn Estate in Kincardineshire for a two-day Geography and Science Field trip. While these opportunities were more limited this summer, teams took part in competitions at St Mary’s Melrose and the inaugural 1847 Challenge at Glenalmond last September.

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The development of chess – now a curriculum subject for Form 4 – and the Eco Club have continued this year while we continue to use recommendations from the School Council and Boarders’ Council to hone the range of evening clubs we offer for both boarders and day children. We are hopeful that a relaxation of COVID rules will soon allow us to return to this full pattern of activities from 8am to 8pm.

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In addition to the regular programme of lectures from visiting speakers, we have re-instituted the Reynolds Lecture. The first annual lecture was given by The Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, who was interviewed for the School by the Headmaster and for parents and visitors by Fiona Henderson. When we are allowed to do so, this will become an annual event to which we will also invite our neighbours in Cramond and Barnton.

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Against the background of enthusiastic staff and pupils, the School has to be fit for purpose. In addition to the new astroturf sports facilities, the last ten years have seen the addition of two new classroom blocks, a new music school, and a substantial changing room facility. Over the last five years, the focus has also been on more mundane, but perhaps more critical, programmes of repair and renewal. The School has completed a major re-roofing project covering the main building and the Chapel, renewed boilers and electrical connections, as well as investing to update our systems and practices in respect of IT, asbestos, water and fire. We have reviewed and updated our approach to property management and health & safety, working with appropriate professional advisers and ensuring adequate training of all staff. A very visible manifestation of this review has been the repairs and alterations to the on-site roadways, which have allowed us to improve parking and ensure School grounds are as safe as possible.

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This year we have completed the refurbishment of our Chapel and Theatre, with the project partially paid for using funds raised by Friends of Cargilfield, introducing new audio/visual equipment to better serve the increasing number of visiting speakers coming to the School. We have also recently completed projects to refurbish the Pre-Prep building, ahead of its 40th anniversary in Autumn 2019 and to introduce new medical, counselling and meeting rooms within the main school building. A new bathroom and staff flat within the girls’ boarding wing have been welcome improvements.


In IT, a series of new initiatives continue to improve the base infrastructure and allow the expansion of technology into teaching and learning. Building on the significant upgrade to broadband capacity completed previously, the servers, Wi-Fi and support systems continue to be improved. Staff are continuing to evaluate the greater integration of iPads and smart boards into curriculum delivery, and the Education Committee continues to work alongside the Senior Management Team to scope out the best strategies for training and development. We have introduced a new Management Information System that is being used much more widely by staff than the previous system – with reporting, daily notes, pastoral records and general pupil records (amongst other things). The School’s finance operations have now also transferred to the new system. These are also our first significant applications to be hosted in the cloud rather than locally hosted on School servers and it is expected that other applications will follow in the future.

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Most significantly for staff, parents and pupils was the use of Microsoft Teams as the main vehicle for teaching in the Summer Term. The School - led by Deputy Head, Ross Murdoch – made sure that all staff and pupils were able to access online learning. This included training for all involved as well as making school hardware available to those who required it and a significant effort in delivering learning materials and monitoring progress and welfare remotely. This aspect of teaching and communication is being further reviewed to improve our performance should it be required in the future.

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From a marketing and communication standpoint, we have re-visited our promotional material and used updated images to produce a new advertising campaign. We continue in our efforts to communicate more effectively with former pupils, implementing a new database to make this much more efficient. A small working party including staff, governors and former pupils is now exploring how to develop this community further with a view to celebrating the School’s 150th anniversary in 2023.

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A significant venture for this year was a project to mark the School’s evacuation to Lawers House in Perthshire from 1939-46. We attempted to communicate with all surviving former pupils from this period and received some lovely replies from a good number of old boys. The project culminated in a Performing Arts production inspired by accounts of life at Lawers which was watched by John Gunn, a former pupil of Cargilfield at Lawers, who travelled up from London to visit the School and mark the occasion.

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The Governors have continued to review their approach to the oversight of the School. In terms of training and the assimilation of best practice, the Governors have continued to attend a series of INSET training activities throughout the year including a presentation by Mungo Dunnett on the current state of independent education. Most pressing within this year has been the reaction to the COVID crisis and the governors have supported the School through regular meetings with the School’s management team as well as extraordinary meetings to review matters such as fee rebates and staff furlough schemes.

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The Education and Welfare Committee continued its work in guiding developments in pastoral care, especially with a view to counselling and children’s mental health. They have also looked at curriculum matters with a particular focus on supporting the development of Curriculum Leaders and building a regular culture of improvement planning. They have helped the re-design of a new and more thorough system for appraisal of teaching staff. The Safeguarding Committee of governors has now established precise reporting criteria so that potential issues can be monitored most effectively.


Cargilfield is proud of its position in the community. Cargilfield buildings and grounds are available to hire for a wide range of activities and events. Within the community the Pipe Band plays regularly in the local area; the Chapel Choir visits nearby nursing homes, as do other groups of children and Cargilfield continues to maintain its very close links with Cramond Kirk. The Sports Hall is used regularly by various groups in the Edinburgh area for badminton, cricket, fencing, football and hockey in particular. Cramond Primary School uses the facilities at the School throughout the course of the year, including holding its annual sports day at Cargilfield.

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The Cargilfield Activity Week during the summer is open not only to Cargilfield children, but also to others in the Edinburgh area. Similar holiday coaching camps for football, fencing, tennis, hockey and Young Engineers are also hosted. The annual Christmas Fair is open to the public and continues to be very popular. We look very favourably on all applications from outside Cargilfield to use Cargilfield grounds and facilities. Some of the groups which use Cargilfield do so free of charge. In other cases, there is a very low hourly-rate.

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Sadly, all of these activities were put on hold from March 2020 due to COVID restrictions and we are currently exploring how we can bring visiting groups back on site later in the year. The impact upon our charitable fund-raising was, therefore, significant. The two main fund-raising activities - The Pentland Round (a sponsored walk through the local hills enjoyed by all members of the community) and the Summer Fair – had to be cancelled.

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The Macmillan Coffee Morning and the Christmas Fair did go ahead along with other bakes sales for projects nominated by the children. Over £550 was raised from Chapel collections for the Almond Mains Initiative (a local charity supporting the elderly in the community). There was also a collection of food for the Fresh Start Charity. Over £100 was also raised from a public performance of the pipe band on the front at Cramond.

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The three main charities selected by the Upper School and Pre Prep children and the Friends of Cargilfield for 2019/20 were Super Troop (organising holidays for children and young people with disabilities); Penumbra (a Scottish Mental Health Charity) and Dogs for Good (involved in providing assistance dogs for those in need). Given that the funds raised last year were down on what we would normally expect, we plan to stick with largely the same charities for the 2020/21 year. In spite of the restrictions this year, children and parents still raised in excess of £2,200 for the School’s charity partners.


There is a continued emphasis from the School and the Board of Governors to use bursaries to enable access to pupils from a wide range of backgrounds and to maintain the social mix and diversity of the School. Bursary support is available from Form 4 and includes 100% awards. This has enabled some children to attend the School who would not otherwise have been able to do so, and is accompanied by appropriate guidance when such pupils are looking at senior school places. Recent years have seen the beneficiaries of the bursary scheme move on to fully assisted places at major public schools in both Scotland and England. Some recent examples include:

  • Girl 1 Won a scholarship to a major English boarding school.
  • Boy 1 Was a successful all-rounder and was given a subsequent bursary to a major English boarding school.
  • Girl 2 Won a music award and was given a subsequent bursary to a major Scottish boarding school.
  • Boy 2 Was appointed a prefect and won a sports scholarship to a major Scottish boarding school.
  • Girl 3 Won an academic scholarship to a major Scottish boarding school.
  • Boy 3 Was an extremely successful musician and sportsman and was given a subsequent bursary to a major Scottish boarding school.

The total number of means tested bursaries awarded was 13 (2019: 14), with an annual value of £170,668 (2019: £178,028). Two pupils received 100% bursaries during the year (2019: 3) and a further six pupils received bursaries of 90% or above (2019: 3). The School continues its ongoing support for this purpose, and the value of the designated Bursary Fund at 31 July 2020 was £1,039,110 (2019: £1,019,583).

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Our future plans reflect our commitment to an excellent all-round education for pupils within a flexible boarding and day environment, delivered by a professional and motivated staff. In the short term, these will be driven by the ongoing demands of the COVID crisis and will include the lessons learnt from this experience as well as exploring the best ways of returning to our normal routines within government guidelines.

Learning We feel that we offered the very best remote learning during lockdown and we are determined to make sure that this continues whatever the circumstances of the new academic year. We will review the successes and challenges of remote learning and will create a policy to prepare our families and staff for possible scenarios of remote or blended learning. We plan to implement a targeted reading scheme for children as the first part of plans to further develop our library. We also plan to extend the language experience for our Form 8 leavers.

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Breadth of Experience This is one of the greatest strengths of a Cargilfield education and will, inevitably, be restricted in the initial return to school. We will explore how we manage a full programme of sport and include opportunities for competitive matches both within the school and against other schools. Music and theatrical opportunities will be limited and yet we will explore how to achieve live music lessons and ensemble opportunities in a safe fashion. Building on the experience of last term, we will create other performance opportunities through our remote platforms. Restoring a full range of extra-curricular clubs and wider boarding opportunities will be a priority for the year.

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Welfare Despite the obvious excitement amongst all of the school community to return on site, we realise the challenges of the last six months for a number of our families will require increased vigilance and will test our pastoral structures. The changes to the school routine will require a different approach to boarding and we will adapt our evening routines to achieve this. We plan to support boarding at Cargilfield by developing the common room facilities to create a more pleasant and practical environment.

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Outcomes While we are proud of the successful outcomes achieved by children leaving Cargilfield, the events of the last twelve months have reminded us that a Cargilfield education must play its part in a more equal society and we will be exploring that with particular reference to race and gender.

Staff Development With all of the challenges facing the staff over the last six months and going forward, we are delighted with how they have responded with energy and imagination to fresh challenges. Supporting their welfare will be a particular emphasis for the management team this year, including maintaining childcare support at key times and purchasing new hardware to support different working patterns. We will, however, also begin to implement the new two-stage appraisal process.

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Communication and Recruitment With a school site that cannot welcome parents or visitors in the same way that it has previously, the need to communicate effectively with our community will become all the more important. We will continue to prepare for our 150th anniversary in 2023, by completing our database of former pupils and will adapt the visits of prospective parents to times when children and staff are not on site. We have exciting plans for further marketing the school to a wider community which will include offering more bursary opportunities to families who would not, otherwise, be able to access a Cargilfield education.

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Finance, Infrastructure and Administration This has been an area of significant development over the last few years. Building upon the platform of a new school-wide management information system that was implemented at the start of the academic year, we will integrate finance and communication systems which will improve our interface with the parent body and allow us to become more efficient and responsive in our back-office processes.

Facilities and Environment While are proud of the extent of our facilities and the lovely environment in which we live and work, there will be further improvements to the physical infrastructure of the School. These will include improvements to the boarding area, the Nursery garden and other outdoor learning spaces.

Despite the challenges that we expect the next year to hold, we are excited about the strong position from which we are approaching these.

All such activities will be reviewed and prioritised by the Board as part of a rolling three-year financial plan which will ensure that Cargilfield enters its second sesquicentenary in a strong financial position and as relevant and progressive as it was at its foundation in 1873.

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See the school accounts at the bottom of this page.

The Governors

Mr David Nisbet

Mr David Nisbet, BA (Hons) Chairman (FGP, G&N)

After University in Leicester, David started his career at the Bristol Evening Post. He then worked for the BBC for more than 15 years in television and radio news and current affairs. He left in 1998 to work in Corporate Communications and in 2004 he joined Cairn Energy PLC and is currently their Director Group Corporate Affairs, with responsibility for Investor Relations and Communications. He is also a board member of the Winning Scotland Foundation. David has three children all of whom attended Cargilfield. He has stood on most touchlines for whatever sport, watching all three play games at prep and senior schools across the UK. He joined the Board in 2011.

Rachel Bucknall

Mrs Rachel Bucknall

Rachel is a director of the TBC Pub Company which owns and runs The Bridge Inn at Ratho, and The Ship Inn and The 19th Hole in Elie. She was brought up near Kelso and educated at Queen Mary’s in Helmsley and then at Haileybury College before going to York University to study music. She has three children all of whom went to Cargilfield from nursery, and then went onto Rugby School. She was Chair of Friends of Cargilfield for a number of years and her brothers, father and grandfather are all past pupils, making Cargilfield truly run through her veins. In her spare time Rachel sings for The Scottish Chamber Choir, occasionally plays for The Scottish Sinfonia, and looks after her small-holding producing meat, vegetables and eggs for her pubs. Rachel joined the Board in 2017, and takes a particular interest in marketing and contact with Old Cargundians.

Mrs Caroline Cook

Mrs Caroline Cook, MA (Cantab), (Vice Chairman, FGP, G&N)

Caroline has three children, all of whom have been to Cargilfield. The elder two went on to Wycombe Abbey and Harrow, while the youngest has recently joined Fettes. After graduating in Modern History from Cambridge, Caroline began a career in investment banking specialising in the oil and gas sector. Moving to Edinburgh in the early 1990s, she became co-head of Deutsche Bank’s top rated equities team. Since 2016, work has been focused on governance and the energy transition, and as of January 2020, at Baillie Gifford. Beyond work and washing-up, Caroline is generally to be found outside – either on a bike or in the hills. She joined the Cargilfield Board in 2013, and her main responsibilities concern the school’s finances and planning.

Ms Elaine Logan (Education) MA

Ms Elaine Logan (Education) MA, PGCE, PGC Counselling and PGC Pupil Support, (Education and Welfare)

Elaine was Warden at Glenalmond College before retiring in August 2019. She read English at Edinburgh University and completed her PGCE at Moray House. Her first teaching appointment was at Viewforth High School in Kirkcaldy, after which she spent 14 years at Dollar Academy. Throughout her time at Dollar she was a Housemistress and Principal teacher of Guidance. During this time she completed Post Graduate Certificates in Counselling and in Guidance and Pupil Support. She joined Loretto School in 2001 as a Housemistress and became a member of Loretto SMT in 2006. She held the positions of Assistant Head Pastoral Care, Director of Compliance, Inspections and Child Protection, Deputy Head and Acting Head. She joined the Board in 2015.

Mrs Sally Hamilton

Mrs Sally Hamilton, LLB, DipLP

Sally has two children both of whom attended Cargilfield before going on to Glenalmond College where they are still pupils. She chaired the Friends of Cargilfield for almost three years and has always been a keen supporter of the school. Sally worked as a solicitor in Edinburgh working in commercial/civil litigation and latterly criminal cases before ‘retiring’ to bring up her children. She then became involved in supporting several charities and is now employed part-time advising a Family Trust. Whilst her days as a keen sportswoman are long behind her she enjoys country sports, entertaining and skiing badly.

Professor Morwenna Wood, MA (Oxon)

Professor Morwenna Wood, MA (Oxon), MBBS (London), FRCP (Edin) (Education and Welfare)

Morwenna Nyirenda (Wood) qualified as a doctor from University College London in 1991 and prior to that did PPE at Balliol College, Oxford, and worked as a teacher in Nigeria with Voluntary Services Overseas. She worked in London, Oxford and Nottingham before moving to Scotland in 1997. She has been a Consultant Nephrologist since 2002 and Director of Medical Education in NHS Fife since 2008. She has honorary status as Professor with University of St Andrews and as Senior Lecturer with University of Edinburgh.

She has three daughters who have all been at Cargilfield from Nursery onwards. Zengani, Lunjika and Chidaro are now all at Rugby School. Morwenna loves to be outside when she can and her hobbies include walking and gardening. She joined the Board in 2015, and leads the Board on medical and welfare issues.

Mrs Susan Younger

Mrs Susan Younger, LLB, DipLP, W.S., (FGP, G&N)

Susan was brought up in Southern Ireland and Scotland where she attended St Margaret’s School, Newington. She studied Law in Aberdeen and moved to Edinburgh to work as a lawyer for 28 years, latterly as a Partner and Head of Banking for Morton Fraser LLP. Whilst maintaining her practising certificate with the Law Society for Scotland she changed the focus of her career on October 2015 and took over as Chief Executive of Cairn Mhor Childcare Partnership Limited, a company based in Fife, a position Susan held until March 2019. Cairn Mhor operates 3 children’s residential homes in Leven, Freuchie and Falkland looking after 11 children placed in care by the Local Authorities. This position combined Susan’s interest in the law around young people and running a business providing support and nurture for children who have all had very challenging starts to their lives. She has 3 girls who all attended Cargilfield, as did her husband Mike Younger. Susan joined the Board in 2016 and leads on legal matters.

Mr Andrew MacGregor

Mr Andrew McGregor, MA (Cantab) (Education and Welfare)

Following school at University College School, Hampstead, Andrew read Classics at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He began his career at Brentwood School before joining Harrow School in 1987, where he taught for three decades. He was House Master of The Head Master’s before his appointment to Harrow’s Senior Management Team in September 2012. As Senior Tutor, he oversaw safeguarding and child protection as well as other areas of pastoral care and pupil welfare. Andrew takes a keen interest in all forms of sport. He is a published playwright with a love of musical theatre and continues to use his tenor voice wherever possible (most recently with Chelmsford Cathedral Choir). Andrew joined the Board in 2018. He is a member of the Education and Welfare Committee.

Mr Brian Thomson

Mr Brian Thomson (FGP)

Brian has two children who spent a combined 14 years at Cargilfield. He is an avid Cargilfield sports fan who has tagged along on eight sports tours involving rugby, hockey and netball and stood pitch-side for countless matches. Brian hails from Canada and has been living in the UK with his family since 2012. After graduating in Astronomy from Columbia University, Brian entered the quantitative trading world in New York. After some years at Chemical Bank and Interactive Brokers, he founded Hardcastle Trading in Switzerland in 1998 where he served as CEO until 2012 and more recently as chairman. Brian spent his teenage years at a Scottish traditional boarding school in Canada and is delighted to be associated with Cargilfield.

Purpose and Governance

Cargilfield School was founded in 1873 as a Charitable Trust, with the principal object of providing the best education for its pupils. The Headmaster is in charge of the day-to-day management of the School, and reports to the Board of Governors. The Board is charged with ensuring the long term stability and effectiveness of the Trust, and is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the School in partnership with the Headmaster and the Senior Management Team.

Governing Documents

The charitable company is governed by its Articles of Association, and publishes its report and accounts annually. The School is subject to review by the Office of the Scottish Charities regulator (OSCR), to ensure that it meets the appropriate charity tests and continues to deliver public benefit. This is a rolling process, and the School was last reviewed, and passed, in 2011.

Board of Governors

The Board generally has a membership of around 10 with the intent of drawing together a variety of skills and experiences appropriate to the functions of the School. In addition to education and the provision of a safe environment, it is particularly important that the Board can offer leadership in legal, financial, medical and commercial matters.

The Governors are appointed by the Board. The composition reflects a mix of past and current parents, former pupils, education professionals and independents with particularly relevant expertise. Generally, members will serve a maximum of two terms of four years each. The position is unpaid.

The Chairman of the Board is Mr David Nisbet.


The Board encourages an open communications policy. Its members are in attendance at a range of school events, and meet frequently with representatives of the Friends of Cargilfield and the School staff.

While more formal issues or queries should be addressed to the Headmaster in the first instance, the Chairman of the Board can always be contacted through the school office. This can be done by post:

Clerk to the Governors,

45 Gamekeeper’s Road,



Or by email to [email protected], for the attention of ‘Clerk to the Governors’.

Cargilfield: The Enduring Objectives

The Governors have agreed the following enduring objectives to underpin the general strategic direction of the school:

  • To provide the highest standards of teaching; attracting and developing the highest caliber of staff
  • To deliver an excellent educational outcome for each child by developing their specific interests and abilities to maximize choices for the future
  • To ensure a broad and challenging educational programme that can stretch and nurture each child
  • To maintain a boarding/day mix for children 3-13 for entry into the leading Senior Schools across the UK
  • To provide an active environment for Sport, Drama, Music and wider extracurricular activities
  • To ensure excellent standards in pastoral care and child welfare from Nursery to 13+
  • To enable the focus on each child through appropriately small class sizes
  • To create a sustainable financial foundation for the long term future of the school

The Board at work

Supplemented by the work of its committees, the full Board meets at least once a term. The Board’s main objective is to formulate a clear strategy and direction for the School, in partnership with the Headmaster and his Senior Management Team, while ensuring its financial stability. The members of the Board support the leadership and administration of the School both directly, and through the appointment of appropriate external advisers.

At each termly meeting, the Board takes reports from the Headmaster and the Bursar addressing the broad educational, pastoral and financial needs of the School, and always considers critical issues such as child protection, health & safety and a broad review of potential risks. The reports of the various committees described below are tabled and discussed. In addition, the Board holds a strategy meeting early in the Spring Term of each year to consider the longer term direction and management of Cargilfield.

Finance and General Purposes Committee (FGP)

The Finance and General Purposes Committee, assisted by the Headmaster and the Bursar, is responsible for overseeing the financial performance and outlook of the School. The committee recommends to the Board proposals on capital expenditure, fees, staff contracts and employment conditions, and the strategy for pupil and staff numbers. It is responsible for overseeing the investment of financial reserves, and for reviewing the annual accounts. In addition to its responsibility for overseeing risk assessment and mitigation, the FGP also carries the remit for ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory matters such as Charity and Company law. The FGP committee oversees the property of the School. This includes the maintenance of the existing estate, the management of the assets and new building works. Health and Safety issues are considered by an internal committee with a direct report to the full Board.

The FGP committee meets at least once a term and is supported in its work by the Company Secretary (Chiene & Tait), the Auditor (Scott-Moncrieff), financial advisers (Turcan Connell), and HR consultants (Navigator). The Chairman of the FGP is Mrs Caroline Cook.

Education and Welfare Committee

The Education and Welfare Committee of the Board is responsible for overseeing the broad educational approach at Cargilfield, and meets twice a year. The committee comprises members of the Governing Board and the Senior Management team and provides a forum for consideration of the curriculum, teaching and learning in the school, extra-curricular activities and pastoral issues. The Chairman of the Committee is Mr Andrew McGregor.

The Governance and Nominations Committee

This committee meets at least once a year and its purpose is to maximize the effectiveness of the Board. Its remit covers issues such as the structure, development and membership of the Board, as well as succession planning for the School’s Senior Management Team. The committee works closely with the FGP Committee in the assessment and mitigation of risks that could impact on Cargilfield. The Chairman of the Committee is Mrs Susan Younger.

School Accounts

Cargilfield Accounts 2020

Cargilfield Connected

We can’t welcome you to our grounds right now, but we can offer you a virtual tour and we can answer questions via email or telephone. We especially like to chat face-to-face on a video call.

We have places available for 2021 entry in most year groups.

For now, we hope that this video, presented by our Headmaster, Mr Rob Taylor, will give you a flavour of what life is like here at Cargilfield. Our website and social media channels are kept up to date and hold a wealth of information about our school.

Our Registrar, Fiona Craig is available to contact via email: [email protected] and she will be happy to help you. Thank you

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