Archive of: September, 2021

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The importance of chapel

As you approach Cargilfield from Gamekeeper’s Road, the first building that you are likely to see is the chapel and, more than any other part of Cargilfield, it is at the heart of our life.

When it was first envisaged by the Headmaster, governors, teachers and parents of Cargilfield as a memorial to the 126 old boys who had lost their life in the Great War, the main entrance to the school was from Barnton Avenue and this might have seemed more discreetly tucked away. Nonetheless, the decision to link the chapel to the main school building, rather than as a separate entity, was inspired.

Our belief is that the chapel was first used in 1921. There were further improvements made within the first decade of its existence which have continued since – including the wonderful new curtains and other refurbishments that were given to us by the Friends of Cargilfield from their fund raising a few years ago.

Back in 1921, a Cargilfield curriculum would have looked rather different with a greater emphasis on Latin and Greek, Scripture and a more traditional approach to the study of English and Mathematics. The study of Science would have been more limited and PSHE unheard of. There were no girls, no nursery or pre prep and day pupils would have been a real exception.

At the end opposite the memorial, a reading room was built: the forerunner of our library and perhaps a place intended for quite reflection. The stage followed when the library was built in 1973 and so chapel increasingly became a place where plays were performed, reels danced, debates argued and other groups congregated.

Nonetheless, our chapel – as a place not just for plays, debates and Christmas Fairs but where the school gathers for worship, reflection and communal singing – remains at the heart of a Cargilfield education. The number of our families who will regularly attend their own local churches has inevitably declined in line with the rest of Scottish and British society. Perhaps, therefore, it is increasingly important that a school expose its children to the traditions of hymn singing, bible stories, prayer and to faith in general.

These are, of course, also the words, stories, and traditions that underpin the literature, art, music and general culture of the Western world but this is more than just teaching cultural references. Ideas that may no longer seem at the heart of daily life will often take on real significance at key moments in our lives: be they moments of joy such as weddings or the birth of children or moments of crisis such as illness or the deaths of those close to us. Experience tells me that these are the moments when our former pupils return to the well-established routines that perhaps started at school and now provide solace or reassurance.

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We delight in the fact that some of our families practise faiths other than Christianity and we must be sensitive the fact that many families may have rejected faith entirely. Nonetheless, we are all aware of the magnificent memorial at the eastern end of our chapel and, as we come together with words and music, we also remember the names written there. In learning to speak up or sing and perform with confidence and skill in front of our peers, we develop skills that will serve us well in our lives but we also do honour to those that came before us (and sat on those same pews).

Likewise, our relationship with both Cramond Kirk and Holy Cross in Davidson’s Mains through our chapel services – something that wasn’t interrupted by building our own chapel (indeed, the second headmaster of Cargilfield was instrumental in the building of Holy Cross) helps Cargilfield to stay in touch with our local community.

When I am lucky enough to visit other schools and to join their students and teachers as they gather to sing or read aloud from the Bible or other important texts, I will often judge the character of a school by the spirit that they show or the atmosphere created on those occasions. When we are able to have you join us again in chapel (and we hope that some of you will, at least, be able to help us mark the 100th anniversary of chapel on Friday 12th November this year), I hope that this will also give you an idea of the character of Cargilfield.

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Rob Taylor

Headmaster

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The importance of chapel

As you approach Cargilfield from Gamekeeper’s Road, the first building that you are likely to see is the chapel and, more than any other part of Cargilfield, it is at the heart of our life.

When it was first envisaged by the Headmaster, governors, teachers and parents of Cargilfield as a memorial to the 126 old boys who had lost their life in the Great War, the main entrance to the school was from Barnton Avenue and this might have seemed more discreetly tucked away. Nonetheless, the decision to link the chapel to the main school building, rather than as a separate entity, was inspired.

Our belief is that the chapel was first used in 1921. There were further improvements made within the first decade of its existence which have continued since – including the wonderful new curtains and other refurbishments that were given to us by the Friends of Cargilfield from their fund raising a few years ago.

Back in 1921, a Cargilfield curriculum would have looked rather different with a greater emphasis on Latin and Greek, Scripture and a more traditional approach to the study of English and Mathematics. The study of Science would have been more limited and PSHE unheard of. There were no girls, no nursery or pre prep and day pupils would have been a real exception.

At the end opposite the memorial, a reading room was built: the forerunner of our library and perhaps a place intended for quite reflection. The stage followed when the library was built in 1973 and so chapel increasingly became a place where plays were performed, reels danced, debates argued and other groups congregated.

Nonetheless, our chapel – as a place not just for plays, debates and Christmas Fairs but where the school gathers for worship, reflection and communal singing – remains at the heart of a Cargilfield education. The number of our families who will regularly attend their own local churches has inevitably declined in line with the rest of Scottish and British society. Perhaps, therefore, it is increasingly important that a school expose its children to the traditions of hymn singing, bible stories, prayer and to faith in general.

These are, of course, also the words, stories, and traditions that underpin the literature, art, music and general culture of the Western world but this is more than just teaching cultural references. Ideas that may no longer seem at the heart of daily life will often take on real significance at key moments in our lives: be they moments of joy such as weddings or the birth of children or moments of crisis such as illness or the deaths of those close to us. Experience tells me that these are the moments when our former pupils return to the well-established routines that perhaps started at school and now provide solace or reassurance.

06A451F9 0EDC 4AAA A97A DE7E1445086A

6D462794 63CD 4C5F B712 AE7326BB5082

perch_rightColBody

We delight in the fact that some of our families practise faiths other than Christianity and we must be sensitive the fact that many families may have rejected faith entirely. Nonetheless, we are all aware of the magnificent memorial at the eastern end of our chapel and, as we come together with words and music, we also remember the names written there. In learning to speak up or sing and perform with confidence and skill in front of our peers, we develop skills that will serve us well in our lives but we also do honour to those that came before us (and sat on those same pews).

Likewise, our relationship with both Cramond Kirk and Holy Cross in Davidson’s Mains through our chapel services – something that wasn’t interrupted by building our own chapel (indeed, the second headmaster of Cargilfield was instrumental in the building of Holy Cross) helps Cargilfield to stay in touch with our local community.

When I am lucky enough to visit other schools and to join their students and teachers as they gather to sing or read aloud from the Bible or other important texts, I will often judge the character of a school by the spirit that they show or the atmosphere created on those occasions. When we are able to have you join us again in chapel (and we hope that some of you will, at least, be able to help us mark the 100th anniversary of chapel on Friday 12th November this year), I hope that this will also give you an idea of the character of Cargilfield.

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Rob Taylor

Headmaster

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Cargilfield

The importance of Chapel

100 years old and still the centre of the school

Read More


Posted on

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We need poetry. We really do. Reading poetry promotes literacy and fosters emotional resilience; it can cross boundaries that little else can.  I well remember the first time I had to learn a poem by heart at Prep School aged 9: the joy of spending time browsing through so many dog eared and well thumbed anthologies looking for one which resonated with me…..in the end, I chose a Spike Milligan classic ‘Silly Old Baboon’ and remember the laughter from my audience as I ran around the room holding my bottom as if it was on fire at the end of the poem! My nervousness was soon replaced with a real sense of joy and achievement in that I had entertained my friends (and my teacher!) and realised that I could do it, and that all the hard work learning the poem had been worth it. Indeed, once you learn a poem by heart, you never forget it, and I can still remember it today……’There was a baboon, who one afternoon, said I think I will fly to the sun, so with two great palms strapped to his arms, he started his take off run…..’. It still makes me laugh to this day!

Here are a few reasons why we need poetry in our schools, and thankfully poetry, both writing and performance, remains alive and well at Cargilfield.

Reason 1: Poetry helps us know each other and build community. It can allow children to paint pictures of their lives, using metaphor, imagery and symbolic language to describe painful experiences, or parts of themselves that they're not ready to share. Poetry allows children to put language to use-to make it serve a deep internal purpose, to break rules along the way (grammar, punctuation) and to find a voice, representation, community perhaps.

Reason 2: When read aloud, poetry is rhythm and music and sounds and beats. Young children -- babies and pre schoolers included -- may not understand all the words or meaning, but they'll feel the rhythms, get curious about what the sounds mean and perhaps want to create their own. Contrary to popular belief amongst children, boys get really into poetry when brought in through rhythm and rhyme. It's the most kinesthetic of all literature, it's physical and full-bodied which activates your heart and soul and sometimes bypasses the traps of our minds and the outcome is that poetry moves us. Boys, too.

Reason 3: Poetry opens venues for speaking and listening. Think poetry recitals which a number of our year groups at school take part in, or the series of presentations that children in Forms 7 and 5 perform. Shared in this way, poetry brings audience, authentic audience, which can motivate reluctant writers.

Reason 4: Poetry builds resilience in children and adults; it fosters Social and Emotional Learning. A well-crafted phrase or two in a poem can help us see an experience in an entirely new way. We can gain insight that had evaded us many times, that gives us new understanding and strength.

WB Yeats said this about poetry: "It is blood, imagination, intellect running together...It bids us to touch and taste and hear and see the world, and shrink from all that is of the brain only." Our schools are places of too much "brain only;" we must find ways to surface other ways of being, other modes of learning. And we must find ways to talk about the difficult and unexplainable things in life -- death and suffering and even profound joy and transformation. Poetry can gives us all of this.

"...When people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn't be read in school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language - and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers -- a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn't a hiding place. It is a finding place."

A final suggestion about bringing poetry into your lives: don't analyse it, don't ask others to analyse it. Don't deconstruct it or try to make meaning of it. Find the poems that wake you up, that make you feel as if you've submerged yourself in a mineral hot spring or an ice bath; find the poems that make you feel irrational joy or sadness or delight. Find the poems that make you want to roll around in them or paint their colours all over your bedroom ceiling. Those are the poems you want to play with -- forget the ones that don't make sense. Find those poems that communicate with the deepest parts of your being and welcome them in.

Above all, read poems and enjoy reading them!

Right, back to Spike Milligan and ‘Silly Old Baboon’……!

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We need poetry. We really do. Reading poetry promotes literacy and fosters emotional resilience; it can cross boundaries that little else can.  I well remember the first time I had to learn a poem by heart at Prep School aged 9: the joy of spending time browsing through so many dog eared and well thumbed anthologies looking for one which resonated with me…..in the end, I chose a Spike Milligan classic ‘Silly Old Baboon’ and remember the laughter from my audience as I ran around the room holding my bottom as if it was on fire at the end of the poem! My nervousness was soon replaced with a real sense of joy and achievement in that I had entertained my friends (and my teacher!) and realised that I could do it, and that all the hard work learning the poem had been worth it. Indeed, once you learn a poem by heart, you never forget it, and I can still remember it today……’There was a baboon, who one afternoon, said I think I will fly to the sun, so with two great palms strapped to his arms, he started his take off run…..’. It still makes me laugh to this day!

Here are a few reasons why we need poetry in our schools, and thankfully poetry, both writing and performance, remains alive and well at Cargilfield.

Reason 1: Poetry helps us know each other and build community. It can allow children to paint pictures of their lives, using metaphor, imagery and symbolic language to describe painful experiences, or parts of themselves that they're not ready to share. Poetry allows children to put language to use-to make it serve a deep internal purpose, to break rules along the way (grammar, punctuation) and to find a voice, representation, community perhaps.

Reason 2: When read aloud, poetry is rhythm and music and sounds and beats. Young children -- babies and pre schoolers included -- may not understand all the words or meaning, but they'll feel the rhythms, get curious about what the sounds mean and perhaps want to create their own. Contrary to popular belief amongst children, boys get really into poetry when brought in through rhythm and rhyme. It's the most kinesthetic of all literature, it's physical and full-bodied which activates your heart and soul and sometimes bypasses the traps of our minds and the outcome is that poetry moves us. Boys, too.

Reason 3: Poetry opens venues for speaking and listening. Think poetry recitals which a number of our year groups at school take part in, or the series of presentations that children in Forms 7 and 5 perform. Shared in this way, poetry brings audience, authentic audience, which can motivate reluctant writers.

Reason 4: Poetry builds resilience in children and adults; it fosters Social and Emotional Learning. A well-crafted phrase or two in a poem can help us see an experience in an entirely new way. We can gain insight that had evaded us many times, that gives us new understanding and strength.

WB Yeats said this about poetry: "It is blood, imagination, intellect running together...It bids us to touch and taste and hear and see the world, and shrink from all that is of the brain only." Our schools are places of too much "brain only;" we must find ways to surface other ways of being, other modes of learning. And we must find ways to talk about the difficult and unexplainable things in life -- death and suffering and even profound joy and transformation. Poetry can gives us all of this.

"...When people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn't be read in school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language - and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers -- a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn't a hiding place. It is a finding place."

A final suggestion about bringing poetry into your lives: don't analyse it, don't ask others to analyse it. Don't deconstruct it or try to make meaning of it. Find the poems that wake you up, that make you feel as if you've submerged yourself in a mineral hot spring or an ice bath; find the poems that make you feel irrational joy or sadness or delight. Find the poems that make you want to roll around in them or paint their colours all over your bedroom ceiling. Those are the poems you want to play with -- forget the ones that don't make sense. Find those poems that communicate with the deepest parts of your being and welcome them in.

Above all, read poems and enjoy reading them!

Right, back to Spike Milligan and ‘Silly Old Baboon’……!

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Cargilfield

Poetry, please!

It is good for the soul!

Read More


Posted on

Cargilfield where everyday is an adventure

Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.

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