The staff and students of Drumduan Upper School in Moray have started the new school year on a high, following the publication of an extremely positive report by HMIe.
The school inspectors spent two days at the school and were delighted by what they experienced there, awarding the school four Very Good indicators and praising pupils and staff for their positive attitude to “the practical, real-life approach to their learning” offered at the school.
Drumduan Upper School is an independent school for 14-18 year olds. According to the HMIe report, at Drumduan “Young people really benefit from, and are highly motivated by this personalised approach to learning. The school provides a broad and balanced curriculum which meets the needs of individual young people very well. Young people are achieving very well in traditional academic subjects such as science, mathematics, English and Spanish. In addition, they are acquiring a variety of practical skills for life and work, such as cooking, film-making, boat-building and surveying. As part of the planned curriculum, young people carry out work experience in the community, and get involved in a variety of community-based projects. The school has a strong commitment to providing opportunities for all young people to develop their creative and aesthetic talents through physical, dramatic, musical and artistic activities.”
The school inspectors identified the key strengths of the school as being:
Confident, articulate and respectful young people who take great pride in their work and many achievements.
The positive attitude of young people, all staff, and parents to making the school successful.
The leadership of the Principal in managing change and leading a culture of teamwork. “
Shortly after the visit to Drumduan by the inspectors, the School’s Principal, Krzysztof Zajaczkowski commented: “At the end of the two day visit, which included an impromptu performance of three songs by the students to the inspectors, we were given a glowing and heartfelt acknowledgement of our whole ethos, and especially of the impressive well-being of the students. Amazingly the inspectors bought the school a card and wrote some quite moving comments finishing with 'exciting times ahead!' Confirmation that we are on the right track!”
Drumduan Upper School opened its doors in September 2013 and leads the way in a new approach to secondary school level education with a sustainable, holistic and practical curriculum for adolescents, inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner and designed for the 21st Century.
At Drumduan, knowledge is nurtured and challenged, not tested and graded. Lessons covering the sciences and humanities are taught by Steiner Waldorf-trained, specialist teachers. Academic study is enhanced and balanced with movement, music and artistic work, with crafts and outdoor activities part of the daily rhythm.
The ethos of this pioneering school encourages initiative, creativity and collaboration, meeting head on the enquiring mind and exuberant energy of the teenager. Unburdened by the stress of formal exams, students produce high quality leaving portfolios and are involved in comprehensive and multi-faceted evaluation throughout the year.
Currently housed in temporary accommodation at Moray Art Centre, during this academic year Drumduan Upper School will move to a specially built campus overlooking Forres, where it will share spacious woodland grounds with Moray Steiner School, creating an integrated educational environment for ages 3-18 years.
Over the past few months, the School has also launched a new website at www.drumduan.org and has an active Facebook presence which is increasing awareness of this innovative and forward-looking school.
The HMIe report on the School is available to view on the Education Scotland website here: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk