Our parents tell us that both they and their children feel totally ‘at home’ here. But we do not fool ourselves… no child ever confuses home with school – not for one second! Children do however recognise, without being able to articulate it, that the same unconditional care for their well-being is to be found here as at home.
We believe this is what ‘Pastoral care’ should be.
The majority of children at Belhaven choose to be boarders, although day children are also an integral and welcome feature of the younger age groups.
Boarding does not suit everyone, however we believe that as our boys and girls grow older, they benefit most from our all-round education by being a boarder.
Boarders generally stay at the school one weekend in two and go out on the other weekends. During "in weekends" there is a full programme of lessons, games and activities on the Saturday. Day children in Forms 5 and 6 are excused attendance, but others are free to go late afternoon after all school commitments are met.
There is a structured programme on Sunday mornings that includes a Chapel Service in the school taken by the Headmaster or visiting preachers (normally the Heads of Senior Public Schools), while twice a term the school joins with the congregation at two local churches. On Sunday afternoons there is a full range of activities and trips.
"Belhaven is such a unique school where my child and his abilities have been nurtured. He has learnt the key life skill of tolerance which can only come from a boarding environment." (Parent, Form 3)
Children may be allowed out, at the Headmaster's discretion, between 2 pm and 6 pm to pursue an activity such as riding or surfing or for a special family occasion.
Weekends out and half terms start at 1 pm on the Friday and children return either on the Sunday evening or on the Monday morning by 8.25 am. To assist parents who live comparatively far away, school mini-buses take children to places such as Perth, Brechin and Dumfries at the beginning and end of a weekend out.
At Belhaven we believe in giving children the opportunity to develop a broad range of hobbies and interests. Many of these activities take place in the lunch hour, during breaks, after school and on weekends.
The happiness and welfare of our pupils is of the utmost importance to us all, so we have a rigorous approach to pastoral care.
The school is divided into six Patrols, each one led by a member of staff. They are aided by a boy and a girl Patrol Leader in their final year who are responsible for looking out for the other members of their patrol. Forms 1 and 2 have Patrol Tutors who meet weekly with their Tutees to discuss extracurricular commitments, ongoing academic progress and any concerns.
Pupils in Forms 3, 4 and 5 are looked after and supervised by their Form Teachers who can be approached by a child with any concerns or worries.
There is a strong network of other staff throughout the school to whom the children can talk, including other subject staff, House Parents, the Matrons or the Headmaster and his wife. The relationship between staff and pupils is of fundamental importance at Belhaven Hill and is based around a framework of mutual respect.
The physical welfare of each child is the personal concern of a senior matron and six assistant matrons.