Belhaven Hill School takes a broad view of its role as an educational charity and endeavours to act in accordance with the values that it represents.
The school aims to enhance the education provided to its pupils and those of other institutions by showing them the many facets of charitable work and the ways in which individuals can contribute to society.
View Recent Charitable Activities here.
Every year the School introduces new charitable initiatives to encourage the pupils to connect with the community or make a contribution to others less fortunate than themselves. For instance, in 2021, 30 Belhaven pupils have volunteered to become part of a link with the Friends of Aschiana Project in Afghanistan. All of the children in the project live in a camp for internally displaced people in Afghanistan and the charity provides them with a basic education and a chance in life. The initial stage will see Belhaven children sending letters to children in the Friends of Aschiana School in Kabul. There will be an exchange of letters every month. The first letters were sent at the start of June.
Stage two will be for Belhaven to lead a nationwide Prep School Charity event in the next academic year. By hosting an event over a weekend, we will hope to make this a family friendly event to encourage engagement. Planning for this event will start in September and the event will take place in late spring/early summer.
It is hoped that the links created between the children will become friendships that will endure beyond their time at Belhaven and that when our pupils move on to senior schools and university they will spread news about the charity’s work and, perhaps at some stage in the future go out to visit the School.
Following the Great Green Wall Walk on 21st November 2020, which raised an impressive £4,382 for the charity, the School has maintained a connection with the appeal. During 'Virtual Belhaven’ in the Spring Term 2021, the children took part in a further ‘Virtual Walk’ along the length of the wall. The long list of activities such as stone-stacking, car-washing, film-making, cooking breakfast in bed for their hard-working parents or taking the dog for a walk, meant that involvement and engagement on every level was rewarded with a ‘prize’ worth 25km: the 7000km Virtual Walk was completed on the final day of the first half of term in line with the target. The charity kept in touch with the pupils’ progress via social media and inspired by Belhaven’s project created their own version as a direct result of the School’s efforts.
Belhaven is non-selective academically.
The school has an experienced team of Learning Support staff, who help with a range of issues. The Board of Governors is committed to ensuring that a Belhaven education can be enjoyed by children from diverse backgrounds and homes, both locally and further afield. In an effort to make the school accessible to all families, a generous proportion of school revenues (in excess of 10% since 2019) is allocated to the provision of means-tested bursaries. In addition, the school has an annual ‘Eagle Fund’, administered by the Headmaster, to assist children who are in receipt of a bursary with additional expenses associated with attending the school.
If you would be interested in applying for bursarial support, or wish to learn more about our approach to making awards, please click here. The Headmaster is always available to talk to individual families about their circumstances.
Be Responsible (Conservation & the environment)
Pupils are encouraged to value and look after the local environment.
Over the past few years the school has acquired a national reputation for a programme which not only educates both its own pupils and those from other local schools about conservation and environmental issues, but which also has a substantial practical impact. Belhaven is proud that its Conservation Club was winner of the RSPB’s Nature of Scotland Award in 2015 and Runner Up in 2016 in the ‘Conservation & the Environment’ section of the Scottish Rural Awards for ‘creating, innovating and succeeding in enhancing the countryside’. The judges commented that:
“The Belhaven Hill School Conservation Club should be replicated UK-wide, simply for the impact that it has. Aside from inspiring its young members, it has planted 3,500 trees, built over 100 bird boxes and cleared seven local beaches of marine litter.”
Tree planting – The School has worked on various tree planting projects creating woodland and hedges over the past few years. Working with charities such as the Woodland Trust, Tweed Forum and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the school has continued to plant trees in the local community. Our latest project in 2020 has started with the Belhaven Hospital and the Community Garden although its implementation was delayed as a result of Covid restrictions. 225 sapling trees from the Woodland Trust were finally dug up from the Walled Garden where they had been looked after over the summer and transported to the Dunbar Community Woodland Group (Lochend Woods) and the Belhaven Community Garden by the Form 3 pupils on Sunday 22nd November. The children then planted the saplings to create a hedge - read about it here."I was delighted to work with the eco-group on the tree nursery project. It was a great opportunity to tell them about DCWG and what we do to look after Lochend Woods, and I look forward to seeing them in the Autumn, when they come to the woods to plant out the young trees. I loved the Q & A session we had - clever questions, I had to think hard about the answers! I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did" Isobel Knox, DCWG committee
“It’s fantastic that groups such as Belhaven Hill School are working so hard to improve their local environment. Planting trees is a great way to demonstrate the importance of conservation.” Carol Evans, Director of the Woodland Trust Scotland
“I was delighted that children from Belhaven Hill School wanted to help plant trees on one of our Eddleston Water Project sites. This project aims to restore natural habitats in the area to improve the River valley for wildlife and help reduce the risk of flooding in Eddleston and Peebles. A big part of that is the strategic planting of native tree species. We hope to raise the ecological status of the river system and help buffer against the effects of climate change. It is now more important than ever to engage the younger generation in these issues.” Emily Iles, Tweed Forum Project Officer
“I take my hat off to Belhaven Hill School for taking the classroom out to the countryside. The smiles on the youngsters’ faces spoke volumes! This was a wonderfully practical opportunity to help tomorrow’s stewards of the countryside understand the importance of habitat management…Nothing can beat the hands-on experience of planting a new hedge.” Hugo Straker, Scottish Game Fair Director, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
Beach clearances – The School has assisted marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage in organising and running beach clean and environmental education events attended by members of the local community to help clear seven local beaches of marine litter. In 2021, the School has joined the Million Mile Beach Clean project. Belhaven is also engaging with Wave Energy Scotland and will be visiting Flowave in Edinburgh.
"Belhaven Hill School plays a unique role within the Dunbar community. The fact that 40 young students came down to the beach on Friday brimming with enthusiasm, knowledge and a willingness to roll their sleeves up to help our battle against the marine litter crisis sends out such a fantastic message!” Dom Ferris, Surfers Against Sewage's Campaigns and Education Manager
In addition to tree planting and beach cleans, the School has also produced bird boxes from scrap material such as pallets during recent years. Around thirty bird boxes have been given to primary schools and nurseries in the local area to promote outdoor education and environmentally responsible living.
Sustainability – The recently-formed Eco Committee of pupils has had a busy year. Belhaven has applied to join the Green Flag Award scheme and has submitted an Eco-Schools Draft Action Plan for approval. It was commended in the following terms,
"You have identified a fantastic range of actions across your topics with very clear links to your chosen SDG and to your community. The Eco-Committee seems to be doing a fantastic job as well despite the challenges brought up by the pandemic… I have been very inspired by all of your actions and particularly by how you approached in a very radical way the issue of single-use plastic and aimed at stop using some of them altogether, and by your efforts towards learning and tackling homelessness and improving your environment through the planting of trees and carrying out fantastic litter picking."
The School has been surveyed by Zero Waste Scotland and a report is in progress. An action group of pupils is working on a plan to enable Belhaven to become a Plastic-Free School. There are plans in motion to host a ‘Sustainability Summit’ at Belhaven in the Autumn of 2021 to coincide with COP26 events in Glasgow.
If you have a conservation or environmental project which would benefit from Belhaven’s support, or would welcome pupil volunteers, please contact the Headmaster.
Belhaven Hill is proud to source supplies for its kitchens from local suppliers, and use local companies and support services where possible.
Local companies used include:
- Belhaven Bikes
- Coast2Coast Surf School
- Caledonian Electrical
- Darwood Young Forestry
- Dunbar T-Shirt Shop
- Dunbar Removals & Storage
- East Coast Carpets
- Eve Coaches
- Fox Lake
- Hector’s Pizza
- Irwin Roofing
- Label Lady
- Lothian Printers
- Maclean Photographic
- Peter Browns Decorating Services
- Pixie Rose Flowers
- Premier Taxis
- Seacliff Stables
- The Crunchy Carrot
- The Sweetie Bank
- Turnbulls Home Hardware
- The Ridge Foundations
- WB Taxis
- Winterfield Golf Club
Belhaven is delighted to open the school to third parties and to support a range of local people and charities.
Although Covid restrictions have made this more difficult in 2020/21, the School is looking forward to more events in the coming year;
- Contact the Elderly
- Together with Music – Belhaven Pipe Band has played in the gardens of a number of local care homes and has established a formal link to play regular concerts
- A formal link will be established between Whitekirk Hill and Belhaven so that plays and concerts can be staged there for the benefit of guests and to provide opportunities for the children
- A Belhaven Dog Show will be held in September to benefit a local charity nominated by the pupils
We are now establishing links with the following local community groups in order to strengthen ties and offer use of our facilities where possible:
Events – Belhaven organises events for other schools and teachers, and while opportunities for outreach have been limited by Covid restrictions, the following have been possible and there are plans for further events in 2021/22 including:
- Music exams (pupils from the local area use the music school and instruments to sit their exams)
- Cross Country Championships (Belhaven Hill hosts an annual day of races for schools from all over Scotland – it took place in May 2021 and involved pupils from 6 schools)
- Dunbar and North Berwick Rugby Clubs (Belhaven Hill will host matches)
- CEOPs training (Belhaven will host training and information sessions for local schools)
If you run an organisation which might benefit from help from Belhaven Hill, its staff, or pupils, please contact the Headmaster.
Gap Students – Each year the school welcomes students from the UK and abroad. Most of the ‘gap students’ join the pastoral team at Belhaven and take a full part in school life, gaining valuable work experience before returning to their studies.
If you are interested in applying for a ‘Gap’ placement at Belhaven, please email the Headmaster with a copy of your CV.
Facilities – The School gives access (either free or for a minimal charge) to its buildings and sports facilities to a range of organisations and, although over the past year restrictions have made this difficult, we look forward to their return, including:
- The Rotary Club (bridge nights)
- Dunbar Choral Society (weekly use of the music school)
- Dunbar Tennis Club
- East Lothian Tennis Club
- Borders Cricket Club (use of School gym for training)
- West Barns Primary School (use of school minibuses and drivers for events)
- Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (school gardens open biannually in aid of this charity)
- Belhaven Hill School hosted part of the East Lothian Tennis Tournament in July 2017 when the usual courts were unplayable owing to the wet weather
Please contact the Headmaster if you are interested in access to any of our facilities.
Holiday Camps – The school is happy to let educational groups and other institutions rent or make use of its buildings, facilities and grounds during holiday periods. In recent years, a local hockey coach held a training camp at Belhaven during school holidays, which was attended by local children.
In the recent past the following organisations have enjoyed staying at Belhaven:
- Free Church of Scotland
- Northern Ireland Scripture Union
- Lambrooke School
If you run an organisation which might be interested in using Belhaven’s facilities, or renting the school buildings during the holidays, please contact the Headmaster.
See our 'Charitable Activities' page for charity events from September 2020.
In the School session 2020–2021 Belhaven Hill School awarded bursaries of £271,210 to 20 pupils, amounting to 12.6% of the gross fee income. Bursarial awards ranged from 30% to 100%. Three pupils were awarded transformational bursaries worth 100% of fees; there were four significant awards of between 76% and 99% of fees, two awards between 51% and 75% of fees and eleven pupils were awarded bursaries between 20% and 50%.
Two pupils have applied to the Eagle fund for assistance.
The Pupils’ activity group has been proactive, despite the Covid restrictions and disruption to the year and they have managed to undertake many charitable activities and fundraising events within Government guidelines. The following events have taken place:
- Belhaven Camp Out on 15th June 2020 raised £1,127 for the NHS Charities
- Fancy Dress for Shelter on 30th October 2020 raised £100
- The Great Green Wall Walk on 21st Nov 2020 raised £4,382 for the Great Green Wall
- Mufti day to raise awareness for Save the Children on 10th October 2020 – Christmas Jumper day then raised £100 in aid of the charity
- The Christmas Fair & sale of festive decorations raised £276 for CanDo East Lothian
- Comic Relief Day on 19th March 2021 raised £100
- Dress to Express Day on 5th February 2021 – an event to raise awareness
- After a talk from Shelter Scotland, a Kiltwalk event was held on 23rd April 2021 when all the pupils dressed as ‘Inspirational Scots’ and having participated in an online assembly on homelessness raised £100 for Shelter
Each year the school undertakes a number of charitable fundraising activities. In most cases, it is the children themselves who lead the fundraising or who volunteer in support of a cause, though Staff have championed projects too.
The School set up the PTFA in 2015 to engage with the School’s wider community and the group is now not only assisting new pupils and parents as they start at Belhaven, and organising events for Old Belhavians, but it has organised several successful events at Belhaven and we look forward to a return to these events in the new academic year. A significant proportion of funds raised by the PTFA at future events will also be donated to local charities nominated by the School, the pupils or the PTFA.
Please contact the Headmaster if you would like to nominate a particular charity for Belhaven Hill support or voluntary work.