Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Public Benefit

Public Benefit

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.

Every year the School introduces new charitable initiatives to encourage the pupils to connect with the community, to look after the environment and make a contribution to others less fortunate than themselves. 

See the sections below for more details and read our charitable activity articles here.  

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.

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 to have been nominated in the 'Eco Warrior' category in the Tatler Schools Awards 2023 and to have hosted our first Sustainability Summit, COPPS1 (Community of Primary and Prep Schools), in March 2022 (Read Article).   In 2021, Belhaven also attained a Green Flag certification (Read Article) and Plastic Free School status and the Eco-Group are working hard on retaining these important awards (read about our Eco-Week, Nov 2023) 

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.  Here are some current and recent projects:

2022/2023 – Belhaven planted its Centenary Woodland to initiate the School's new 'tree per child initiative' in its 100th year and to take part in the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme which encouraged tree planting in the Jubilee year.  Read Article

2022 – Belhaven received 105 saplings from the Woodland Trust to be planted on our campus. 

2020 – On Sunday 22nd November, 225 sapling trees from the Woodland Trust were removed 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. The children then planted the saplings to create a hedge.

"I was delighted to work with the eco-group on the tree nursery project. It was a great opportunity to tell them about Dunbar Community Woodland Group 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

Beach clearances – In addition to regular beach cleans as part of our Outdoor Education Programme, the School has assisted conservation charities Surfers Against Sewage and GreenTweed Eco in organising and running beach cleans with the local community:

2023 – As part of Eco-week, groups of children took part in litter picks on and around Belhaven Bay. 

2022 – On 17th March 2022, the day following COPPS1, 2 year groups took part in the ForthSHORE beach clean with Shore Seaweed and GreenTweed Eco.

2021 – Belhaven joined the Million Mile Beach Clean project with Surfers Against Sewage.  

"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

Bird Boxes – In collaboration with Tom Rawson of GreenTweed Eco, who set up the East Lothian Primary Schools Bird Box Initiative, we gave 10 bird boxes each to the schools attending COPPS1 and also to Dunbar and West Barns Primary Schools. We have also put up bird boxes around the School campus. 

Sustainability – The Eco Committee of pupils has had a busy few years working towards their Green Flag Award, Plastic Free School Status and COPPS1, at which they presented on Rewilding.  Belhaven was commended for its Eco-Schools Draft Action Plan 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. 

If you have a conservation or environmental project which would benefit from Belhaven’s support, or would welcome pupil volunteers, please contact the Headmaster.

Supporting Local Suppliers, Companies & Services

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
  • Castle Carpet Cleaning
  • Darwood Young Forestry
  • Dunbar Archery Club
  • 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
  • Ocean Vertical
  • 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

Events & Use of Facilities 

Belhaven is delighted to open the school to third parties and to support a range of local people and charities.

Events – Belhaven organises events for other schools and teachers and takes part in local events

  • Book events - parents and children from local schools are frequently invited to join book events e.g. Abi Elphinstone (Oct 2022) & Corrina Campbell (Oct 2023). 
  • Educational talks / events: local schools are frequently invited to join educational events at Belhaven. e.g. West Barns Primary School joined a presentation by female explorer, Mollie Hughes (May 2023) and a STEM morning run by Oundle and Imperial College, London (April 2023).
  • Cross Country Championships - Belhaven hosts an annual day of races for schools from all over Scotland
  • Hockey Festival - Belhaven hosts an annual hockey festival for local clubs.  We have plans for a rugby and cricket festival in 2024. 
  • Belhaven's Choir and Pipe Band - have played in a number of local care homes and has established a formal link to play regular concerts.  They have also performed at other local venues (community gardens, beaches, supermarkets and churches) and in seven of Scotland's cathedrals.  
  • CEOPs training (Belhaven will host training and information sessions for local schools)  

Facilities – The School gives access (either free or for a minimal charge) to its buildings and sports facilities to a range of organisations including:

  • Dunbar Football Club - use of Sports Hall, once per week during winter months
  • Dunbar Archery Club - use of grounds for competitions and exhibition days
  • Dunbar Ladies' Netball Club - use of Sports Hall
  • Dunbar Sea Cadets - weekly use of classrooms & school minibus
  • Dunbar Choral Society - weekly use of the Music School
  • Dunbar and District Amateur Drama Association - use of performance space
  • Borders Cricket Club - use of Sports Hall for training in summer months
  • West Barns Primary School - use of PA system for events
  • ABRSM Music exams - pupils from the local area use the Music School and instruments to sit their exams
  • Dunbar Scouts
  • The Rotary Club 

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 the recent past the following organisations have enjoyed staying at Belhaven:

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.

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 Deputy Head Pastoral with a copy of your CV.

If you run an organisation which might benefit from help from Belhaven Hill, its staff, or pupils, please contact the Headmaster

Charitable Activities 

See our 'Charitable Activities' page for charity events from September 2020-Sept 2023  

Bursaries
For the School session 2022/23, Belhaven Hill School awarded bursaries amounting to £233,916.00 of fee income to 19 pupils. Seven were new pupils to the School. Bursarial awards ranged from 20% to 100%. Six pupils were awarded bursaries worth 100% of fees; there were three awards between 76% and 99% of fees, three awards between 51% and 75%, and seven pupils awarded bursaries between 20% and 50%.

Fundraising Events
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 and parents have championed projects too.  The PTFA, set up in 2015 to engage with the school's wider community, has organised several successful events raising funds for local charities.  Despite the Covid restrictions and disruption the school community managed to undertake many charitable activities and fundraising events within Government guidelines.  

2023-2024

  • Staff donated 25 Secret Santa gifts to East Lothian Council for vulnerable families
  • Christmas Jumper Day (Dec 2023) raised £143 for Save the Children
  • PTFA Pre-Loved Christmas Clothing Sale (Dec 2023) raised £132.50 for Save the Children
  • PTFA Countryside Fair (Sept 2023) raised £1183 for Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity.  Read Article

2022-2023

  • A school 'Wacky Hair Day' raised £130 for Red Nose Day (March 2023)
  • A sponsored reading event raised £864 for Read for Good (March 2023)
  • The Centenary Concert in St Mary’s Haddington raised £500 for Firefly International (Feb 2023)
  • 47 Festive Shoe Boxes were donated to the The Festive Shoe Box Appeal for Ukrainian refugees in association with NatWest Group, Skillbank, Volunteer Edinburgh, Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Scottish Government and Edinburgh City Council (December 2022)
  • The sale of Pre-Prep Charity Christmas Decorations raised £75 for Children with Cancer UK  (Dec 2022)
  • Christmas Jumper Day raised £124 for Children with Cancer UK  (Dec 2022)
  • A pupil-led bake sale raised £51 for RSPB Scotland to help save the curlew (Nov 2022)
  • PTFA Highland Games (Sept 2022) raised £1542 for RNLI Dunbar. Read Article
  • A pupil-led lemonade sale raised £131 for Siobhan’s Trust (May 2022)

2021-2022

2020-2021

  • Belhaven Camp Out raised £1,127 for the NHS Charities (15th June 2020)
  • Fancy Dress for Shelter raised £100 (30th October 2020)
  • The Great Green Wall Walk raised £4,382 for the Great Green Wall (21st Nov 2020) Read Article
  • Mufti day to raise awareness for Save the Children (10th October 2020) – Christmas Jumper day then raised £100 in aid of the charity
  • The Christmas Fair & sale of festive decorations raised a total of £276 for CanDo East Lothian.  Read about Christmas Fair  Read about the Festive Decorations
  • Comic Relief Day raised £100 (19th March 2021)
  • Dress to Express Day (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

Volunteering   

Our staff are encouraged to undertake volunteering work as part of their employment with the School and we try to create as many opportunities as possible for the children to help in the community. 

2023-2023

Staff have:  

  • Supported the local Sea Cadets on expeditions  
  • Provided administrative support for an animal welfare and rehoming club  
  • Volunteered at and supported the Dunbar Foodshare 
  • Refereed junior and men’s rugby fixtures for DRFC 
  • Umpired for Dunbar Ladies Hockey Club 

Pupils have:  

  • Taken part in the Coronation 'Big Help Out', including: beach cleans; playing music and serving homemade cake for residents of Lammermuir Care Home; tree mapping, making 'Candle of Hope Bags' for Relay for Life. Read more (May 2023) 
  • Cleaned memorials and headstones at Dunbar Parish Churchyard (April 2023)
  • Painted a community mural at Dunbar Harbour in (June 2023)  
  • Sung carols for residents of Lammermuir Care Home (Dec 2022) 
  • Assisted with Brass Cleaning at St Anne’s Church in (Dec 2022)
  • Participated in regular litter picking cleanup activities in the local area over the course of the year. 

Please contact the Headmaster if you would like to nominate a particular charity for Belhaven Hill support or voluntary work.