Belhaven Hill School

A Boarding & Day School for Boys and Girls aged 6-13

Public Benefit

Public Benefit

Be Benevolent

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.

Be Open

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 is allocated to the provision of means-tested bursaries. In addition, the school has recently established 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. In the academic year 2018-2019, the School is introducing a scheme to provide six children, attending local primary schools, who could not otherwise afford them, with free music lessons in the School’s music block, taught by staff employed by the School.  For details of the scheme and how to apply for lessons, please contact 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 Part of the Community

For a small school, we make a big contribution …

Be Responsible (Conservation and 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 planted nearly 3,500 in the local community.  Our latest project in 2020 has started with the Belhaven Hospital and the Community Garden – read about it here.
“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.
"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 also produces bird boxes from scrap material such as pallets. Around thirty bird boxes have been given to primary schools and nurseries in the local area to promote outdoor education and environmentally responsible living.
If you have a conservation or environmental project which would benefit from Belhaven’s support, or would welcome pupil volunteers, please contact the Headmaster.

Be Supportive

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:
  • Andersons Butchers    
  • Coast2Coast Surf School
  • Dick Litherland
  • Dunbar News
  • Foxlake
  • Label Lady
  • Lothian Printers
  • Premier Taxis
  • The Community Carrot
  • Umbertos, Dunbar
  • Seacliff Stables
  • Turnbulls Hardware

Be Welcoming

Belhaven is delighted to open the school to third parties and to support a range of local people and charities:
  • Contact the Elderly (summer tea party for local people hosted by the pupils at Belhaven)
  • a School Fete will be held in September to benefit Unicef and a local charity
  • Haemophilia Society and the Langalanga Scholarship Fund
  • Scotland's Garden Scheme (proportion of funds raised go to East Lothian Special Needs Playscheme)
  • West Barns Primary School attended a talk given by James Ketchell, a British adventurer
  • West Barns Primary School attended a performance of Jason and the Argonauts by Theatre in Schools

Belhaven organises events for other schools and teachers, 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.
  • Dunbar and North Berwick Rugby Clubs (Belhaven Hill hosts matches)
  • CEOPs training (Belhaven has hosted a training and information session for local schools)
  • The School's Head of Classics assisted Dunbar Primary School's Roman Day
  • Inter School football matches with local schools
  • One of the staff drives the School minibus for the local Brownie pack’s outing
  • Local schools are invited to join the School’s Iron Will Contest and a local Race for Life
  • The school has hosted a pupil from Dunbar Grammar School to help her gain the necessary experience for her Duke of Edinburgh award.

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

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. In recent years, the school has been delighted to include a specialist ‘Gap’ placement for a music student to work closely with the Director of Music in his department and in producing school productions and concerts.

In the Autumn Term 2017, the School hosted a young Spanish student as part of his University course to become a teacher. He shadowed teachers and took part in everyday School life.

If you are interested in applying for a ‘Gap’ placement at Belhaven, please email the Headmaster with a copy of your CV.

The school gives access (either free or for a minimal charge) to its buildings and sports facilities to a range of organisations, 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 mini buses and drivers for events)
  • Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (the school opens its gardens 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.

The school is happy to let educational groups and other institutions rent or make use of its buildings, facilities and grounds during holiday periods. For instance, this year, 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.

Be Generous

Charitable Activities

See our 'Charitable Activities' page for charity events from September 2020.  

In the School session 2018 – 2019 Belhaven Hill School awarded bursaries of £245,031.30 to 19 pupils.  Bursarial awards ranged from 20% to 100%.  Four pupils were awarded bursaries worth 100% of fees; there were 8 awards between 50% and 99% of fees and seven pupils were awarded bursaries between 20% and 49%.
Two pupils have applied to the Eagle fund for assistance amounting to £892.30. 
The Pupils’ charity activity group has been very active this year.  The following events have taken place and a further activity this term will include a pyjama day:

  • School Fete raised £1252 for UNICEF and the Teapot Trust.
  • Daily pupils contributed baked goods for the McMillan Coffee morning.  £145 was raised.
  • A food bank collection took place in October 2018.
  • Postcards created from pupils photography were sold to raise money for the Kivulu Trustand the SPCA - £170 raised to date.
  • Halloween Pumpkin Chase for the Samaritans.
  • Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children.
  • Cake sale for RNIB – raised £40.
  • Purple Pinkie day raised £94 for Dunbar Rotary Club Polio fundraiser.
  • Pyjama day to raise funds for St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve. 
  • A local blind person and a representative from RNIB visited the School to give a talk to the pupils.  This resulted in the pupils raising money through a cake stall (see above).  Mandy Parks walked the Pennine Way during the summer holidays; she  raised over £2,500 to fund talking books for the RNIB.

The School took part in an initiative organised by Heart Felt Tips, a Community Interest Company.  Empty pencil cases were distributed to pupils that they filled with stationery for distribution to children who suffer through economic hardship.  We donated 80 filled pencil cases to East Lothian Children’s Services and a further 20 to Balgreen Primary School in Edinburgh.

Henry Knight took part in “Heads Up” with 19 other Headmasters to hike, bike and canoe from sunrise until sunset to fundraise for Place2be, supporting children’s mental health, emotional resilience and wellbeing.

In January a tea party took place in the Rosie Room for Contact the Elderly.

Children from West Barns School attended the dress rehearsal of the senior play “Grease”.

Local pupils used the music school for their ABRSM music exams.

The SISICCC (previously IAPS cross country championship) was hosted by the School in March 2019.

Dunbar Choral Society use the music School on Tuesday evenings for rehearsing.

Form 6 have been learning about dementia and have been sending letters and postcards to Astley House Care Home in North Berwick.  The children will visit the Care Home this week.

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 over the past year.  For instance the PTFA organised a Race Night in May 2018 and donated £500 to The Teapot Trust.  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.