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Glenalmond College is truly an extraordinary place to learn. Pupils develop friendships and memories for life along with the academic results they need to realise their career aspirations.

They leave with ambition as outstanding young people ready to make a difference in whatever paths they choose, but they also leave with a keen sense of humility and how very fortunate they are to have benefitted from a Glenalmond education.

When Tobermory Mackay-Champion thinks about his school days, he can’t help but smile. He excelled in sports, he developed a love for geology, he cultivated lifelong friendships, and he took part in music, joining the school’s chapel choir and concert band. It didn’t end there. “While I was at Glenalmond College, I got involved in as much as I could,” he shares. “I was surrounded by teachers and pupils who could really motivate me in these areas.”

Glenalmond College

Tobermory during a recent return visit to Glenalmond College. He has many happy memories of his time there. Source: Glenalmond College

Mackay-Champion did things the Glenalmond way, where there is no pressure to take a straight and narrow path to success. This approach — letting every pupil reach their unique full potential — has changed his life in more ways than one. Today, the driven alumnus has achieved a First Class Geology MEarthSci from the University of Oxford. Last year, he was also a recipient of the Oxford-Radcliffe Graduate DPhil Scholarship to further his geology education.

Although fully immersed in his education, Mackay-Champion still focuses on sport. He holds eight all-time Oxford swimming records. He was also the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Men’s 200m LC breaststroke champion in 2020.

He says his education at Glenalmond has played a huge part in his success.  “It allowed me to follow my passion for academics,” he says. “I had guidance and tutorials from Dr. Matt Gibson. Having him guide me through geology was fantastic. Additionally, Martin Orviss has really pushed me in the geophysical side of things and mathematics –– they were both absolutely fundamental to where I am now.”

During his time at Glenalmond, he trained with and was inspired by fellow pupil, Will Porter. Porter, a sports scholar, became Scottish Boys’ Amateur Champion in 2015 and subsequently represented Scotland at the World Junior Golf Team Championship in Japan in 2015. He won a golf scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2016, and is currently in his first season on the professional Alps Tour.

Glenalmond College

It’s clear both pupils benefitted from spending their secondary years in such an inspiring environment. Source: Glenalmond College

It’s clear his secondary years were spent in an inspiring environment. Established in 1847, Glenalmond College is a co-educational, full boarding and day school for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Located in Scotland, situated on a 300-acre campus in the heart of the Perthshire countryside, students here are inspired to achieve above and beyond –– not just in exams, but in life. They enjoy small classes that enable individualised nurturing, exceptional pastoral care that are ever ready to support, and a well-rounded team of high quality teaching staff who — importantly — live on the campus grounds.

For a solid foundation, every Glenalmond student studies for the GCSEs and A Level or Scottish Higher qualifications, with a curriculum that spans 17 subjects at GCSE, 26 to A Level and 13 to Scottish Higher Level. Broad, comprehensive and combined with leadership training with Royal Marine Commandos (in sixth form), the school’s approach offers early exposure to art and design, biology, business, chemistry, classics, computer science, design and technology, divinity and religious studies, drama and theatre, economics, geography, history and many other subjects. Its pioneering “Learning Project” ensures every student’s performance is monitored and tweaked according to their strengths and needs.

This rigour provides an excellent foundation to esteemed colleges or universities all over the world. Every year, a significant number of graduates progress to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities.

Glenalmond’s overall goal facilitates these outcomes. It strives to guide students in realising their passions, their goals, and their full potential –– whether it may be in the classroom, on the field, through one of its numerous extracurricular activities, or all the above, like Mackay-Champion did.

“Activities with friends and colleagues get you far more integrated into the community –– allowing you to develop lifelong friendships, which has been a real joy during my journey with both sports and academia,” he explains.

Glenalmond College

Glenalmond College boasts an idyllic campus. Source: Glenalmond College

Mackay-Champion is proof that at Glenalmond, student experiences go beyond academics. A range of extracurricular activities keep students entertained and engaged outside the classroom. Thanks to its ideal location, a countryside setting, pupils can climb Scotland’s famous Munros — mountains in Scotland with a height over 3,000 feet — and kayak on lochs, walk or run in the hills, canoe, fish, ride horses, or rock-climb. Expert tuition is offered. What’s more, international sporting tours and expeditions provide cultural experiences that double as both physical and mental challenges.

Athletic excellence is also encouraged. While enjoying the Highland backdrop, student athletes achieve their personal best or contribute to their team’s success on the school’s new and improved lacrosse and rugby pitch with a 100-seat spectator stand. Golf enthusiasts can join the Glenalmond Golf School –– practising on a nine-hole, 18 tee course, designed by renowned champion golfer and golf course architect, James Braid. These are complemented by other well-equipped facilities such as an upgraded cardiovascular fitness suite and a swimming pool.

The indoors at Glenalmond are just as engaging. Within its historic walls, clubs and societies abound. Clubs include Greek, Mandarin, L’Elite, poetry, debate, Model United Nations and a wide range of other opportunities. For those who wish to express their creative souls, they can do so in groups that include stagecraft or one of over a dozen musical ensembles. Last term, the school was one of very few in the UK to successfully deliver a school performance with the adaptation of “Epicene” to ensure it was performed in the school’s own theatre in a COVID-safe way. The result was outstanding.

To get a better gist of the “Glenalmond feel,” experience a warm welcome, and properly take in its splendour, click here to join a virtual visit. Glenalmond’s Admissions team is looking forward to extending a very warm welcome to interested families at the Online Open Day on May 8, 2021. More info here.

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