Queen Victoria School, Dunblane (Scotland)
Wendy Bellars, Head of Queen Victoria School, Dunblane
Queen Victoria School – fully boarding – is funded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide for the children of UK Armed Forces Families. Parents do not pay fees and most ‘extras’ such as uniform, text books and curricular trips are also covered by the MoD. We have a particular brief to care for Service families with a Scottish connection (including a parent having served in Scotland) and for those who could not otherwise afford boarding education. However, applications are invited from all UK Service families.
If your child comes to QVS (as we are known) he or she will be part of a pupil community made up entirely of the children of UK Armed Forces personnel. That sort of mutual understanding and support is invaluable, especially when parents are posted overseas or on long unaccompanied tours.
Co-educational and tri-Service
QVS is co-educational and tri-Service. Almost all of its pupils have at least one actively serving parent when they enter the school. Our main intake is into the Scottish system’s Primary 7 year; there is no exact equivalent with the English system, but most of our P7 intake are aged ten or eleven when they join us. That said, there is a wide age range within the year groups. Many of our pupils have come from educationally disrupted backgrounds as they have moved from school to school and education system to education system, according to their families’ postings.
Because tuition and boarding costs, uniform, books, stationery and most other items of school expenditure are met by the MoD, the financial contribution asked of parents is very small; currently it is £1,403 per annum. The contribution covers only non-essentials and helps to make boarding life more pleasant for the pupils; it allows us to provide newspapers in the houses, for example, as well as contributing towards the costs of transport for school outings. Service benevolent funds are very supportive of the school, and can assist those families who are unable to meet some or all of the parental contribution.
After children whose parents have been killed or injured in Service, priority in admissions is given to children whose parents are likely to be posted frequently during their child’s time at the school. We also try to allow siblings to attend QVS together.
Games and outdoor activities
Games and outdoor activities are important parts of life at QVS. Rugby and hockey are the main sports, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme is pursued at all three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. We have a beautiful setting in some 45 acres of countryside on the edge of Dunblane, much of which is given over to games pitches and recreational areas.
Academically, the school regularly achieves pass rates at National 5 and Higher which are well above the Scottish National Averages. Some Advanced Highers are offered in S6 and numbers are increasing with each year.
The ceremonial aspects of school life are central to QVS, and marching as part of the school on one of our six Parade Sundays a year, and on Grand Day – the final day of the academic year – is one of the proudest moments of a Victorian’s life (as well as that of his or her parents)! The Pipes, Drums and Dancers of QVS are internationally renowned, having played at tattoos both at home and abroad, most recently in the Edinburgh International Military Tattoo and in Basel, Switzerland.
Dunblane is on a main rail line to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and easily accessible by road.
There is no substitute for visiting a school, meeting its pupils and staff and picking up the atmosphere. If you would like to know more before travelling to Dunblane to visit us, however, please request a DVD and further information, from the Admissions Secretary, Queen Victoria School, Dunblane FK15 0JY, or via our website www.qvs.org.uk
Wendy Bellars was born, brought up and educated in Glasgow. An Honours graduate in English Literature and Scottish Literature from Glasgow University, Wendy completed her teacher training at Jordanhill College of Education and found employment at Renfrew High School. After two years she moved to Gordonstoun and subsequently has taught in a number of schools – single-sex, co-educational, day, boarding and mixed; in England, in Scotland, and in a number of roles. She was fortunate to work for almost two years for the Open University in Scotland, during which time she introduced its PGCE course to Scotland. Wendy held a VRT Commission in the Royal Air Force for ten years, working with both ATC and CCF cadets. She enjoys reading, theatre, music – both playing and listening – and walking her two dogs. She has been Head of Queen Victoria School since January 2007.