As young people across the UK settle back into full-time education, a Lomond School pupil has set foot in her new school for the first time since joining remotely back in January.
Originally planning to join Lomond for a short-term language immersion, the 16-year-old pupil from Germany took the decision to see out the rest of her education at the school following a positive home learning experience from her family home in Bavaria.
Lomond School, based in Helensburgh, provides education for children between the ages of three and 18 and welcomes students from across the globe.
The school recently announced the introduction of two International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, in addition to an HNC in Business and alongside the existing SQA provision, making Lomond School the first school in the world to offer this combination of curriculum choice.
This was a particular point of interest to new German student, Katharina Hufnagl, who recognised the benefit of being able to choose a pathway in Scotland which would see her gain an internationally recognised qualification.
Katharina said: ‘Not being from Scotland, I felt that choosing the IB would provide me with more opportunities in terms of studying or getting a job in the future.
‘I also love that the IB focuses on developing a global understanding and skills like independent learning and critical thinking which are so important for my future.’
This week Katharina is one step closer to being physically part of the school community as she landed in Scotland to begin a 10 day quarantine at the school’s boarding house, Burnbrae, which is home to 40 boys and girls from the UK and around the world.
In a letter of thanks sent to her principal teacher, Katharina noted that on joining Lomond virtually, her fellow peers included her instantly and many checked in to ask how her first day went. With previous experience studying abroad in Ireland, the pupil identified Lomond School as the most welcoming that she had attended.
Katharina said: ‘Lomond School was an easy choice when I researched what was on offer to pupils, particularly amongst such beautiful surroundings. I was worried about starting a new school virtually, but everyone has been very kind to me. I still felt included when learning from home despite living so far from the school itself.
‘Studying from my home in Bavaria had its challenges but I wasn’t alone and many of my classmates from Hong Kong and China were managing an eight-hour time difference to attend classes, so 1 hour seemed like no big problem. I was able to get to know everyone from chatting online but I’m really excited to meet them in person once I have completed the quarantine.’
Despite having never even visited Lomond School, Katharina has enjoyed her virtual term so much that she has chosen to continue the rest of her education at the school, opting to study the IB Diploma Programme when it launches in August.
Now over 50 years old, the IB challenges senior pupils to become more independent in their learning, preparing young people with the real-life skills and attributes required for success in further education and the world of work.
Principal, Johanna Urquhart, said: ‘I was so pleased to hear that Katharina has settled in so quickly with the help of our brilliant staff and pupils. I am aware it was a challenging transition to online learning for many, but we are proud that our family ethos has been a constant, and that Katharina has experienced this all the way from Germany.
‘Our two new International Baccalaureate courses have been a real cause for excitement amongst our pupils, with over two thirds of the eligible year group already enrolled. The IB programme will be available to study from August for S5 and S6 pupils and we hope that others, from the UK and abroad, will consider Lomond School for this amazing opportunity too.’
For more information on Lomond School, and to apply to attend the school, visit https://www.lomondschool.com/.