Partnerships and Outreach

Partnerships and Outreach

At Watson’s we value community partnerships

At George Watson’s College, we know the power partnerships can have in building mutual understanding and respect, in order to make an impact on things that matter. 

We support a range of learning and development programmes with partners across Edinburgh and much further afield.

Our school is a registered charity, and we bear that responsibility very seriously. We are committed to widening opportunities across Scotland’s capital city, and beyond, for young people. 

That starts within our own locality on the south-side of Edinburgh, and takes us many thousands of miles, beyond. 

Many of our Watson’s pupils are actively involved in these community partnerships - volunteering with a huge range of community groups and taking part in activities that benefit others. 

In doing so, they learn much out about themselves in the process. It’s a fundamental part of an education at Watson’s. 

This approach is a key outcome of Project 810, the philosophy behind which is that everyone has the capacity to make a difference and we all have a responsibility to do so.

Community partners 
 

Drum Riding School  Scottish Love in Action   Eric Liddell Centre Feed the Minds Sporting Start Unicef

Permanently supported charities 

Poppy Scotlan    George Watson's Family Foundation    Disasters Emergency Committee
 

Annual charity partners

During Session 2019/20 we also supported the following charities.

BBC Children in Need    My Names's Doddie Foundation    Friends of Chernobyl's Children    Open Book

We also have other fundraising entities at the school, such as the GWC Parents’ Association, The Watsonian Benevolent Fund, GWC Pipe Band and Watson’s Malawi Partnership.

What do we want to achieve?

At Watson's we believe partnership is good for everyone. We want to: 

  • Develop flexible, mutually beneficial, sustainable partnerships with charities, schools and community groups that impact on need
  • Create understanding and appreciation amongst all involved, as well as a sense of responsibility and service to others within the GWC school community
  • Where appropriate, ease access to education at Watson’s for young people from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the school community and to ensure that support is in place throughout their journey at the school and beyond

Curricular Collaboration in Edinburgh

At Watson’s, we believe in meaningful partnerships, and that is no better reflected in the range of curricular outreach projects our staff and pupils are involved in.

Our Swire Chinese Language Centre Edinburgh (SCLCE) collaboration is a venture involving 25 local authority schools across Edinburgh and the Lothians. This project is led by George Watson’s College, James Gillespie’s High School and Boroughmuir High School, as the three founding schools in the south of the city.  

This groundbreaking project, which has attracted significant interest as an example of best practice between the independent sector and state schools, has enabled the teaching of Chinese to primary and secondary schools across the city of Edinburgh and across the Lothians. 

Pupils at Broomhouse Primary School and Castleview Primary School have been enjoying learning about coding for the first time. The project involves teachers from our Junior School, along with pupils studying Advanced Higher Computing. 

Children at both schools are able to participate in curricular and extra-curricular activity, whilst our own staff are helping to build sustainability for the programme by supporting teachers at the schools to incorporate this kind of programme into their own teaching.

Elsewhere in Edinburgh, Primary 5 pupils at Gracemount Primary School have been taking part in specialist hockey training led by our own Watson’s coaches, and supported by Hockey Sports Leader pupils. Pupils also have the opportunity to continue honing their skills in a lunchtime club in P6 and P7.

This project is funded by Sporting Start, a charity seeking to give local children the opportunity to experience and enjoy sport.

At Castlebrae Community High School, pupils had been unable to study Computer Science for some time because of the challenges of teacher recruitment. We have a fantastic relationship with Castlebrae and the benefits are very much seen in both schools. We have secured funding to support Castlebrae's provision of Computer Science.

This has included welcoming 15 pupils from Castlebrae, who join us as Watson's every week for two hours of Computing and more general ICT skills-based lessons. 

This project aims to give pupils knowledge of computing and to spark interest to study further. Castlebrae staff attend these sessions, as part of a knowledge transfer exercise.

Supporting other children globally 

If we are to send our pupils out into the world as global citizens, it’s important that we understand the challenges that other countries face. 

As such, the award-winning Watson’s Malawi Partnership, is a vital project which enables our pupils, working with staff, current and former pupils, along with other friends of George Watson’s College to support a range of projects in the African country.  

We will be expanding this work, by becoming a British Council Connecting Classrooms Cluster along with Tynecastle High School and Bruntsfield Primary School, linking up with schools in Malawi. This will allow more young people the opportunity to learn and work collaboratively on projects which relate to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

In recent years, the partnership has funded a range of projects, such as the provision of a new rechargeable battery-operated thermal ablation device, used to treat cervical precancers and prevent the development of advanced cancer. This is vital for a country, where 1,600 women die from cervical cancer, representing 70% of all diagnoses. 

You can find out more about our Watson’s Malawi Partnership, and some of the other projects we have supported, here.

Engaging with our community 

Giving is a huge part of our culture at George Watson’s College. We know that our pupils are fortunate to enjoy a world-class education, and with that comes responsibility. 

Our school motto, ex corde caritas, means ‘love from the heart.’ It reflects our school’s original charitable foundation, but more importantly, underpins our programme of charitable and community work which is such a feature life at Watson’s. 

Over the last decade, our community of pupils, parents, staff and alumni at Watson’s has given over £250,000 to support charities. 

Find out more about our approach to helping others, here.

Sharing our facilities and resources 

We’re very fortunate to have some of the best facilities at any school in Scotland. 

Part of our approach to engaging with the communities across Edinburgh focuses on making our campus available to a range of different schools and groups. 

For example, Kaimes School, a specialist school for children who have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), has use of our swimming pool; South Morningside Primary School use our squash course. 

We also share specialist science equipment and resources with various schools across the city.

The Eric Liddell Centre, a community, health, and wellbeing charity named after the famous athlete who won a gold medal in the 400m at the 1924 Olympics Games, is a partner organisation to our school, using our facilities for fundraising events, such as concerts and fashion shows.  

We’re also working with the City of Edinburgh Council and sportscotland to establish a Community Sports Hub on site here at Watson’s for the wider community on the south side of Edinburgh. 

Widening access to Watson’s 

Our newest area of outreach, we are now testing different models which will lead to a new approach to providing access to education at George Watson’s College. 

We aim to work with our partner schools, providing access to those pupils from backgrounds currently underrepresented in our pupil body to attend Watson’s for elements of their education, whilst remaining with their ‘home’ school. 

An initial pilot project is taking place with Castlebrae Community High School. 

Of course, our own Family Foundation provides support to about 200 families each year, through a range of bursaries representing an investment of around £1.5m (2018-19).