When the new George Watson’s College building was being designed ahead of its opening at Colinton Road in 1932, the health of pupils lay at the heart of the planning. The new site was away from the smoky and congested city centre. I now wonder what George Robertson, my predecessor in those times, would have thought if he had known that nearly 90 years after the move a public health emergency would see the school closed. Coronavirus has done what a direct hit by an enemy bomb in the First World War failed to do. In 1916, the boys at Archibald Place had just an extra week’s holiday.
Today, as then, our school is so much more than its buildings and teaching has continued in the virtual classrooms that have been hastily established in homes across the city. Teachers are working to ensure that pupils are not disadvantaged in their examinations or university prospects and to provide advice, guidance and support to pupils who suddenly find their lives full of uncertainty and anxiety.
And, we are having to plan for the future of our pupils in other ways, too. We all know that the impact of the coronavirus is economic as well as medical and it is inevitable that many of our families will face serious financial difficulties immediately and in the coming months. Governors have made a commitment that, as far as possible, no pupil should have to leave Watson’s as a result of this crisis. We have asked parents to continue to pay school fees as normal and overwhelmingly they are doing so, some even offering to pay the equivalent of an additional fee to help support another family.
But, there are already families who need financial support and that is why I am making this urgent appeal. If we are to make good on our commitment to support every pupil and family who needs short-term financial assistance, then we will need the support of everyone who cares about George Watson’s College and the work we do here.
If your current circumstances enable you to do so, I would be very grateful if you would consider making a one-off donation to the George Watson’s Family Foundation (using the form below) to help support a pupil to remain at Watson’s through this crisis and its after effects. If you would prefer to make a donation by cheque, or bank transfer, then please email email@example.com and a member of the Development Office will contact you with further details.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this urgent appeal and for considering making a donation to support our pupils in this extraordinary emergency.
This crisis may be unprecedented, but the way we respond to it will reflect the way that the Watson’s Family has always pulled together in the spirit of ex corde caritas.
With my thanks and best wishes for your health and that of all whom you care for.