Festival of Ideas 2019

The Caritas Lecture is open to members of the public and tickets are available through Eventbrite.


5 September, 1.45pm (period 5) S6

Lecture Theatre

Sophie (Mercy Corps)

Working in the Third Sector: Morals and Money

18 September

William Muir

Government Research Projects: methodologies and management

This event will suit business pupils and mathematicians. Details to follow

19 September, 1.45pm (period 5) S6

Assembly Hall

Ms Samena Dean (Founder, Coalition on Countering Islamophobia)

Countering Islamophobia through Education

With Islamophobia prevalent throughout British media, and Scottish Muslim school children experiencing bullying, the Counter-Islamophobia talk will present useful information to help us work against hatred and disinformation of Islamic practices.

Thursday 3 October 

All S6 will attend a Police run safety event at the Corn Exchange

Careless Driving Costs Lives

17 to 25-year-olds account for nearly a quarter of all road casualties in Edinburgh, with young men being the most likely to commit driving offences.

New drivers are most at risk in their first year of driving.

The event will focus on the risks and responsibilities facing newly qualified drivers at a time when young people may well be thinking about taking driving lessons. 

This is one of Edinburgh Council’s biggest multi-agency events involving all the main emergency services. 

Tuesday 29 October, 7pm


Dining Hall

Sir Anthony Seldon

300 Years of British Prime Ministers

This year's Caritas Lecture will take place on Tuesday 29 October. We are delighted to announce that our guest speaker will be Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham (and former Master of Wellington College). Sir Anthony is also one of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, educationalists, commentators and political authors who has written biographies of the last four Prime Ministers. Given the potential for dramatic political events to be unfolding that week, I think Sir Anthony’s lecture could be extraordinarily well timed and I would encourage you to make a note of the date in your diary.

The Caritas Lecture is open to members of the public and tickets are available through Eventbrite.

30 October, 12:45 (lunchtime)

Lecture Theatre

Melvyn Roffe

S/he is not here

Stone warriors stand on our streets, often without us really noticing them anymore. This lecture will look at the representations of fighting men and women in the memorial sculptures of the last 120 years. What do they tell us about our attitude to soldiers, warfare, death and glory?

31 October, 1.45pm (period 5)

Assembly Hall

Rory McAusland

Suicide Prevention

 With suicide being the biggest killer of young men in the UK, Rory Mcausland has set himself remarkable physical challenges  to draw attention to this problem and in particular to the 71 military personnel who took their own lives last year. He will share his own particular story and encourage our young people to take care of themselves and their friends, both now and when they leave home to live independently.

31 October, 2.40pm (period 6)

Assembly Hall

Jamie Andrew

Resilience in the face of adversity

Jamie Andrew is the incredible Scottish mountaineer who, despite having no hands and feet, has made some amazing ascents all over the world.  As a quadruple amputee, Jamie has also made many other remarkable achievements, raising many thousands of pounds for charity along the way. He will speak to S5 about resilience in the face of adversity. "It seems to me that our greatest limitations are the ones we impose on ourselves.  I want to encourage others to throw out these misconceptions and to be all they can be."

7 November, 2.40pm 

S5 PSD Music Auditorium and lunch for prospective medics by invitation.

Dr Euan Sandilands


Dr Sandilands studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. During his medical training, he developed an interest in drugs and pharmacology.  He went on to complete specialist training in clinical toxicology and is now a Consultant Toxicologist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Director of the Edinburgh unit of the National Poisons Information Service.  He spends his time managing patients who have been poisoned with drugs and other substances either accidentally or deliberately.

22 November, 1.45pm

Music Auditorium and lunch by invitation.

Professor Tim Benton

Global Food Sustainability

The severe environmental challenges of the 21st Century are summarised by John Beddington's term "The Perfect Storm." Professor Tim Benton will explore how we provide nutritious food for the growing global population, whilst coping with climate change, reduction in carbon usage, and by not simply just using more land. His interests focus around how this can be done most ‘sustainably’: building food systems that are resilient, that do not undermine the world's natural capital, that leave space for nature, and supply a sufficient amount of nutritious food to underpin global public health. 

28 November, all day event

Assembly Hall

Fiona Taylor

Modern Studies S6 Conference

The Advanced Higher Modern Studies Conference is a one day event hosted by GWC which brings together S6 pupils from schools across the central belt. During the conference, pupils hear from two keynote speakers and also attend smaller workshops led by experts in Crime and Justice. Pupils are able to gain insight into the topic of Crime and Justice that compliments their classroom learning in Advanced Higher as well as gain invaluable access to primary sources that can be used for their dissertations. Last year at the inaugural conference, 128 pupils from 13 different schools attended as well as 11 visiting Crime and Justice guest speakers.

Autumn Term Oct/Nov

Visiting Specialists

Mock Court Project (fully booked)

Teams will follow a seven-week programme of tutorials which will educate them and help them prepare for a trial before a real sheriff (judge), in a real court setting in Oct/Nov. The Pursuers in the trial will need to search through documents to ascertain their basis for a claim and interview witnesses. The Defenders will examine the same documents to show any liability is not theirs.

Date to be Confirmed

Grace Reid

Psychology of Success

Grace is a former Watson’s pupil and the daughter of one of our Matrons: Liz Reid. Grace has won two gold medals in European Championships and a gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Date to be Confirmed

Computing or D & T Classroom

Prof Ben Paechter, Dr Andreas Steyven

Swarm Robotics

Swarm robotics is an approach to the coordination of multiple robots as a system which consist of large numbers of mostly simple physical robots. It is supposed that a desired collective behaviour emerges from the interactions between the robots and interactions of robots with the environment.

Prof Paechter and Dr Steyven will run workshops for our computing and Design and Technology students.