AT Loretto School in East Lothian, the environment is an inclusive one with a family feel – and where “everyone has a go at everything”.

That’s how Dr Graham Hawley, Headteacher of the school at Musselburgh, initially describes Loretto. “We give opportunity to everyone at Loretto,” he says. “In my experience, young people don’t always know what their strengths are when they come to us. They might be good at some things but because they haven’t explored others, they don’t yet know that they are going to excel in that discipline.

The Scottish Farmer: Loretto

“It’s something I find very exciting – watching young people try something for the first time, perhaps with a little apprehension, then discovering they love it and it becomes something they are hugely passionate about.”

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Dr Hawley, who has been headteacher at Loretto since 2014, believes that the school’s location, in the heart of beautiful East Lothian on the east coast yet just a few miles from Edinburgh, is conducive to nurturing pupils as they discover new interests and develop their skills, both academically and outside the classroom.

The Scottish Farmer: Loretto

“We have a particular strength for golf here at Loretto and we attract talented young golfers for that reason,” explains Dr Hawley, himself a keen golfer. “East Lothian has the largest concentration of Championship links golf courses anywhere in the world and we’re ideally located for the east coast’s other great courses – including the Old Course.

“The Loretto Golf Academy was established as far back as 2002 and our Indoor Centre more recently, in 2015. We’re globally recognised as one of the finest golfing schools and we’re very proud of it.”

The Scottish Farmer: Loretto

Of course, there’s much more to Loretto that it’s world-class golf programme, as Dr Hawley points out. “We benefit from being quite a small school, with just over 500 pupils, so everyone gets to know each other which helps create that family feel that I think is so important,” he continues.

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“We obviously strive for high academic standards but it is important to us that all pupils are comfortable in their own skin – we encourage and nurture and do everything we can to instil confidence and resilience, but strong grades are not the be all and end all.

The Scottish Farmer: Loretto

“At Loretto, my aim is to help individuals be happy and purposeful, and help them thrive in a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere – it is ultimately about preparing young people for their adult life in which they can be confident, exude self-esteem, be curious, kind and courteous. Pupils leave Loretto as good citizens who are team players and collaborative.

“We’re a very inclusive and diverse school too, with one in five of our Seniors international pupils.”

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Schools today, he stresses, must be able to look to the future. “Careers are changing as reliance on technology grows and we move into an increasingly digital world. There will be careers in the future that have not been invented yet we need to be prepared to see education evolve – it’s about teaching the skill sets that we require today but also anticipating what will be required in the future.

“Our young people will need to be more nimble and ready to adapt to careers that will be slightly different in the future and that’s what we are instilling in pupils today.”

Dr Hawley, who has led schools in Warwickshire, Sussex and Devon, has also worked out with the education sphere for the National Rivers Authority. He spent time in Scotland where he investigated the water quality of lochs along the west coast, reaffirming his passion for the great outdoors.

“I think it’s beneficial for someone in my position to have experienced a career away from education – it gives you a much wider view of the world and the skills I have learned have definitely helped me in my career in education.”

At Loretto, he is keen to welcome parents and prospective pupils to share with them the school’s benefits and purpose. There are upcoming Open Days for Junior School (Friday, February 23 and Senior School (Saturday, February 24). However, families are welcome to make an appointment to visit to see what the school has to offer at other times.