As a school that has stood since the last 19th century, Scarborough College is no stranger to crisis. Established in 1896 to provide an education to deserving boys on the north eastern coast, the College navigated its way through two world wars. RAF servicemen stationed at Scarborough College have since told stories about the town’s spirit and how the people made them feel at home.
This is as true now as it was then. The situation is different and cannot, in any way, be compared to the wars of the 20th century. What has not changed is the town’s hospitality and sense of community; in many ways, Scarborough College has been at the forefront of that community spirit.
During the first two lockdowns, Scarborough College provided a home to boarding pupils who could not go home. Some found it impossible to fly home while for others it was felt unsafe to go home. The College provided a home while on the news, in countries such as Italy and China - the students’ real homes - distressing images were shown, portraying the realities of some of the children’s relatives and loved ones. Providing a home started to become so much more than three meals a day, a roof and running water.
The decision to extend the same outstretched arms during the third lockdown was never a decision to the Headmaster, Mr Guy Emmett, nor any of the boarding staff. The home from home would be provided - always. The College’s mission statement highlights the thinking behind this. It speaks of ‘honest and compassionate people.’ Not only have the boarding houses stayed open during the spring term, they have stayed open during half term and they are going to stay open during the Easter holidays.
It is a community spirit that extends beyond boarding pupils. When the Scarborough Rugby Club was announced as a Covid vaccination centre, it took one phone call between the Headmaster and the Chair of the Rugby Club, and Governor at the College, to decide that vulnerable people could be driven to the club for free. After all, the minibuses were idle and the school staff responded en masse; anyone who could drive a minibus. To a town like Scarborough and a school like Scarborough College, this is no surprise.
In the early days of the first lockdown, Emma Speake, Head of Design & Technology, spent every waking hour making protective visors for local GP surgeries and hospitals. Spending thousands of pounds of marketing budget on the necessary equipment, Ms Speake even had to enlist volunteers to help with the demand. From fridges to masks, whatever the College could donate was given away. Through its links to the Rainbow Centre (the Chair at the Rugby Club also volunteers there), food was donated to struggling families and many others were started and are still carrying on right now.
Throughout its history, Scarborough College has remained true to its identity and its vision; leading by example and nurturing the ethos the school would like to see its pupils to develop. It became an IB school some ten years ago, adopting the IB Learner Profile that seeks to develop principled and caring students. It is Scarborough College’s vision that prompted this move towards a more sustainable, a more holistic and more forward-facing education. It is the work of a school that is in touch with its roots, its community and its primary vision and it is no surprise that while times may often by tough on the Northeast coast, Scarborough College is flourishing.
Scarborough College has played a key role in the community during the pandemic. With a Rugby Club turned Vaccination Centre, vital vaccine transport links for the elderly and not to mention an NHS clinical trial, this leading independent boarding school has embraced the local community spirit and offered some much-needed peace of mind to overseas parents. Remco Weeda, Director of Admissions and Houseparent at Scarborough College joins us to tell all.