Course Details and Content


“He experienced so much wonder and excitement in the past three and a half weeks. We cannot be more pleased with this summer adventure…”

The Gordonstoun motto is Plus est en vous – There is more in you than you think; we see this come alive in students as they prove to themselves the truth of this statement. By taking part in the extraordinary breadth of activities, alongside some super new friends and supported by our lovely staff – well that is how the magic happens! 

Study Choices

English Language (E.A.L.)   [Expand]

Students will be assigned to the appropriate class according to information received from parents prior to the course, using the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Lessons will then be tailored to the needs of the students in each group and will provide the opportunity to practice the four core skills of language learning: listening, reading, writing and speaking. For more advanced students there is the opportunity to read great literature in the original language and examine current issues whilst beginning to develop and justify points of view in speech and writing.


Literature And Creative Writing   [Expand]

This course is suitable for students for whom English is their first language or for those who have a strong command of English and is aimed at improving skills through a study of Literature and Creative Writing. Students are encouraged to  develop their literary criticism through close analysis of a range of texts and extracts, including poetry, prose, short stories and plays. There will be workshops on creating engaging openings to stories, using effective imagery, and creating tension and suspense in a variety of genres.


Spanish   [Expand]

This course is offered at advanced, intermediate and elementary levels. The course offers students the opportunity to practice the four core skills of language learning: listening, reading, speaking and writing, with an emphasis on spoken Spanish. By the end of the course, students will have improved social conversational skills and grammatical understanding around sentence construction. Students will learn these important skills, whilst increasing their appreciation of Spanish-speaking cultures in both Spain and Latin America.


Computing   [Expand]

The course operates on Microsoft software and covers a wide range of computer applications, including word-processing, spreadsheets, databases, desktop publishing, powerpoint, multimedia, graphics, programming, control technology and the Internet; no previous computer experience is required. Control technology is included for more advanced students. This looks in more detail at the use of computers in controlling mechanical devices such as robots.


International Citizenship   [Expand]


This course is suitable for students who have a strong command of English or who are native speakers. It is aimed at improving spoken English through debates and presentations, but also with particular emphasis on the positive skills of dialogue to promote understanding and empathy; this is particularly in line with Hahn’s vision of young people from many nations as a ‘brotherhood’. Students will be encouraged to consider key global issues such as world religions, political ideologies, social media, fake news and the environment; they will learn to challenge what they are taught and to develop and express their own opinions in ways which celebrate diversity and promote global peace and co-operation.

Club Choices

All students will also choose one of four Club Options before they arrive:


Although some football will be played in sports sessions and in the inter-clan competitions, these football sessions will allow those with a particular interest in the sport to focus on fitness, drills, tactics and match practice.



Students who opt for photography will have opportunities to develop skills allowing them to record the fabulous natural landscapes, architecture and characters of GISS.



Drama sessions will encourage self expression, interpersonal skills and teamwork and students will work towards a unique dramatic presentation at the end of the course.


Outdoor Adventure

The outdoor adventure club will allow students to broaden their West Coast experiences on and around the school campus.  Activities might include climbing, camping, sailing, orienteering, canoeing, bushcraft and mountain biking.


Gordonstoun has an excellent sports centre, a climbing wall, an all-weather astroturf pitch, an indoor heated swimming pool, four squash courts, 12 tennis courts and a 400m track.

A wide range of sports and team games is available and attention will be paid to individual fitness and skills. Badminton, basketball, football, hockey, volleyball, tennis, squash, swimming and athletics are included.

Creative Arts

Art & Craft

Gordonstoun’s art centre will be the venue for tuition in art. In the past students have designed T-Shirts and silk paintings, made tiles and jewellery, and tried clay modelling.


Students will be taught in the school’s workshops, where they will develop their abilities and be introduced to the skills of working with wood, leather, glass, metal and enamel. Items such as candlesticks, ornamental clocks and mobiles have been taken home with pride by students of all ages.

Music Making

In music making all students are involved in collaborating to create a concert at the end of the course. Beginners will learn an instrument and the musically gifted will have opportunities to showcase their talents.

Recreation and Social Time


Options may include:

  • The City of Elgin with its historic ruined Cathedral and museum.​
  • Beautiful scenic drive to the West Coast along the banks of Loch Ness, with possible sightings of the Loch Ness Monster!
  • Inverness Castle in its historic setting on the banks of the River Ness.
  • Cawdor and Brodie Castles – both of which are in easy reach of the school.

Recreation Activities

Optional recreation activities include clay target shooting, horse riding, golf, cookery, ten-pin bowling, karting, ice-skating, cinema and, of course, shopping!

Social Time

In the evenings, between activities and during option sessions, there will be opportunities for individual choice and creative recreation; there will also be discos and socials. Outdoor facilities for football, volleyball and tennis will be available at all times.

Sailing & Outdoor Adventure

Gordonstoun’s tradition includes education through experience in adventurous activities and ocean sailing – often the highlight for many students.  A special feature of the three week courses will be the six day Adventure Programme. During this, students are looked after and instructed by a team of highly competent and experienced staff well used to teaching young people.  Even our youngest students see this adventure programme as a special time and gain greatly in confidence from it, but this year we are offering a two week programme for those who would prefer to keep their adventures to the Gordonstoun Campus.

Outdoor Adventure

Students will undertake a programme of adventurous activity: canoeing, rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking, coasteering, gorge walking, canyoning and mountain biking may be amongst the options offered.


Students will sail in the International Summer School’s fleet of ocean-going yachts around the Western Isles. During the ocean sailing, students will take a full part in all activities both on deck and below, depending on age and experience.

We aim to build the young people’s confidence in teamwork and leadership through specific activities, such as the obstacle course, low ropes and initiative tests, however these life skills are also built in a whole host of other activities in our comprehensive programme, from sailing a boat to group performances.

Sample Timetable

Sample timetable
Girl on surfboard