You would be forgiven for thinking that having your mum as a teacher would be a nightmare for some children. However, for the Erskines, life in the Green Blazer wouldn’t have been the same without their mum – and the feeling is mutual.
“I’ve been teaching at the College for 22 years so even I have grown up here,” Mrs Erskine explains. “I feel very lucky to have seen my own children grow up here, Emma has just finished Sixth Year so it’s the end of an era for her!”
As Depute Head, Mrs Erskine leads on Pastoral Care at the College, and places great emphasis on ensuring every child is known and loved within the Aloysian community. Allowing pupils to flourish whilst providing support at times when life isn’t easy can be challenging, but incredibly rewarding.
“The school feels like a family to me, and I don’t just mean my own children,” she says. “I am passionate about getting it right for every child, and ensuring that the College is somewhere that they feel supported throughout their school years. I love seeing them grow into well-rounded men and women.”
Starting out as a teacher, Mrs Erskine hadn’t thought much about working in the independent sector. In fact, it wasn’t something she had seen herself doing.
“Like a lot of people I had preconceptions of independent education as having a stiff upper class feel,” she explains. “I have to admit to having been totally blown away when I started teaching here. It was by far the best decision of my life.”
What about Mr Erskine? He doesn’t come to work here every day, and wasn’t a pupil – so how does he feel about the school, we ask. Is it a good fit for the Erskine family?
“We are a crazy, fun family – we’re all off our heads but we’re very close,” he says. “We’re very normal and I I found the idea intimidating at first. I was quite daunted by it, the people, the school building, possibly because of all the history it holds. But once you get inside the people are not what you expect. Everyone is down to earth and from all walks of life, the best thing about the school has to be the people.”
Like a lot of siblings at the College, Robbie and Emma are very different. Robbie loves sport, particularly rugby, football and golf. He’s the strong silent type, listing History as his favourite subject, “because the teachers love it and they make it fun”.
Emma, by contrast, is much more chatty. With 14 years in the Green Blazer about to end, she is nostalgic but excited about the future.
“I’m really going to miss family time travelling to school with Robbie and my mum. I am going to Strathclyde University to study Psychology,” she enthuses. “I am really looking forward to it, I’ve always been fascinated by people’s behaviour.
“I’m so sad to be leaving, St Aloysius’ has been home to me for most of my life. I just don’t want to leave. Sixth year has been the best year of my life. The whole year is really close, they feel more like brothers and sisters. We’re all going on holiday together when school finishes – we just can’t let go. We can’t wait for our reunion already – only ten years to go!”