Board of Governors

Governors’ Review of Achievements and Performance in 2017/18

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Supported by a strong Senior Management Team, Cargilfield is led by its Headmaster Rob Taylor. Previously Registrar of Harrow School, and before that Head of Ashdown House Prep School in Sussex, Rob and his family took up residence at the start of the Autumn Term 2014.

In the 2017/18 academic year, pupil numbers were similar to last year with numbers rising to 317 by the summer term, with 134 in the 3-8 Pre-Prep age group and 183 in the 8-13 Upper School. Flexible boarding arrangements remained a key part of the character of Cargilfield, with about 50 children resident for all or part of the week. The advantages of a boarding culture are apparent in the offering of evening clubs and academic extras and the vibrancy of full weekend activities such as year-group leadership skills and outward-bound camps. Such flexible arrangements offer a critical first introduction to boarding, allowing parents and their children to consider a full range of subsequent senior school options.

With an average of 16 pupils per class across the School, class sizes remained appropriate to the Cargilfield approach. Form 8 was smaller than in previous years and only twenty-three children sat 13+ Scholarship or Common Entrance, with all gaining entry into their chosen senior schools. In addition, six children in Form 8 who were young enough to remain at Cargilfield for another year, also took Common Entrance examinations which were marked externally. Seven scholarships were won by the leaving cohort. We are proud of the School’s strong record for awards over the last ten years and, although the number of awards is down on previous years and larger cohorts, it is worth noting that these include a Winchester Election and the top academic award to Wycombe Abbey, two of the leading academic schools in the UK. The destination schools remain as diverse as the talents of the pupils themselves, and this year included Eton College, Fettes College, Loretto School, Merchiston Castle School, Radley College, Rugby School, St Mary’s School Ascot, St Mary’s School Calne, Sedbergh School, Winchester College and Wycombe Abbey School.

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The pastoral care of our children is key to Cargilfield’s values and its success. This exists within the framework of a family-run school which is both a school and a second home to many children. We have recently begun a programme of training staff in mental health first aid and have underpinned our pastoral care by the appointment of a school counsellor, who supports a number of children and families. Our senior children have undertaken a revised course of instruction and discussion in Personal, Health and Social Education, working more informally in small groups on Wednesday evenings, while teaching staff have also undertaken an evening course in mindfulness. We have organised training sessions for staff and parents alike which have included internet safety training and a presentation on the development of a child’s brain by a leading writer and speaker on child psychology.

The School Nursery was inspected by the Care Inspectorate in March 2017, and was awarded ‘Very Good’ in both of the categories examined: quality of care and support and quality of management and leadership. To conclude, the report stated that ‘The staff had high expectations for all children, resulting in confident, motivated, successful learners.’

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The School continues to promote an all-round education in every way for each child. The music, art, design and technology departments provide an excellent outlet for the nurturing of specific talents, as well as offering cross-curricular opportunities into the main academic syllabus. Some re-organsiation of the Art Room will see us start the new year with improved facilities for pottery. In music, we have enthusiastic junior and senior choirs that perform every week in chapel and enjoy travelling to events such as the annual Glenalmond Choral Day. This year saw our second Choral Evening with the whole of the Upper School plus parents, staff and invited guests performing the Haydn Mass. All children are encouraged to play an instrument and the year saw the further extension of group activities from trios to quintets as well as the existing strength of the pipe band. We are looking to extend the range of instruments within the department so as to allow children more opportunities to try new instruments. 2018 saw us produce our own hymn and service book for chapel and introduce an adult choir for staff and parents.

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All children may take part in a drama production during the year, be it school or year group plays, with some topics designed to build on particular areas of interest in the academic curriculum. We are proud that every child in the School performed on stage at some point in the year with some taking further opportunities through the Drama Club productions and a group of Form 7 and 8 children appearing in a joint production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Eagle House School. Debating is now a key part of the curriculum for children in their last three years. We have hosted the Scottish Prep Schools Debating Competition for two years and fielded the winning team this year. 2018 also saw our first ever Book Festival and teams entering the East of Scotland Lit Quiz in which we finished as the top junior school team.

In IT, a series of new initiatives continues to improve the base infrastructure and allow the expansion of technology into teaching and learning. Building on the significant upgrade to broadband capacity completed previously, the server, Wi-Fi and support systems have all been improved. Staff are continuing to evaluate the greater integration of iPads and smart boards into curriculum delivery, and the Education Committee continues to work alongside the Senior Management Team to scope out the best strategies for training and development. For the pupils themselves, ICT has been re-branded as Computer Science to reflect the changing nature of the curriculum with additional opportunities for advances in coding offered both within the School and through external clubs.


Sport and outward bound activities remain core to Cargilfield’s distinctive offering. Games are played every afternoon and allow a mix of activity for girls and boys. While sport can be a life-long passion for some, making it fun for all has to be at the heart of any prep school. The 2017/18 year was another successful one on the games field with both Under 11 boys and girls hockey teams making the later stages of the IAPS National Hockey Finals. The boys finished 7th and the girls 2nd. For the second year, we have hosted a rugby 7s tournament for under 11 boys. A number of boys and girls were successful in winning all rounder scholarships to their senior schools while others represented Scottish Prep School and Regional teams in a variety of sports. We have just completed the construction of a new ¾ sized astroturf playing surface to support our coaching of all ages and abilities of games players.

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The School makes good use of its opportunities in the Scottish countryside. All children in the Upper School have the option to take part in camping trips through the year – and we have developed many intrepid Munro-baggers, canoeists, cyclists and climbers. In Form 7, the whole year group visit the Burn Estate in Kincardineshire for a 2 day Geography and Science Field trip. A group of Form 7 children were also invited to take part in a three day sailing expedition off the West Coast of Scotland.

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Against the background of enthusiastic staff and pupils, the School has to be fit for purpose. In addition to the new astroturf sports facilities, the last ten years have seen the addition of two new classroom blocks, a new music school, and a substantial changing room facility. Less obvious but perhaps more critical is our ongoing programme of repair and renewal. The School has completed a major re-roofing project covering the main building and the Chapel, renewed boilers and electrical connections, as well as investing to update our systems and practices in respect of IT, asbestos, water and fire. We have reviewed and updated our approach to property management and health & safety, working with appropriate professional advisers and ensuring adequate training of all staff. A very visible manifestation of this review has been the repairs and alterations to the on-site roadways, which have allowed us to improve parking and ensure School grounds are as safe as possible. In addition to building and re-laying sports pitches in the Summer of 2018, we have made some improvements to the playground areas for children in the Pre Prep and we are planning to refurbish and equip our School chapel and theatre.

This year has seen Cargilfield review its approach to marketing, including an update of the School’s crest to include images contained within the Barnton gates and the creation of a new website and Prospectus Book. A child’s view map of the School and its surroundings was painted and now hangs in the front hall with cards and postcards created from the original image.


The School undertook a significant piece of work during the Spring term to ensure compliance with new data protection legislation (GDPR) that came into force in May 2018. This included staff training delivered by a leading law firm, a School-wide data mapping exercise to develop an information asset register andthe production and implementation of a new data protection policy, privacy notices and consent forms. Briefing sessions were also held with children in forms 7 & 8, as the new regulations empower children in Scotland to make informed decisions about use of their personal data from the age of 12.

The Governors have continued to review their approach to the oversight of the School. In terms of training and the assimilation of best practice, the Governors held their first INSET training session in which a review of updates to Child Protection legislation were considered and used their meetings to invite external advice and guidance on the affordability of independent school fees. In the light of this, they have also considered the impact of changes to Business Rates relief as well as possible changes to VAT and charitable status. Building on the update to governance structures and the evaluation of risks carried out in 2014/15, the Governor-led Health and Safety Committee continued a thorough review of processes and approach. The Senior Management Team was also supported in its implementation of new GDPR legislation, as described in the previous paragraph. The Education and Welfare Committee continued its work in guiding developments in pastoral care and the broad curriculum by exploring the structure of academic departments and how this will help improvement planning, an analysis of Common Entrance performance and a consideration of language teaching provision.


Cargilfield is proud of its position in the community. Cargilfield buildings and grounds are available to hire for a wide range of activities and events. The Edinburgh Suzuki Concert and three day workshops are held both in the Music School and in the Chapel. The Pipe Band plays regularly in the local area; the Chapel Choir visits nursing homes in the area, as do groups of children during the week to chat and Cargilfield has very close links with Cramond Kirk. The Sports Hall is used regularly by various groups in the Edinburgh area for badminton, cricket, fencing, football and hockey in particular. In addition, the School allows Netball Scotland to use the School as a coaching hub for its age group players and Cramond Primary School use many facilities at the School throughout the course of the year.

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The Cargilfield Activity Week during the summer is open not only to Cargilfield children, but also to others in the Edinburgh area. Similar holiday coaching camps for football, fencing and Young Engineers are also hosted. The annual Christmas Fair is open to the public and continues to be very popular. We look very favourably on all applications from outside Cargilfield to use Cargilfield grounds and facilities. Some of the groups which use Cargilfield do so free of charge, in other cases, there is a very low hourly-rate.

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During the year, children and parents of Cargilfield have raised in excess of £13,000 for various charitable causes. The children were involved in selecting the three major charities for fund-raising events involving parents, staff and children. For 2017/18, these were Canine Partners, Who Cares? Scotland and the SSPCA. The main focus for the pupil’s fund-raising efforts continues to be the School Summer fair and the annual Pentland Round sponsored walk, for which all of the Upper School (and many in the Pre-Prep) walk 13 miles through our local hills. In addition pupils, parents and staff organise cake and toy sales, discos and ceilidhs during the year to boost the fundraising totals.

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There is a continued emphasis from the School and the Board of Governors to use bursaries to enable access to pupils from a wide range of backgrounds and to maintain the social mix and diversity of the School. Bursary support is available from Form 4 and includes 100% awards. This has enabled some children to attend the School who would not otherwise have been able to do so and is accompanied by appropriate guidance when such pupils are looking at senior school places. Recent years have seen the beneficiaries of the bursary scheme move on to fully assisted places at major public schools in both Scotland and England.

The total number of means tested bursaries awarded in 2018 was 14 (2017: 16), with an annual value of £163,908 (2017: £187,775). Three pupils received 100% bursaries during the year (2017: 3) and a further four pupils received bursaries of 90% or above (2016: 5). The School continues its ongoing support for this purpose, and the value of the designated Bursary Fund at 31 July 2018 was £1,028,359 (2017: £964,864).

Over the years, a number of children who received significant bursaries and would not otherwise have been able to access independent education, have thrived at Cargilfield and beyond. In recent years these have included:

  • Girl 1 Won an academic scholarship to a major Scottish boarding school
  • Boy 1 Won a music scholarship to a major Scottish boarding school
  • Girl 2 Was appointed a prefect and won a music scholarship to a major Scottish boarding school
  • Boy 2 Was appointed a prefect and won an all round scholarship to a major Scottish boarding school
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Our future plans reflect our commitment to an excellent all-round education for pupils within a flexible boarding and day environment delivered by a motivated and professional staff.

It is the view of the Board that the current pupil roll of around 300 allows the breadth of curriculum to be sustained against a solid financial background. The strategy for intake at the Pre-Prep and Upper School levels will be structured around that level, with appropriately sized classes.

Key initiatives for the year ahead include establishing a new three-year IT development plan, upgrades to Pre-Prep facilities and the chapel (particularly the stage area) and the reorganisation of academic departments within the Upper School. The early part of the year will also see the completion of projects begun during 2018 including the launch of the new prospectus gift book and the official opening of the new astro pitches and the consequent expansion of sports provision, particularly for girls. Improvements to the facilities in the Art department are also being planned as is a new space for the Nursery forest kindergarten initiative. 2018/19 will also see the establishment of a new Child Protection Committee drawn from staff, Governors and external specialists in line with current requirements.

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See the school accounts at the bottom of this page.

The Governors

Mr David Nisbet

Mr David Nisbet, BA (Hons) Chairman (FGP, G&N)

After University in Leicester, David started his career at the Bristol Evening Post. He then worked for the BBC for more than 15 years in television and radio news and current affairs. He left in 1998 to work in Corporate Communications and in 2004 he joined Cairn Energy PLC and is currently their Director Group Corporate Affairs, with responsibility for Investor Relations and Communications. He is also a board member of the Winning Scotland Foundation. David has three children all of whom attended Cargilfield. He has stood on most touchlines for whatever sport, watching all three play games at prep and senior schools across the UK. He joined the Board in 2011.

Rachel Bucknall

Mrs Rachel Bucknall

Rachel is a director of the TBC Pub Company which owns and runs The Bridge Inn at Ratho, and The Ship Inn and The 19th Hole in Elie. She was brought up near Kelso and educated at Queen Mary’s in Helmsley and then at Haileybury College before going to York University to study music. She has three children all of whom went to Cargilfield from nursery, and then went onto Rugby School. She was Chair of Friends of Cargilfield for a number of years and her brothers, father and grandfather are all past pupils, making Cargilfield truly run through her veins. In her spare time Rachel sings for The Scottish Chamber Choir, occasionally plays for The Scottish Sinfonia, and looks after her small-holding producing meat, vegetables and eggs for her pubs. Rachel joined the Board in 2017, and takes a particular interest in marketing and contact with Old Cargundians.

Mrs Caroline Cook

Mrs Caroline Cook, MA (Cantab), (Vice Chairman, FGP, G&N)

Caroline has three children, all of whom have been to Cargilfield. The elder two went on to Wycombe Abbey and Harrow, while the youngest has recently joined Fettes. After graduating in Modern History from Cambridge, Caroline began a career in investment banking specialising in the oil and gas sector. Moving to Edinburgh in the early 1990s, she became co-head of Deutsche Bank’s top rated equities team. Since 2016, work has been focused on governance and the energy transition, and as of January 2020, at Baillie Gifford. Beyond work and washing-up, Caroline is generally to be found outside – either on a bike or in the hills. She joined the Cargilfield Board in 2013, and her main responsibilities concern the school’s finances and planning.

Mr Roy Leckie

Mr Roy Leckie BSc (Hons), (FGP)

Roy Leckie was born in London in 1972 and spent his early years there and on the Wirral. Roy’s family moved to Hong Kong in 1979 where he attended GSIS, and then in 1985 boarding at Fettes College. After leaving Fettes Roy went to Glasgow University from where he graduated with a BSc (Honours) degree in Statistics. In 1995 Roy joined investment management firm Walter Scott & Partners where he is now a Director co-leading its 30 strong investment management group. Roy is a keen sportsman and having retired from playing rugby enjoys swimming, hillwalking, skiing, golf and playing tennis. Roy represented Hong Kong at age group level in both swimming and rugby and more recently has participated in a number of endurance and open water swimming events. He enjoys travelling with his family and is involved in a number of charities. Roy has two children at Cargilfield and joined the Board in 2016, where he takes the lead on property issues.

Ms Elaine Logan (Education) MA

Ms Elaine Logan (Education) MA, PGCE, PGC Counselling and PGC Pupil Support, (Education and Welfare)

Elaine was Warden at Glenalmond College before retiring in August 2019. She read English at Edinburgh University and completed her PGCE at Moray House. Her first teaching appointment was at Viewforth High School in Kirkcaldy, after which she spent 14 years at Dollar Academy. Throughout her time at Dollar she was a Housemistress and Principal teacher of Guidance. During this time she completed Post Graduate Certificates in Counselling and in Guidance and Pupil Support. She joined Loretto School in 2001 as a Housemistress and became a member of Loretto SMT in 2006. She held the positions of Assistant Head Pastoral Care, Director of Compliance, Inspections and Child Protection, Deputy Head and Acting Head. She joined the Board in 2015.

Mrs Sally Hamilton

Mrs Sally Hamilton, LLB, DipLP

Sally has two children both of whom attended Cargilfield before going on to Glenalmond College where they are still pupils. She chaired the Friends of Cargilfield for almost three years and has always been a keen supporter of the school. Sally worked as a solicitor in Edinburgh working in commercial/civil litigation and latterly criminal cases before ‘retiring’ to bring up her children. She then became involved in supporting several charities and is now employed part-time advising a Family Trust. Whilst her days as a keen sportswoman are long behind her she enjoys country sports, entertaining and skiing badly.

Dr Morwenna Wood, MA (Oxon)

Dr Morwenna Wood, MA (Oxon), MBBS (London), FRCP (Edin)

Morwenna Nyirenda (Wood) qualified as a doctor from University College London in 1991 and prior to that did PPE at Balliol College, Oxford, and worked as a teacher in Nigeria with Voluntary Services Overseas. She worked in London, Oxford and Nottingham before moving to Scotland in 1997. She has been a Consultant Nephrologist since 2002 and Director of Medical Education in NHS Fife since 2008. She has honorary status as Professor with University of St Andrews and as Senior Lecturer with University of Edinburgh.

She has three daughters who have all been at Cargilfield from Nursery onwards. Zengani, Lunjika and Chidaro are now all at Rugby School. Morwenna loves to be outside when she can and her hobbies include walking and gardening. She joined the Board in 2015, and leads the Board on medical and welfare issues.

Mrs Susan Younger

Mrs Susan Younger, LLB, DipLP, W.S., (FGP, G&N)

Susan was brought up in Southern Ireland and Scotland where she attended St Margaret’s School, Newington. She studied Law in Aberdeen and moved to Edinburgh to work as a lawyer for 28 years, latterly as a Partner and Head of Banking for Morton Fraser LLP. Whilst maintaining her practising certificate with the Law Society for Scotland she changed the focus of her career on October 2015 and took over as Chief Executive of Cairn Mhor Childcare Partnership Limited, a company based in Fife, a position Susan held until March 2019. Cairn Mhor operates 3 children’s residential homes in Leven, Freuchie and Falkland looking after 11 children placed in care by the Local Authorities. This position combined Susan’s interest in the law around young people and running a business providing support and nurture for children who have all had very challenging starts to their lives. She has 3 girls who all attended Cargilfield, as did her husband Mike Younger. Susan joined the Board in 2016 and leads on legal matters.

Mr Andrew MacGregor

Mr Andrew McGregor, MA (Cantab) (Education and Welfare)

Following school at University College School, Hampstead, Andrew read Classics at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He began his career at Brentwood School before joining Harrow School in 1987, where he taught for three decades. He was House Master of The Head Master’s before his appointment to Harrow’s Senior Management Team in September 2012. As Senior Tutor, he oversaw safeguarding and child protection as well as other areas of pastoral care and pupil welfare. Andrew takes a keen interest in all forms of sport. He is a published playwright with a love of musical theatre and continues to use his tenor voice wherever possible (most recently with Chelmsford Cathedral Choir). Andrew joined the Board in 2018. He is a member of the Education and Welfare Committee.

Purpose and Governance

Cargilfield School was founded in 1873 as a Charitable Trust, with the principal object of providing the best education for its pupils. The Headmaster is in charge of the day-to-day management of the School, and reports to the Board of Governors. The Board is charged with ensuring the long term stability and effectiveness of the Trust, and is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the School in partnership with the Headmaster and the Senior Management Team.

Governing Documents

The charitable company is governed by its Articles of Association, and publishes its report and accounts annually. The School is subject to review by the Office of the Scottish Charities regulator (OSCR), to ensure that it meets the appropriate charity tests and continues to deliver public benefit. This is a rolling process, and the School was last reviewed, and passed, in 2011.

Board of Governors

The Board generally has a membership of around 10 with the intent of drawing together a variety of skills and experiences appropriate to the functions of the School. In addition to education and the provision of a safe environment, it is particularly important that the Board can offer leadership in legal, financial, medical and commercial matters.

The Governors are appointed by the Board. The composition reflects a mix of past and current parents, former pupils, education professionals and independents with particularly relevant expertise. Generally, members will serve a maximum of two terms of four years each. The position is unpaid.

The Chairman of the Board is Mr David Nisbet.


The Board encourages an open communications policy. Its members are in attendance at a range of school events, and meet frequently with representatives of the Friends of Cargilfield and the School staff.

While more formal issues or queries should be addressed to the Headmaster in the first instance, the Chairman of the Board can always be contacted through the school office. This can be done by post:

Clerk to the Governors,

45 Gamekeeper’s Road,



Or by email to, for the attention of ‘Clerk to the Governors’.

Cargilfield: The Enduring Objectives

The Governors have agreed the following enduring objectives to underpin the general strategic direction of the school:

  • To provide the highest standards of teaching; attracting and developing the highest caliber of staff
  • To deliver an excellent educational outcome for each child by developing their specific interests and abilities to maximize choices for the future
  • To ensure a broad and challenging educational programme that can stretch and nurture each child
  • To maintain a boarding/day mix for children 3-13 for entry into the leading Senior Schools across the UK
  • To provide an active environment for Sport, Drama, Music and wider extracurricular activities
  • To ensure excellent standards in pastoral care and child welfare from Nursery to 13+
  • To enable the focus on each child through appropriately small class sizes
  • To create a sustainable financial foundation for the long term future of the school

The Board at work

Supplemented by the work of its committees, the full Board meets at least once a term. The Board’s main objective is to formulate a clear strategy and direction for the School, in partnership with the Headmaster and his Senior Management Team, while ensuring its financial stability. The members of the Board support the leadership and administration of the School both directly, and through the appointment of appropriate external advisers.

At each termly meeting, the Board takes reports from the Headmaster and the Bursar addressing the broad educational, pastoral and financial needs of the School, and always considers critical issues such as child protection, health & safety and a broad review of potential risks. The reports of the various committees described below are tabled and discussed. In addition, the Board holds a strategy meeting early in the Spring Term of each year to consider the longer term direction and management of Cargilfield.

Finance and General Purposes Committee (FGP)

The Finance and General Purposes Committee, assisted by the Headmaster and the Bursar, is responsible for overseeing the financial performance and outlook of the School. The committee recommends to the Board proposals on capital expenditure, fees, staff contracts and employment conditions, and the strategy for pupil and staff numbers. It is responsible for overseeing the investment of financial reserves, and for reviewing the annual accounts. In addition to its responsibility for overseeing risk assessment and mitigation, the FGP also carries the remit for ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory matters such as Charity and Company law. The FGP committee oversees the property of the School. This includes the maintenance of the existing estate, the management of the assets and new building works. Health and Safety issues are considered by an internal committee with a direct report to the full Board.

The FGP committee meets at least once a term and is supported in its work by the Company Secretary (Chiene & Tait), the Auditor (Scott-Moncrieff), financial advisers (Turcan Connell), and HR consultants (Navigator). The Chairman of the FGP is Mrs Caroline Cook.

Education and Welfare Committee

The Education and Welfare Committee of the Board is responsible for overseeing the broad educational approach at Cargilfield, and meets twice a year. The committee comprises members of the Governing Board and the Senior Management team and provides a forum for consideration of the curriculum, teaching and learning in the school, extra-curricular activities and pastoral issues. The Chairman of the Committee is Mr Andrew McGregor.

The Governance and Nominations Committee

This committee meets at least once a year and its purpose is to maximize the effectiveness of the Board. Its remit covers issues such as the structure, development and membership of the Board, as well as succession planning for the School’s Senior Management Team. The committee works closely with the FGP Committee in the assessment and mitigation of risks that could impact on Cargilfield. The Chairman of the Committee is Mrs Susan Younger.

School Accounts

Cargilfield Accounts 2018

Cargilfield Connected

We can’t welcome you to our grounds right now, but we hope that this video, presented by our Headmaster, Mr Rob Taylor, will give you a flavour of what life is like here at Cargilfield.

We have places available for 2020 entry in most year groups.

Our website and social media channels are being kept up to date and hold a wealth of information about our school. We hope these give you a flavour of what life is like here at Cargilfield.

Our Registrar, Fiona Craig is available to contact via email: and she will be happy to help.

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