Merchiston Castle School, Colinton, Edinburgh EH13 0PU
440, Upper sixth 80
£5,010-£8,070 (Day), £7,030-£10,970 (Boarding)
Director of Admissions
Founded in 1833 in the centre of Edinburgh, the school moved in 1930 to Colinton House and the ruins of Colinton Castle, 4 miles south-west of the city. It is set in 100 acres of parkland beside the Water of Leith and close to the Pentland Hills. Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, purpose-built music and IT centre, a well-equipped library. The school’s ethos is based on traditional values, encouraging self-reliance and independence, as well as respect for and tolerance of others. Pupils are pupils encouraged to strive to achieve the highest levels possible in all areas – firstly academic, then cultural, sporting, leadership, and simply living together as part of a community. The English curriculum is taught; academic standards are high and results consistently good. Music is particularly strong, art, design, drama and debating are also popular; there are regular joint plays with its sister school, St George’s. The school has long had a reputation for sporting excellence, including in rugby with over 60 Merchistonians having played at full international level. There is a flourishing CCF, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, overseas expeditions and a wide range of co-curricular activities.
Headmaster: Jonathan Anderson, in post from September 2018. Jonathan grew up in Ulster and read Geography at Queen’s Belfast where he developed his appetite for teaching and subsequently completed his teaching qualification in 1997. The same year, he joined Christ’s Hospital as a Geography Teacher before being promoted in 1998 to Assistant Housemaster, and in 2003 to Housemaster in a boys’ boarding house. After almost 14 years at Christ’s Hospital, he was appointed as Senior Deputy Head at Worksop College, Nottinghamshire, where he has spent the last seven years. Teaching staff: 58 full time, 10 part time.
Merchiston’s exceptional performance at A Level and GCSE over a significant number of years demonstrates that our boys, as a cohort, are consistently amongst the highest achieving boys in Scotland.
99% of sixth form leavers go on to a degree course (some 40% after a gap year), 7% to Oxbridge and others to US Ivy League universities. 26% take courses in science and mathematics, 32% in arts, 21% in social sciences.
Music: Over 25% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Musical groups including choral society (160 pupils), chapel choir (80 pupils), close harmony group, orchestra, pipe band, jazz band. Chapel choir tours (recently to Canada and Spain). Drama: Many pupils are involved in school productions; 2 major plays annually with sister school; frequent drama workshops. Students entered for English Speaking Board exams. Art and design: On average, 20 take GCSE, 18 AS-level, 7 A-level. Art, product design and painting offered. Students enter Arkwright scholarships for design & technology.
Some 16+ sports including cricket, golf, skiing, curling and sub-aqua. Many international representatives e.g. in rugby, cricket, athletics, golf, target shooting; Scottish honours in tennis, rugby, clay-pigeon shooting; tennis and golf academies both successful. Also CCF (compulsory for 1 year); Duke of Edinburgh Award; community service. Up to 30 clubs, including art, drama, debating, chess, Young Enterprise, literary, history, music, reel. Mathematics and physics challenges and Olympiads.
Sixth formers have ensuite facilities in sixth-form house. Houses, divided by age; each with kitchens for the preparation of snacks etc. Generous exeat arrangements; access to the village and town, dependent upon age.
Merchistonian Club is is run by the President and the development office, c/o the school.
John MacGregor MP; Sir Peter Burt (former Bank of Scotland CEO); John Jeffrey (ex-Scotland XV); Lord Craigavon (first PM of Northern Ireland); Sir James Robertson (former governor-general of Nigeria); Sir Donald Acheson (formerly Government Chief Medical Officer); Lt Gen Sir Alexander Boswell; Roger Baird (consultant vascular surgeon); Sir Eric Campbell Geddes (politician and businessman); Lord (Irvine) Laidlow (businessman).