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Merchiston Castle School...

Top Scottish Independent Boys School

Merchiston is Scotland’s only all-boys independent boarding and day school. Why has it remained steadfastly boys-only?

The answer is based on the strong conviction that what they are doing works. The school has been teaching boys, and only boys, for 175 years and has no intention of changing. Merchiston knows from experience that a boys-only education can have huge benefits for boys and this is borne out by the pupils who continue to gain top academic and sporting accolades. Indeed, there is a growing body of research that shows single-sex education helps young girls and boys to perform better than a co-educational approach. Teachers at Merchiston are able to adopt methods which appeal to boys, and the boys are able to compete on a level playing field with their peers.

In 2013, pupils achieved the highest percentage of A* awards at A level in Scotland, and the school really does turn the ‘C student’ into a ‘B student’ and the ‘B student’ into an ‘A student’. The ‘value added’ at A level, for the past four consecutive years, has been described as significantly very good by the University of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring.

However, the question which prospective parents ask most often is Will my son get to meet any girls? The answer is… Of course they will! Merchiston makes the most of its strong links with girls’ schools for drama performances, cultural events, social gatherings and school trips.

There is no substitute for visiting Merchiston for yourself. By meeting the teachers, current pupils and seeing the wonderful facilities, only then will you really get a feel for the unique atmosphere, ethos and spirit on offer.

"Our main objective is to motivate pupils to try their hardest and 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 modern way of life at Merchiston is therefore busy and exacting and we seek to maintain the delicate balance of priorities within and outside the classroom. However, whilst revelling in the excellence of the sporting, musical and numerous other activities, we continue to emphasise the primacy of academic work, which is at the heart of the total curriculum.

Our links with girls' schools, namely St George's, Edinburgh, and Kilgraston, Perthshire, are also vital. Pastoral care underpins all aspects of the School, for if the boys are not looked after, they cannot perform. Our location within 100 acres of exceptionally beautiful grounds, only a few miles from the centre of Edinburgh, allows ease of access to an exciting range of cultural opportunities. Essentially, whilst we are concentrating on the academic platform of each boy alongside the importance of co-curricular activities, we also try to focus on developing boys who have a sense of values."

Andrew Hunter, Headmaster

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