New boys start in Fourth Form, when they join Chalmers West House. They meet up with those boys who have moved up from our Juniors and form a year group of around 60 boys. In the following year, which we call ‘Shell’, the boys are starting to focus on their GCSEs. The next year, Fifth Form, is then the crucial GCSE year, and this is when all the preparation and hard work pays dividends.
My role as Head of these years, is to ensure these three years are not only a time of strong academic advancement, but also a time of fun, exploration and cultural and sporting expression. Boys mature rapidly between 13 and 16, and our specialist knowledge of teaching boys in a boys only environment gives the Merchiston boy, in my view, the best possible platform for moving onwards into the Sixth Form.
Robin Pyper, Head of Middle Years
Many boys who start out as day boys quickly convert to boarding when they see the benefits of spending longer with their peers, and the numerous evening activities on offer.
In the Chalmers Houses (IV Form & Shell) accommodation is in dormitories which are subdivided into smaller areas of 3 or 4 beds. In V Form, boys have a shared or single bedroom/study.
IV Form (13+) and Shell (14+)
For those joining IV Form from preparatory schools, the qualifying examination is the Common Entrance set by a central HMC/IAPS board. For those coming from other schools into IV or Shell Forms, candidates sit examinations in Mathematics and English, and also sit a Non Verbal Reasoning test and complete an online screening assessment.
V Form (15+)
|IV Form||Shell||V Form|
|Wake up call||7.00||7.10||7.10|
|Roll call for boarders||7.40||7.30||7.30|
|Breakfast||7.40 onwards||7.30 onwards||7.30 onwards|
|Day boy roll call||8.15||8.15||8.15|
|Assembly||8.15 Tues & 8.20 Weds||8.15 Tues & 8.20 Weds||8.15 Tues & 8.20 Weds|
|Lessons||11.15-12.35 or 1.15||11.15-1.15||11.15-1.15|
|Lunch||12.35 or 1.15||1.15||1.15|
|Lessons||2.05-4.05 Mon, Weds, Fri||2.05-4.05 Mon, Weds, Fri||2.05-4.05 Mon, Weds, Fri|
|Games/Activities||4.20 Mon, Weds, Fri/2.30 Tues, Thurs||4.20 Mon, Weds, Fri/2.30 Tues, Thurs||4.20 Mon, Weds, Fri/2.30 Tues, Thurs|
|Tea||5.20 onwards||5.20 onwards||5.20 onwards|
|Day boy pick up||8.10 onwards||8.30 onwards||8.45 onwards|
Weekends are busy times for our pupils, with plenty on offer. Saturday is a normal school day with lessons taught as they would be on a Tuesday or Thursday. After lunch, most boys will have sports fixtures, either at home or away. The evenings will often see an activity such as a pizza or DVD evening, or reel clubs and ceilidhs with local girls’ schools.
On Sundays, a Service is held either in the morning or evening, and activities are organized during the rest of the day. The range is vast, and typical examples include: , cinema trips, go-karting, swimming pool/leisure centre visits, ice skating, international rugby matches at Murrayfield, museum visits, visits to places of interest, paintballing, football and other games. Boys may choose to have ‘leave-out’ or to visit Edinburgh to meet with friends or family.
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