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At A Glance

School News

Junior Christmas Fair

Hot chocolate, mince pies and Christmas fair games could all be found in The Secret Garden. 

Contact Admissions

Director of Admissions: Kay Wilson

Telephone: +44 (0) 131 312 2201/4


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There are times when you just need a few key facts and figures. Read, digest, and be sure to call Admissions if you would like further information or to arrange a visit. 

Contact Details
Address Merchiston Castle School, Colinton, Edinburgh EH13 0PU
Telephone Number +44 (0)131 312 2200


Mr Jonathan Anderson

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School roll

The School currently has 440 boys, aged from 7 to 18.


Merchiston Castle School was founded by Charles Chalmers as an all-boys boarding school in 1828 in Edinburgh. In 1833 the School moved to Merchiston Castle, a nearby 15th century tower. In 1930 the School moved to its present site, and the main buildings and boarding houses were purpose-built at that time. This gives the School its beautiful location and about 100 acres of parkland.

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The School is a registered UK charity; governed by its Board of Governors and run by the Headmaster and senior teaching staff.

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Our mission is to provide a caring community for your son, which treats him as an individual, unearths and tends his talents, encourages him to pursue excellence in all he does, and enables him to really flourish.


We aim to ensure that your son:

  • Acquires the confidence and leadership skills to succeed in a dynamic and global world, and to strive for the highest standards
  • Balances modesty and confidence
  • Becomes an enthusiastic and curious learner achieving excellence in all he does
  • Develops compassion, respect for others and integrity
  • Discovers and embraces all the opportunities on offer to develop his talents
  • Enjoys a sense of happiness and fulfilment
  • Learns tolerance and responsibility
  • Understands the needs of others within and beyond our community

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Mrs Pippa Axon

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Senior staff

  • Alan Johnston (Senior Deputy Head)
  • Stephen Campbell (Deputy Head Academic)
  • Richard Charman (Deputy Head Co-curriculum)
  • Niamh Waldron (Head of Merchiston Juniors).

School structure

The School is divided into three sections: Merchiston Juniors (7+ to 12), Middle Years (13+ to 15+) and the Sixth Form (16+ to 17+).

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Boys can board from the age of 7 to 18. There are six Houses: Pringle, Chalmers West, Chalmers East, Rogerson, Evans and Laidlaw.

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Day Boys

All day boys are based (for study, prep and sports equipment) in the relevant House for their Form, except in Upper and Lower Sixth, when they join Evans House.

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  • Mrs Ruth MacLellan (Pringle)
  • Mr William Ogilvie-Jones (Chalmers West)
  • Mr Bruce Aitchison (Chalmers East)
  • Mr David Blair (Rogerson)
  • Mr Richard McCorkell (Evans)
  • Mr Nick Lieberman (Laidlaw South)
  • Mr Danny Rowlands (Laidlaw North)

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School staff

90 full and part-time staff

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Teacher to pupil ratio

Teacher to pupil ratio: 1:7

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Average class size

Classes vary from personal tuition for some specialist  subjects to approximately 20. Average size is 15.

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The School follows the English GCSE and A Level system, although in some subjects Scottish qualifications are also available if this best suits your son.

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Academic results

Our exam results show both the consistency and excellence of an education at Merchiston, which place us annually at the top of the league tables of Scottish schools.

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The majority of boys gain entry to their first choice University, mostly in the UK, but also in the USA and China. Over 50 boys have gone to Oxford or Cambridge over the last 10 years.

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The School runs three choirs, a jazz band, a chamber orchestra and two pipe bands. Your son can learn an instrument from the full range of orchestral instruments, piping or drumming and rock music instruments. The School performs regular musical dramas, concerts, and pupils compete in events.

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The School offers many sports, including: rugby, cricket, football, fives, athletics, squash, swimming, tennis, shooting, skiing, hockey, golf and basketball.

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The School offers a wide range of co-curricular activities including: music, drama, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Combined Cadet Force, Scottish country dancing, and business and entrepreneurial activities.

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Links with girls’ schools

The School has links with these girls’ schools: St George’s School (Edinburgh) and Kilgraston (Perthshire).

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Fees Summary 2019-20

  Age(s) of Pupil Boarding Fee per Term  Day Fee per Term
IV Form and above 13 – 18 £11,730 £8,510
II and III Form 11 – 12 £8,390 £5,660
J4 to I Form 7 – 10 £7,220 £5,010

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Bursaries and scholarships

You may apply for means tested awards of up to 100% of the fees if you are unable to afford the fees. Academic scholarships do not carry fee concessions.

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Term dates

  • The Autumn Term runs from late August until mid-December.
  • The Lent Term runs from early January until late-March.
  • The Summer Term runs from mid-April until late June.

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Admissions enquiries

Kay Wilson

Kay Wilson

Director of Admissions

Tel: +44 (0)131 312 2201

Annual Reports