Merchiston Castle School: middle years

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.

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, the best possible platform for moving onwards into the Sixth Form.

Come and visit us and see for yourself the spirit, ethos and demeanour of our boys.

Middle Years Houses (Day and Boarding):

Chalmers West (IV Form, year 9, S2)

Chalmers East (Shell Form, year 10, S3)

Rogerson (V Form, year 11, S4)

Boarding in the 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.


Sally Allison BA PGDE
Housemother (Chalmers East)
Mrs Allison is Housemother of Chalmers East and a fully qualified teacher of Health and Food Technology. She is also an artist and printmaker and designs vintage-inspired railway posters celebrating the North of England.
Caroline Blair
Housemother (Rogerson and Evans)
Mrs Blair is Housemother of Rogerson and Evans. She lives on site with Mr David Blair (who also works at the School) and their young son, Hunter.
Niall Lear BSc, MSc
Housemaster of Chalmers East; Teacher of Physical Education
Amy McGregor
Housemother (Chalmers West)
Formally the Middle Years Housemother, Mrs McGregor is now Housemother in Chalmers West.
William Ogilvie-Jones BSc
Housemaster of Chalmers West, Teacher of Design & Technology
Mr Ogilvie-Jones is Housemaster of Chalmers West. As well as teaching Design & Technology, he also teaches Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE). He coaches the Schools B3 rugby team as well as athletics.
Philip Rossiter MA
Housemaster of Rogerson
Mr Rossiter has been at Merchiston since 1985. He has been Housemaster of Third Form, Chalmers West and Chalmers East during that time, and was Director of Music for some 20 years of his Merchiston career. He is currently the Housemaster of Rogerson.



Full details of the curriculum offered in these years is available on the Curriculum page of the Academic section of the website.

Entry Requirements

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+)

Candidates may be asked to sit written examinations in Mathematics, English and in Science.

Daily Routine

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 8.50-10.50 8.50-10.50 8.50-10.50
Break 10.50-11.15 10.50-11.15 10.50-11.15
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
Prep 6.30-8.00 7.00-8.30 7.00-8.45
Day boy pick up 8.10 onwards 8.30 onwards 8.45 onwards
Evening activities 8.15-9.15 8.45-9.30  8.45-10.00
Duties/Bed 9.15 9.30 10.00
Lights out/silence 9.45 10.15 10.15


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.

Middle Years Gallery

Please follow the link to the Photo Gallery

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