Merchiston Castle School: pastoral care

The School’s duty to care for all boys whilst they are with us is naturally a key concern for all parents and a vital priority for the School. One of our key goals is to ensure we are a safe and happy community, and this depends on everyone within the community feeling valued and supported.

All boys have a defined support structure in place to monitor and mentor their well-being and day-to-day happiness. Every boy has a Housemaster, a Tutor and specific Prefects whose role is to safeguard their welfare when at the School, but also to understand and help with any other issues. From J4 to V Form inclusive, there is a Housemother who also helps look after the boys.

Additionally, the Chaplaincy Team provides spiritual guidance and counselling; indeed, many parents find that the intuitive skills of Nick Blair and Philip Rossiter are an additional valuable resource.

Implicit in the ethos of the School is the awareness that as boys enter and pass through puberty, many important and difficult issues will confront them. A Personal, Social & Health Education programme appropriate to each year group is run within the curriculum. The programme is extensive and wide-ranging: teaching is through PSHE classes and RS lessons, as well as through House seminars and co-curricular talks.

The School has a legal requirement to ensure that all the pupils live in a safe environment. Follow the link for Child Protection information.

You can view reports on the School’s welfare standards by HMIE / Care Inspectorate – the official Government inspections.


Irene Stewart BEd
Head of Support for Learning and EAL; Assistant Head Pupil Support
Mrs Stewart was appointed Assistant Head Pupil Support in 2016. She joined the School in 2007 as Head of Support for Learning in Pringle and was subsequently appointed as Director of Studies in Pringle before becoming Head of Faculty of Support for Learning for the whole School in 2009. A graduate of Glasgow University, studying French and German, she went on to teach these subjects and was Head of Languages before undertaking a Postgraduate qualification in Special Educational Needs at Aberdeen University. Mrs Stewart was at one time Assistant Principal Teacher of Guidance, demonstrating her interest in and commitment to pupil wellbeing over a long period.
Alan Johnston MA
Senior Deputy Head
Mr Johnston is the Senior Deputy Head at Merchiston and he is in his second spell working at the School. A graduate of Edinburgh University and a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, he joined as a teacher of Spanish and French in 1992 after several years teaching overseas. A keen sports coach outside the classroom he later took on the role of Housemaster in Rogerson before moving to London in 2004 as a Head of Sixth Form, then becoming an Academic Director. Mr Johnston moved back to Merchiston in 2015 as the Deputy Head Pupil Support before taking on his current role. He has a particular interest in wellbeing and pupil support.
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Kerri Fox MA
Deputy Head Pupil Support
Ms Fox is a graduate in Theology from Cambridge University. She has worked in a range of different schools: single-sex boys', single-sex girls' as well as co-educational schools, and she has gained a wealth of experience from holding posts such as Head of Department, Housemistress and most recently Head of Sixth Form and Director of External Relations. Ms Fox' role has the well-being of pupils as the central focus.
Freddie Main
Head of PSHE; Assistant Head Pupil Support; Teacher of Design & Technology
Mr Main is Head of Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE) and is a member of the School’s Pupil Support Leadership Team as Assistant Head. He has taught at Merchiston since 2001 and has served as a senior resident tutor, Assistant Housemaster and as Housemaster in Chalmers East. He also served as Head of Design and Technology for nine years, and still teaches the subject. He leads the coaching of the School’s U16A rugby team, having coached many other teams in the School, including the C1s and the 1stXV.


Merchiston medical teamThe Medical Centre, staffed by a well-qualified and dedicated team of registered nurses and doctors, provides excellent care at all times for the boys’ health needs. This is staffed throughout each day by one or two of the School Nurses, all of whom are qualified nurses. The School Medical Officers are senior doctors from the Colinton Medical Practice. The School also has visits from a physiotherapist twice a week. The School also ensures there are qualified First Aiders in attendance at home rugby matches.

Senior Medical Sister: Mrs Sonja McLean RSCN RGN

Nursing Sisters:  Mrs Judith Fisher RGN; Mrs Niki Fallowfield RGN

Health Assistant: Mrs D Marshall NQ

Medical Officers: Dr K Robertson MBChB, BSc, MRCP, MRCPGP; Dr DA Reid BSc, MB, ChB, MRCGP, DipSEM

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