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Merchiston Castle School

Merchiston Castle School

Ready ay, Ready

‘A balanced curriculum, excellent pastoral care and a high A Level pass rate make Merchiston one of the UK’s leading independent schools’ –

Merchiston is the only boys’ independent boarding school in Scotland, offers the English curriculum, and has a global, outward-looking dimension. We take pride in specialising in the education of boys and preparing them for the world, developing aspirational, and sensitive, yet gentle-men! Think about a wonderfully caring and nurturing family environment, where they will learn to like learning more.

With an ethos based on traditional values, Merchiston encourages self-reliance and independence, as well as respect for and tolerance of others. 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 outwith 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.

Academic record

Merchiston really does turn the ‘C student’ into a ‘B student’ and the ‘B student’ into an ‘A student’. Our results at every level offer clear evidence of the value added by the School.

Merchiston’s exceptional performance at A Level and GCSE over a significant number of years demonstrates that our boys, as a cohort, are consistently amongst the highest achieving boys in Scotland.

Merchiston is committed to leading students towards ‘personal excellence’. Currently, our extra-mural initiatives include entry for the Mathematics and Physics Challenges and Olympiads, English Speaking Board examinations, foreign language trips, Arkwright Scholarships (Design and Technology), and many others.

We provide a stimulating, challenging, yet supportive and encouraging environment where your son can grow up surrounded by his friends within our unique house structure. Over 65 per cent of pupils board so there is never a dull moment as we provide a full boarding programme seven days a week. Our international boarders form, in most years, around 20 per cent of our School population and come from over 20 different countries.

Each boarding house caters for a particular age group and the atmosphere and activities are tailored accordingly. The House structure enables boys to develop a wide circle of friends and to learn how to support each other. Pringle House, set within a walled garden, is home to boys entering the School between the ages of 7 and 12. Between 13 and 15 boys move through the Chalmers and Rogerson Houses, where there is a high level of pastoral care as the boys grow through adolescence. The purpose-built Sixth Form boarding house offers 126 en-suite bedrooms for boys in their last two years of school.


The co-curricular programme at Merchiston delivers life skills, such as: leadership, teamwork, and mentoring through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, Combined Cadet Force, prefectship, Koinonia and other activities.

Music and Drama are major parts of life at Merchiston. These departments collaborate regularly and pupils of all ages have the chance to be involved, either performing on stage or working behind the scenes. There is an orchestra and other instrumental groups, including pipe bands, and a choir and choral society, as well as opportunities for individual instrumental lessons. Merchiston also benefits from its strong links with local girls’ schools for drama and musical performances, other cultural events and social gatherings. Our links ensure that our boys can develop their social skills and relationships soon blossom.

Sport for All

There is a long and successful sporting tradition at Merchiston. Your son can choose from up to 20 sports. Sport is genuinely for all here.  Your son can play for fun and fitness or to compete at the highest level, nationally and internationally. Thanks to the guidance of some of the country’s leading coaches, more than 60 Merchistonians have played senior international rugby and 24 international cricket. Read about all of our internationalists here.

We aim to instil healthy habits and a love of sport that your son will take with him into adult life. That’s why we will encourage him to try new sports until he finds the ones he loves. In so doing he will learn the many transferable values of sport we espouse here, such as teamwork and resilience.

There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy sport outside of timetabled sessions; your son can let off steam in the evenings with friends or tour with his team in the holidays. If he is a talented tennis or golf player he can enrol in the Tennis and Golf Academy, which offers elite training alongside a tailored academic programme. Both academies are  consistently classed amongst the highest ranking academies in the UK.

Admissions & Fees

We welcome applications for admission from all over Scotland, the UK and overseas – both for boarders and day pupils. Boys can apply to enter the School at any age between 7 and 16. We recommend that you come and visit us and see the School, meet some of the staff and talk to some boys. This will give you the best flavour of the spirit and atmosphere at Merchiston, and you can also see our facilities first-hand. 

We are pleased to introduce our new Sixth Form Award for entry in September 2022. Register now to find out more about our Sixth Form Award and how your son could join Merchiston as a boarder or day pupil. If your financial circumstances prevent your son from joining Merchiston, you may qualify for our new Award that could support up to 75% of your son's annual Sixth Form fees.

Kay Wilson (Director of Admissions): +44 (0)131 312 2201 or

294 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH13 0PU

“The School provided excellent opportunities and activities for me to participate in, which catered for my interests, as well as giving me the best teaching and tuition, which led to my gaining a place at Cambridge.” - Merchistonian

“These all-rounders are academic heavyweights to boot…” Tatler School Guide 2021

“I am very happy with my son’s Merchiston journey – he has turned into a thoughtful, confident, friendly, ambitious young man, eager to make his way in the world, safe in the knowledge that he has the backing of a group of fellow Merchistonians with whom he has shared his journey. He can stand in any company and speak eloquently with wit and charm and we are extremely proud of him.” - Parent

"In every respect - academic, sporting and pastoral - the School has exceeded our expectations, and continues to do so. But above all, it is the Merchiston 'end product' that impresses us year after year; the young men that leave the School for university each year are polite, confident gentlemen, that any parent would be proud to call their sons." - Parent

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