Merchiston Castle School

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  • Full Boarding Fees


  • Language

    English as an additional language

  • Boarding

    Full Boarding

  • Dietary Requirements

    Vegetarian, vegan, halal & kosher

  • Merchiston Castle School

    Merchiston is the only boys’ independent boarding school in Scotland, for boys aged 7-18. International students are assessed prior to entry to test they fulfil the schools requirement in English. Additional language support is given in small groups or one to one. The school mainly follows an English school curricula, of GCSE’s and A Levels, rather than the equivalent Scottish qualifications. Merchiston has approximately 450 pupils, average class size is 15.

    With an ethos based on traditional values, Merchiston encourages self-reliance and independence, as well as respect for and tolerance of others. It’s 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. It very much aims to create a ‘family environment’ where all pupils can thrive.
    International boarders form, in most years, around 20 per cent of the School population and come from over 20 different countries.


    Merchiston is set in a rural location, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It is 6.5 miles (15 minutes) from Edinburgh International Airport

    A Life in the Day of…

    Over 65 per cent of Merchiston’s pupils board so there is never a dull moment as there is a full boarding programme seven days a week. Each day is therefore busy and exacting and the school seeks to maintain the delicate balance of priorities inside and outside the classroom. However, whilst revelling in the excellence of the sporting, musical and numerous other activities, the school continues to emphasise the primacy of academic work, which is at the heart of the total curriculum.

    The School has an impressive record of helping boys excel beyond their predictions at every level. At A Level, Merchiston achieved a formidable 50% A-A* rate and a 77% A*-B rate, the only school in Scotland to achieve this high standard. With 21% of pupils achieving an A* this is more than double the national A* attainment of 8.3% (ISC, 2018). Whilst we are, and remain, principally an A Level school, our bespoke curriculum affords us the opportunity to capitalise on the English and Scottish systems by offering uniquely tailored combinations of qualifications, with outstanding outcomes; for example, in 2018, the average Merchiston Upper Sixth pupil’s UCAS points tally was 141 (as a guide, AAA at A Level is 144 points and AAB is 136 points). Pupils annually secure places at some of the leading British, Ivy League and other outstanding international universities.

    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.

    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.

    Merchiston prides itself on fostering the pursuit of excellence in a sport-for-all environment. The School is currently represented nationally and internationally in many sports, such as athletics, cricket, golf, rugby and target shooting. We have also achieved Scottish honours in tennis, rugby and clay pigeon shooting in the last three years. The Tennis Academy is ranked number two World Tennis School, by the ISF World Schools Championship, 2017-19. The Golf Academy is the number two UK Ranking Golf School in the ISGA rankings 2017-18, with two members ranked in the top four UK Individual Junior Players, 2017. Merchiston is also proud to be the Scottish Schools’ U18 Rugby Champions and in the Top 100 Schools for Cricket.

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

    Music and Drama are also 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.

    “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.”

    “Record numbers of Olympiad medals too – of the national academic variety (they’re particularly ace at science).”
    Tatler Schools Guide, 2017

    Overseas campuses

    Merchiston has an international school in Shenzhen, China.

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