Merchiston Castle School

About Merchiston Castle School

Boarding School for Boys - Merchiston Castle School

Merchiston Castle School is the only boys’ independent boarding school in Scotland, that offers the English curriculum, and has a global, outward-looking dimension. The School takes pride in specializing in the education of boys and preparing them for the world, as we have for over 175 years, 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. The 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 Castle School is therefore busy and exacting and they 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, they continue to emphasize the primacy of academic work, which is at the heart of the total curriculum.

Boarding at Merchiston Castle School

The benefits of modern boarding are well documented. Gone are the inhospitable days of yesteryear. Your son will be part of a warm, caring and busy community. By definition of living in this community, your son will have a diverse social life and form strong bonds with his friends. Many of his friends will be international, giving him the cultural awareness so critical in our global world.


Type of School Boarding and Day School for Boys
School Address Merchiston Castle School, 294 Colinton Rd, Edinburgh EH13 0PU
Number of Pupils 385
Number of Boarders 219
International Boarders 98
Age Range 7-18
Religious Tradition Non-denominational
Distance from Airports

Edinburgh – 6.5 miles (15 minutes); Glasgow – 53 miles (1 hour 20 minutes).

Distance from London

400 miles from London Heathrow – 1 hour 20 minute flight.

School Links

Merchiston benefits from its strong links with local girls’ schools, St George’s Edinburgh and Kilgraston, Perth 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.

Educational Programmes

Our academic programme sets out to meet the needs of learners in the 21st century by providing courses and learning experiences which aim to develop skills as well as knowledge and understanding. Boys learn in a particular way, and their motivations can be very different from young girls of similar age. Hence, all staff are able to tap into the huge bank of knowledge and experience we have at the School – with the sole aim of getting each and every boy to reach his potential.

We hold regular reviews and assessments with boys and parents so issues can be highlighted, strengths identified, and plans made for each boy. The impact of the School’s processes offer clear evidence of the value-added by the School in ensuring each student reaches his full potential. Merchiston’s all-through Curriculum is designed to enable students to progress and demonstrate achievement. Continuity and progression within our planning enables us to meet the needs of every boy, whatever his range of abilities, and varied rates of learning.

Communication is at the centre of our academic curriculum and impacts on all teaching and learning. Our planning is underpinned by Personal, Social and Health Education, within the Wellbeing agenda, and addresses the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development of the boys. We are delighted that our commitment to leading students towards ‘personal excellence’ has been rewarded with another excellent crop of results. This year’s results, once again, underline the School’s real academic strength at every level, with the roots of each boy’s success going back many years. Indeed, the foundations of the future for some pupils are currently being laid with our youngest boys aged 7.

GCSE subjects offered – Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classical Greek, Computer Science, Design and Technology, Electronics, English Language, English Literature, EAL, Geography, History, IT, Latin, Mathematics, Modern Languages: French, German, Mandarin, Spanish (Arabic, Dutch, Italian, Japanese and Russian), Music, Philosophy and Ethics: Religious Studies, Physical Education, Physics.

A Level subjects offered – Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Classical Civilization, Computer Science, Design and Technology, Economics, Geography, Government and Politics, History, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Modern Languages: French, German, Mandarin, Spanish (Arabic, Dutch, Italian, Japanese), Physical Education, Physics.

Co-Curricular Programmes

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 prides itself on fostering the pursuit of excellence in a sport-for-all environment. In 2015-16, there were 87 different teams, of all abilities, playing competitive fixtures across 16 sports: a total of 590 fixtures. More impressive is that 87% of all pupils, from 7-18, represented the school at some stage in 2015-16. 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.

Academies Offered

The Tennis Academy is ranked number two in the UK in the LTA Team Tennis Schools rankings, 2017; the Golf Academy is ranked number one Junior Golf School in the ISGA rankings 2015-16