“Great oaks from little acorns grow.”
14th century proverb

Merchiston Castle School

Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland | Dickinson | British Boarding School Consulting

Merchiston Castle School

Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland


Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland | Dickinson | British Boarding School Consulting

Merchiston Castle sits in around 100 acres of parkland and playing fields only 7km from the centre of Edinburgh and is Scotland's only all-boys’ independent boarding school. It offers the English curriculum and has a global, outward-looking approach, specialising in the education and preparation of aspirational yet gentle-men. The School knows that boys learn differently to girls and has created a caring and nurturing family environment where they will enjoy learning more.

At a glance

Age range: 13 to 18
Total no. of pupils: 390
Percentage of boarders: 65%
Percentage of International pupils: 20%
Pupils in Sixth Form: 138
Average class size: Senior school: 20 / Sixth Form: 15
Sixth Form termly boarding fee: 22/23 £12,440
Top 6 sports:
Boys: Athletics, Cricket, Football, Golf, Rugby, Tennis
Linked prep/junior school: Yes
Nearest major airports: Edinburgh (11km), Glasgow (86km)


With 24 subjects on offer at GCSE and 18 at A Level the curriculum is based on breadth and choice, whilst a staff:pupil ratio of 1:9 ensures individual attention. Over 40% of A Level results are A*/A and three-quarters A*/B whilst around half of students go on to Russell Group Universities. Valued added at GCSE is 1 whole grade with an additional half a grade gained at A Level. Tutors are fully engaged within an active programme of one-to-ones, catch ups, clinics and drop ins.


Over 65% of pupils board and a 7 day-a-week boarding programme ensures there is never a dull moment, whilst international boarders make up 20% of the student body. All senior boys have single study bedrooms and all Sixth Formers' rooms are en suite. A support structure of housemasters, tutors and prefects provides an environment that is stimulating and challenging, yet supportive and encouraging, where leadership opportunities and personal responsibility are key parts of personal development.


Merchiston fosters the pursuit of excellence in a sport-for-all environment, illustrated by 90% of boys playing competitive fixtures in over 75 teams across 16 sports, and by national representation in sports such as athletics, cricket, golf, rugby and target-shooting. Top-class coaching and facilities are on offer at the highly respected Tennis and Golf Academies whilst other facilities include a floodlit 2G all-weather pitch, 2 fives courts, a fully-equipped gym and a shooting range.

Creative arts

The School has a strong choral tradition and the music school offers recital halls, a tutorial room and practice rooms, and there are 9 ensembles to choose from. In drama the boys can get involved in acting, stage management, sound and lighting or direction, and the arts combine in the production of plays and musicals along with a local all-girls school. Art offers painting drawing, sculpture, printmaking and photography and the studios remain open well-beyond the timetabled day.

Did you know?

  • In 2016/17 the ISGA ranked Merchiston as the No 2 school in the UK for golf, whilst it also came 2nd in the 2017 ISF World Tennis Championships.
  • The School is named after the 15th Century Merchiston Tower, the school's second home and birthplace in 1550 of John Napier, inventor of logarithms!