英中教育 Anglo-Chinese Education Consultancy

Merchiston Castle School






Bording School


  No.155   Result:   A-B  78.74% 








8-19,    Exam,  School report




   +% to Oxbridge








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What it’s like
Founded in 1833 in the centre of Edinburgh, it moved in 1930 to Colinton House and the ruins of Colinton Castle, 4 miles south-west of the city. Set in 100 acres of parkland beside the Water of Leith and close to the Pentland Hills. Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, purpose-built music and IT centre, a new, well-equipped library, recently refurbished science laboratories and a new teaching centre for 8–10 year olds. The school prides itself on its adherence to Scottish values and traditions and there is emphasis on striving for excellence, a belief in the value of the individual, in hard work, integrity and good manners. There is also emphasis on the practice of Christianity (it is inter-denominational but services are based on the Church of Scotland) and the importance of service to the community. With a staff:pupil ratio of about 1:9, academic standards are high and results consistently good. Music is particularly strong and the choir has recorded for the BBC. Art, design, drama and debating are also popular. The school has long had a reputation for sporting excellence, including in rugby with over 60 Merchistonians having played at full international level. There is a flourishing CCF, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, overseas expeditions and a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

School profile

Pupils & entrance

Pupils: Age range 8–18; 415 boys (136 day, 279 boarding). Senior department 13–18, 317 boys.
Entrance: Main entry ages 8, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own exam used; for sixth-form entry, report and predicted GCSE grades (grade C or higher in sixth-form subjects). A breadth of interest and talents looked for. State school entry, 20+% of main intake, 10% to sixth form. 16% are international pupils (eg Hong Kong, USA, Europe, Middle East); close ties with a number of guardianship agencies.

Scholarships, bursaries & extras
Range of 20+ scholarships, value 5% to a maximum of 50%: academic, all-rounder, technology, music, prep school awards, local community (EH post-codes 75% fees in cases of financial need) and for students from and resident in Kenya, India, Hong Kong and Europe. Piping bursary and means-tested bursaries for boarders. Parents charged £30 per term towards textbooks (in sixth form); average extras £300 per term.

40% are from the professions; 40% in industry or commerce. 45% live within 30 miles;
20% live overseas (including expatriate families).

Head & staff

Headmaster: Andrew Hunter, in post from 1998. Educated at Kenton College (Nairobi), Aldenham School, and at Manchester University (English and theology) and Manchester Polytechnic (PGCE). Previously Housemaster at both Bradfield and Worksop and taught at Westbrook Hay Prep School. Also Chairman Public Schools Hockey Festival and committee member of Public Schools Lawn Tennis Association.
Teaching staff: 49 full time, 12 part time. Annual turnover 6%. Average age 40.

Exam results

GCSE: In 2003, 68 in GCSE year: 98% gained at least grade C in 8+ subjects. Average GCSE score 54 (57 over 5 years).
Highers and A-levels: 60 in A-level/Higher year. Pupils take a mixture of A-levels, Highers and Intermediate 2. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 351 (326 over 5 years).

University & college entrance
99% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on to a degree course (10% after a gap year), 13% to Oxbridge. 47% took courses in science and mathematics, 32% in arts, 21% in social sciences. Others typically go on to non-degree courses eg art, music, agriculture.

GCSE, Highers, AS and A-levels. 18 GCSE subjects offered; 6 at Higher; 21 at
A-level (including Mandarin Chinese in the sixth form, electronics and IT; general studies programme).
Sixth form: 82% take AS-levels (4 subjects) and A-level (3+ subjects). Others take Highers and Intermediate 2.
Vocational: Work experience available.
Special provision: Learning support and EFL tuition.
Languages: French, German and Spanish offered at GCSE and A-level; also Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch, Polish, Turkish. Russian, Japanese, Italian can be provided. Lower-sixth exchanges; study trips mainly to France and Germany.
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (2 lessons a week in Year 7, 3 a week in Years 8 and 9) and across the curriculum. 122 computers for pupil use (15 hours a day), all networked and with email and internet access; control technology and robotics in specialist rooms. Support for pupils with own laptops.

The arts

Music: Over 30% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Musical groups including choral society (160 pupils), chapel choir (80 pupils), close harmony group, orchestra, pipe band, jazz band, junior ensemble. The chapel choir has broadcast the daily service for BBC Radio 4 and toured to Far East, USA, Europe and Canada.
Drama: Drama offered. Majority of pupils are involved in school and house/other productions.
Art & design: On average, 20 take GCSE, 18 AS-level, 7 A-level art & design. Design technology also offered. Winner of Young Electronic Designer Awards (9th year in succession) and Young Engineer for Britain.

Sport & activities

Sport: Rugby, cricket, athletics are major sports; others include golf, tennis, squash, fives, hockey, football, shooting, skiing, sub-aqua. Winners of the Scottish schools rugby cup in 4 years recently; 11 different sports are represented at international level by current pupils.
Activities: CCF compulsory for 2 years at age 14; CCF expeditions to USA and Germany. Community service compulsory for 1 year at age 16. Up to 30 clubs, eg art, drama, debating, chess, Young Enterprise, literary, history, music, reel, flying, Young Farmers.

School life

Uniform: School uniform worn, sixth form dress code.
Houses & prefects: No competitive houses. Prefects, head boy, head of house and house prefects – appointed by the Headmaster. Various committees and councils, eg food, charities, chapel.
Religion: Daily morning act of worship; Sunday morning or evening service.
Social: Debates, plays, concerts, charity fund-raising events, dances, Scottish reel evenings; many social events with local girls’ schools. Tours to France, Germany, Spain, Italy; ski trips; rugby tours (eg Australia, South Africa); music (choir to Durham and Hexham; pipe band to Brittany and Russia); expeditions (eg California and Canadian Rockies). Meals self-service. School shops sell sports equipment, books and second-hand school wear. Sixth-form club with beer bar at weekends under housemaster’s control.

Pupils failing to produce homework once might expect to re-do; also detentions, suspensions or expulsion for very serious offences.

Senior boys in study bedroom; middle school in cubicles; younger boys in small dormitories. Houses by age group; each with kitchens for the preparation of snacks etc. Generous exeat arrangements; access to the village and town, dependent upon age.

Alumni association
is run by President of the Merchistonian Club, c/o the school.

Former pupils
John MacGregor MP; Sir Peter Burt (former chief executive, Bank of Scotland); John Jeffrey (ex-Scotland XV); Lord Craigavon; Sir James Robertson; Sir Donald Acheson (formerly Government Chief Medical Officer); Lt Gen Sir Alexander Boswell; Roger Baird; Sir Eric Campbell Geddes; Irvine Laidlaw.