East Lothian EH21 7RE
Tel: 0131 653 4455 Fax: 0131 653 4456
• CO-ED, 3–18 Day & Boarding
• Pupils 416, Upper sixth 53
• Termly fees £3372–£4455 (Day), £5034–£6676 (Boarding)
• HMC, IAPS
What it’s like
Founded in 1827, it was bought in 1862 by Hely Hutchinson Almond, a
distinguished scholar of strong and unconventional convictions, who was its Head
until 1903. It has a fine 80-acre site on the banks of the River Esk, surrounded
by beautiful countryside 6 miles from Edinburgh. The buildings are handsome and
many recent developments have produced excellent facilities, most recently a
communications resource centre. It is now co-educational throughout, girls
having been admitted to the sixth form in 1981 and at 13 in 1995. Its emphasis
is on the development of the individual through academic, intellectual,
sporting, musical, dramatic pursuits in a secure environment. The policy has
been to keep the school small, where staff and pupils can know each other
personally. There is a staff:pupil ratio of about 1:9. Academic standards are
high and results consistently good. Very strong in music, drama and art. It has
long had a reputation for excellence in sports and games of which there is a
wide variety; the Loretto Golf Academy teaches all aspects of the game. There
are many clubs and societies, including a CCF with its own Pipes and Drums.
Physical fitness and regular exercise are high priorities and there is an
emphasis on adventure training. There is a substantial commitment to local
community services and an outstanding record in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Scheme. The school makes full use of the cultural, sporting and leisure
opportunities of Edinburgh. The golf courses to the east provide the fairway for
the Golf Academy at Loretto.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 3–18; 416 pupils: 202 day, 214 boarding;
236 boys, 180 girls. Senior school 13–18, 265 pupils (155 boys, 110 girls).
Entrance: Main entry ages 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own exam
(entrance and scholarship) used. General all-round contribution looked for. Own
junior school (The Nippers) provides 50+% of senior intake.
Scholarships & bursaries Number of scholarships awarded in senior
school, value 5%–50% of fees: academic, all-rounder, art, golf, music, sport.
Also some bursaries.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Michael Mavor, in post from 2001. Educated at Loretto and
Cambridge University (English). Previously Head Master at Rugby and at
Gordonstoun, Course Tutor (drama) at Open University, Assistant Master at
Tonbridge and Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow at Northwestern University,
Teaching staff: 34 full time, 5 part time (senior school).
GCSE: In 2003, 40 in fifth: 80% passed 8+ subjects. Average score 57.
A-levels: 53 in upper sixth. Average final point score achieved by upper
sixth formers 315.
University & college entrance 100% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on
to a degree course, 6% to Oxbridge. 6% took courses in medicine, dentistry &
veterinary science, 12% in law, 30% in business, 23% in science, technology and
engineering, 27% in humanities & social sciences, 2% in art & design.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4–5 subjects at AS-level, 3–4 at
A-level excluding general studies; upper sixth may add further AS-levels. On
average 40% take science/engineering A-levels; 30% take arts and humanities; 30%
Vocational: Work experience compulsory.
Special provision: For mild to moderate specific learning difficulties
Languages: French and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level. Regular
exchanges. Pupils from abroad in school for varying periods of time (eg France,
Germany, Thailand, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria).
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (1–4 lessons a week) and across
the curriculum. 80 computers for pupil use (12 hours a day), all networked and
with email, 12 with internet access.
Music: Over 60% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams
Many musical groups including chamber choir, sax quartet, blues band, pipes and
drums, instrumental ensemble; whole school forms a choir, singing weekly anthem
in harmony. Pipes and drums tours, winners of international piping competitions.
Drama: GCSE, AS and A-level offered. Majority of pupils are involved in
Art & design: Popular choice at GCSE, AS and A-level. Design, sculpture,
textiles, photography are also offered.
Sport & activities
Sport: Rugby (autumn), hockey (spring), cricket (summer) compulsory for
boys; hockey (autumn), lacrosse (spring), tennis (summer) for girls. Optional:
golf, athletics, swimming, squash, sailing, fives, skiing, cross country, horse
riding, sub-aqua, badminton, softball etc. The Golf Academy offers structured
learning of all aspects of the game from 8 years.
Activities: Pupils take gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. CCF compulsory
for 2 years at age 13, optional at other times. Community service compulsory for
1 year at age 16, then optional. Various debating groups, Amnesty International,
Uniform: School uniform worn throughout.
Houses & prefects: No competitive houses. Prefects, heads of school, head
of house and house prefects – appointed by Headmaster and
housemasters/mistresses. Committees for eg charities. Regular leadership
seminars on service and management.
Religion: Sunday chapel and mid-week services compulsory.
Social: Joint community service committee with Musselburgh Grammar School
(involved with local club for disabled); sharing of school and local facilities
eg sports hall, swimming pool, squash club, theatre; carol service for town.
Some organised trips abroad. Pupils allowed to bring own bike to school (summer
term). Meals informal cafeteria system. School shop. No tobacco or alcohol
Discipline All pupils adhere to a code of conduct. Policies covering
drugs, alcohol, smoking etc are published in the pupils’ handbook. Parents are
involved in levels of disciplinary issues. For serious offences, suspension may
be used; for minor offences, a system of bookings and/or detention is used. Size
of school allows staff and prefects to notice and react without always resorting
to formal punishment.
Boarding 30% have own study bedroom; 50% are in dormitories of 5+;
20% in rooms of 2 or 3. Single-sex houses of 50–60. Qualified sanatorium
sisters. Central dining room. Overnight exeats in autumn and spring terms plus
half-term. Visits to Musselburgh and Edinburgh allowed according to age at
Former pupils Jim Clark (motor racing); Alistair Darling MP; Norman
Lamont; Marcus Brook (Data Discoveries); Lord Laing of Dunphail (United
Biscuits); Sir Denis Forman (Granada TV); Sandy Carmichael (Scotland XV – 50
caps); Andrew Marr (BBC).