EXPERIENCES OF 3 Edinburgh Private Schools please

(23 Posts)
JeaniePup1 Thu 09-Apr-15 19:53:40


I am looking to apply to private schools starting at nursery level for my daughter. I am swaying between George Watson's and Heriot's. I would love to hear of any experiences of them or others including Rudolph Steiner.
Many thanks in advance.

Athensofthenorth Thu 09-Apr-15 23:40:22

GWC and Heriots are great schools, though have very different campuses. Rudolph Steiner, I would personally run a mile from after hearing friends experiences.

JeaniePup1 Fri 10-Apr-15 00:18:10

Thanks for that, Athens. Same as my impression.

tribal Fri 10-Apr-15 11:54:43

I would avoid Steiner, not my personal experience, but a good friend's son. GW & GH very similar academically. Pros for both are that they are both all-through schools and you don't need to worry about finding another school (unless you move). GW is the larger school but depending on your child this could either be a good or a bad thing! GW has everything on the one campus site including games. GH buses the kids off campus for games. Both of these schools offer nursery places on a first come first served basis so make sure you get any application in as soon as possible.

JeaniePup1 Fri 10-Apr-15 13:00:09

Tribal, thank you so much. Very helpful.

edinburghrookie Fri 10-Apr-15 13:07:01

DS at Watsons since nursery now in P4 .
We are very happy with the school. Although it's large it's not overwhelming for the dcs. Loads of facilities, good though pricey wraparound care. PM me if you have any questions.

JeaniePup1 Fri 10-Apr-15 17:20:33

Thanks ERookie. I'm leaning towards GW. I may take you up on your pm offer. Have a great weekend.

emma12344 Fri 10-Apr-15 22:55:06

Please may I ask what you know of steiner as we were considering a nice there for DD? Thanks

Athensofthenorth Fri 10-Apr-15 23:15:57

My very good friend moved her DD in P7 to Steiner thinking it would be a better fit for her. Several months later after bullying from fellow pupils and her class teacher, she removed her promptly as did many others. I wouldn't touch that school with a bargepole!

Eman83 Sat 11-Apr-15 15:28:15

We are at GH and love everything about it! My dd has came on leaps and bounds and has settled in as a true herioter, he as been there since nursery. Both gw and GH are great achools so really you have to visit them and you will know within your inner self what you prefer.

RVPisnomore Wed 15-Apr-15 22:09:18

My DS is at GH and he loves it, I would thoroughly recommend the school.

Musicaltheatremum Wed 29-Apr-15 21:09:23

I would recommend George heriots too but George Watsons is great also. All have pros and cons. GH slightly smaller. My kids went there and they were fabulous. Great pastoral care which we sadly needed a lot of. My son was rowing captain there a few years ago and still goes back.

writer58 Sun 05-Jul-15 15:51:25

I appreciate that this thread is a bit old now, but I would just like to add that there is a positive side to Steiner!

My now 17 year old moved there from another Edinburgh private school at the age of 14. The previous school is a well known and old established one - and was a total disaster for my child. We had no previous experience with Steiner, but it has turned out to be perfect (or as near perfect as a school can be) for us. I have two older children; one attended another Edinburgh private school, one a state school - so I do have experience of a variety of schools - and although Steiner has its ways, I am very happy with the education my youngest has received there. The staff that we have dealt with have been excellent, they have been very responsive to any issues that have arisen, and the support from a guidance teacher has been outstanding. The teachers all seem to me to be highly motivated; some have voluntarily left jobs in other, better paid, schools to come to Steiner.

I also know the mothers of at least two other pupils who moved to the school at about the same age - this time from two different state schools - and both love it, despite having long journeys in every day. Some of the parents that I know are actually teachers in state schools themselves, but still chose to send their children to Steiner.

The academic standards are high, the breadth of knowledge acquired is so different from the narrow focus of so many other schools, and the life experiences are great. The art department is fantastic, the science teaching is brilliant. The only thing that I know they don't do too much of is sport - they don't have the facilities. This is not a problem for us, but if you have a very sporty child you might want either to look elsewhere or to arrange your own after-school activities.

The Steiner buildings are far from smart, and trips, etc are always arranged as cheaply as possible - these to me are advantages, as I am so glad not to be involved in the highly competitive and expensive jaunts arranged by some private schools. The fees are actually pretty low compared to most Edinburgh private schools, and we are very rarely asked for extra money.

I have no experience of Heriot's or Watson's and am certainly not criticising them in any way, I just feel the need to stick up for Steiner sometimes - I think you will find people who have had bad experiences at virtually any school in Edinburgh, so it really is down to visiting schools yourself and deciding what would suit your child.

Athensofthenorth Mon 06-Jul-15 22:58:34

Oh, and here we go... I know children that went to the Steiner's Edinburgh . They left after a year or so. Bullying, non qualified staff etc. This happened in the past year or so, feel free to PM me.



writer58 Mon 06-Jul-15 23:37:10

I am not sure what you mean by 'here we go'? The request was for experiences of all three schools. I have experience of one of them and I shared it. We all have our individual and different experiences, no? I have met people who have withdrawn their children from many different Edinburgh schools for many different reasons. We all just need to find what we feel is right for our own children.

Athensofthenorth Tue 07-Jul-15 06:28:25

In my experience on these boards, if there is even a hint of questioning the Steiner ethos, someone will pop up extolling the "school". To be fair at least you acknowledged the fact that the buildings are poor which makes me think that you do have some experience of the school.

The school fees are lower than average but as they pay their teachers far lower than the norm, that would be expected.

It is a fairly small school and I don't know any teachers from any other school who send their children there. Happy to be corrected though.

writer58 Tue 07-Jul-15 15:24:14

Well it's not me who always 'pops up' as this is my first active week on Mumsnet! Hence feeling slightly taken aback smile

I have absolutely no axe to grind about the Steiner ethos, and I am not for one minute questioning your friend's issues with it, I just wanted to share our experience of it - and yes, I do have experience as my youngest is a current pupil in the upper school. As I mentioned, my two older children both went to other schools, and I was very happy with the education they received too - I am not obsessed with any particular kind of education, I have just found that this school has been brilliant for one of my children. I do of course appreciate that no school is perfect - far from it - but it's worked for us in this particular instance.

In my child's class there are at least three parents (might be four, I can't remember) who are teachers in state schools. I have no idea if this is unusual or not, as I don't know the other classes. Other parents' jobs are what I imagine is the usual mix in Edinburgh, ranging from financial services to catering, hairdressing, social work - all sorts. My own husband is an engineer from a very science/maths-based family, who, when I first suggested looking at Steiner, was extremely sceptical - but now he is delighted with how it has worked out for our youngest. However, we both agree it would not have been the right place for our middle child; it depends so much on the individual.

I am aware of the low pay of the staff - and I do know that some have given up better paid teaching jobs to move there. It is, I believe, something that the school is trying to address, as they do value the staff highly.

And yes it is a proper school :-) - my child has already taken GCSEs/SQAs and will be taking Highers/Advanced Higher next year.

To answer the original poster's questions, I have also heard brilliant things about George Heriot's, I know plenty of people who have, or have had, children there and are extremely satisfied with it. Can't comment on George Watson's as I know nothing about it. People also seem very happy with Mary Erskine's.

Best wishes.

Athensofthenorth Tue 07-Jul-15 18:42:58

I would imagine that in your week of joining you would have found other posts that may have interested you. No?

As I personally know children in your child's age range that atten/ed the school. I do question your responses.

emma12344 Tue 07-Jul-15 19:13:11

Athens, are you accusing writer of lying?

Athensofthenorth Tue 07-Jul-15 21:29:05

I would just say that our joint experiences/knowledge of the school are at polar opposites and I'll leave it at that.

writer58 Wed 08-Jul-15 11:07:09

emma1234 - if you are still interested in Steiner, you might want to try one of the tours that the school does, during normal school hours, on quite a few Fridays of each term. Then you could make your own mind up. Best wishes.

thisisweird Wed 08-Jul-15 12:57:03

Funnily enough any thread which features reference to Steiner inevitably generates a large number of don't go there posts and one or two newly joined 'we love it' posters. I think we all know why that is......
Re the ops question from some time ago - dh went to gw,a good friend to gh. Not much to choose between them tbh,I would see which the child liked best.

emma12344 Wed 08-Jul-15 13:17:49

Thank you Writer, we have already been on one of the tours and were really impressed on the surface. I am always interested to hear personal experience. I have to admit to being quite perplexed about the whole anti steiner sentiment. I don't know very much so am open minded about it.
But surely each school is suitable for a particular type of child. I could tell you about my husband and his siblings dreadful experience of an edinburgh private school and some may be similarly put off the mainstream private schools. I personally would never send my children to any of them.

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