Where to move in Edinburgh for great primary & secondary?

(25 Posts)
Swishyfish Thu 13-Oct-16 18:51:08

We are moving from London and looking to have completed the move in time for dd2 to start state school next september. I understand reg week is in November and we will initially rent so are completely free wrt area. DH works from home but travels overseas a lot.

Dd1 is in year 2 in the English system and dd2 would start P1 next september (born in Jan).

I and the dc are catholic so faith school an option too.

I also heard there are some amazing all girls private schools, any recommendations would be very much appreciated though ideally we should not go private before secondary as funds are limited.

Swishyfish Thu 13-Oct-16 19:17:22

Thank you thanks

catdil Thu 13-Oct-16 19:31:16

Do you have a preference for private or state and single sex or co-ed?

ninjapants Thu 13-Oct-16 19:36:28

Sorry, I don't have any recommendations for schools but wanted to advise that Scottish schools start back after the summer hols mid August, 2-3 weeks earlier than English/Welsh schools. Also, if DD2 turns 4 in January you will have the option to defer starting school to the following year, that could be worth consideration as the cut off in Scotland is the end of Feb, so she would be one of the youngest in her year if starting school next August.

Given that you say funds are limited, have you researched local authority schools in the areas in which you would like to live? There are lots of good schools in and around the city. The private schools are very popular, and priced accordingly. Also I believe many privately educated children attend from primary age onwards, which is worth thinking about from your DCs' point of view.

Good luck with the move, Edinburgh is a great city!

SauvignonPlonker Thu 13-Oct-16 19:47:05

School catchment applications are done here in November for places the following summer (mid-August). So it's not a big deal if you are deferring until August 2018, but if you're planning for your DD to start next summer, be aware that most of the decent schools are full to capacity & applications after that may not be successful.

For state schools, you must be living within catchment before you apply & be able to demonstrate proof that you are living there e.g. Utility bill, council tax bill. You cannot apply in advance of moving.

That said, what areas were you thinking of? It's a big city, with lots of different schools. Some good primaries also have dodgy catchment secondaries, so that's something to be aware of. Boroughmuir, Gillespie's & Royal high are the best state secondaries according to the league tables.

Don't know much about private schooling & applications, hopefully someone else will know more.

SauvignonPlonker Thu 13-Oct-16 19:50:49

You might want to consider north/west & areas just off the bypass if you want to be close to the airport - Cramond, Cammo, Davidsons Mains Primaries for Royal High, perhaps Fairmilehead, Colinton, Buckstone, along the bypass.

If I had the money I would be in Morningside or Bruntsfield- not so close to the airport but lovely areas, although expensive.

Swishyfish Thu 13-Oct-16 22:42:36

thanks really grateful for the replies.
Yes deferring is definitely and option and would mean we can relax a little more wrt timelines.

Ideally we'd like a state education in primary and secondary. However, if dd1 doesn't get a place at a school that works for her / us we might have to send her private at least until secondary.

I have read that Portobello and Leith are nice but I'd be massively grateful for any hints about nice areas to live with good schooling. I might add that I am German and dh is British but grew up in NZ; we hope to find an area with a nice community feel that we can join and become part of, if possible.

Moving to Edinburgh is a bit of a life style decision combined with dh's new job which makes him home-based (+ travels) giving us flexibility and the chance to get away from the SE. I am hoping to work at least p/t and am in the academic / pubic health sector. Nothing lined up yet though so will have to check job opportunities for myself at a later stage.

Do people use child minders and are they relatively easy to come by?

If you could help me narrow down areas and primary / secondary schools that would be greta. Coming from London and wanting to reduce our mortgage, our Budget is around 400-450K. Many thanks!!

3nationedinburgh Thu 13-Oct-16 23:01:13

Portobello and Leith are the wrong side of town for the airport and a difficult journey at peak times. Have a look at Colinton or Juniper green, both with great local community feel and excellent schools ( Juniper green or Bonaly primary and Currie High or Firhill (slightly lower rated than Currie) for secondary. About 15 minutes drive from the airport, good bus service to the town centre,, close to the Pentland hills and water of Leith for outdoor activities.

cookiefiend Fri 14-Oct-16 09:57:26

Portobello and leith are lovely and both have community feels. Portobello high school is about half way down the league tables, but is about to open a new school campus in the next couple of weeks. Willowbrae and duddingston feed to the same school. The Catholic high is holyrood and at although it again is about middle of the league table it has a very new school and seems well enough regarded.

Train station is close, airport on other side of the city so fine if you are leaving very early morning once or twice a month- more annoying if you are travelling more.

Holyrood park right here and portobello beach plus easy access to the bypass. Also not too far from the city centre and well served by buses.

irishe Fri 14-Oct-16 12:55:41

Consider Ratho, literally 5/10 mins from airport, but not under flight path, unlike cramond. Very friendly and welcoming primary school which feeds into Balerno High school which is highly regarded.
Check out this website for details of school performance in Scotland.


cala is building in ratho at the moment and you can buy a detached 4 bed with garage for your budget. They also often offer part exchange so if you have a house that needs sold this can remove one of the stressors of moving. I know a number of families that have chosen Ratho precisely because one of the family regularly commutes via the airport.


The top performing state schools academically in Edinburgh are
Boroughmuir, james gillespies, st Thomas of aquins, royal high, balerno, currie, firhill, craigmount. (Not in performance order). There are of course, students doing well in most schools in Edinburgh and other factors to consider apart from purely academic performance.

Good luck with your search!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 14-Oct-16 18:59:37

Given your budget, you are going to be buying in areas with good primaries - the majority of primaries in Edinburgh are fab. It's secondary where you have to be a bit more careful. We used to live in Leith and I loved it - but I really didn't fancy the high school for DS so I was pleased when we moved (that's not why we moved).

Portobello has just moved into a great new campus and I think is generally regarded us on the up. A few posters have mentioned Balerno and Currie - both excellent but definitely suburbs as opposed to 'living in the city'. So you have to take how you want to live into account too.

Swishyfish Fri 14-Oct-16 19:51:31

Thank you again everyone! Your replies are helping me to draw a clearer picture.

I'm not sure yet if we would like to live in the city or at the outskirts, we'll have to look around a bit more. What I do know is that I would love to settle and make a home somewhere rather than having to move again in a few years time to get into a decent secondary. Which secondary private schools would you rate, possibly all girls? And would it be a problem not to have gone to private throughout in terms of friendships and also academically?

Noofly Fri 14-Oct-16 20:51:44

St George's is the only all girls private school (though Mary Erskine Stewart Melville separates by sex for most of high school- am sure someone will come along with the exact detail). St George's has an excellent reputation and the parents I know with daughters there are very happy with it.

My children started at private school when they were in P7 and they have had no problem at all settling and fitting in - you'd never know they were new pupils after the first week! An awful lot of children join the day schools at major entry points (P6/7 depending on the school and S1) and the schools are very good at integrating them.

musicalmama Fri 14-Oct-16 21:28:43

Having worked in Bouroughmuir HS on a temporary basis last year, I would recommend. Pupils were almost ALL completely lovely which is rare, from good families and intelligent. No major behaviour issues to disrupt learning. Bruntsfield/morningside area is lovely.

Buckeyedjim Sat 15-Oct-16 08:47:39

from good families

FurryMouse Wed 19-Oct-16 14:04:03

Portobello's a wonderful place to live - it's very family-friendly with a lively community, and its crowning glory is two miles of sandy beach on the Firth of Forth. My DC went to Towerbank Primary which they loved, and then on to Portobello High which I think is a great school and they both did very well there (league tables don't tell you everything). If you're set on single sex at secondary then St George's is probably the best place. It's close to the city centre so it's easy to reach - and if you've made Portobello your home, it's on a direct bus route from there with a bus journey of about 25-30 minutes.

GrooveeCar Sun 23-Oct-16 20:10:55

We live in Corstorphine. There are great Primaries and a few good high schools. Fox Covert is the catchment catholic school and we have nurseries and childminders which are heavily used.

Gyderlily Mon 24-Oct-16 09:12:29

Leith is fine for airport... The tram is just at the top of the walk! I can't recommend trinity primary enough if you are looking at that area and wardie is also a great school, both are often used as private school prep but many go on to attend trinity academy too! At the moment I'm a bit unsure about the academy but there is a new head who apparently is turning it around and we have a few years before we have to worry about it so I'm just watching with interest just now... It was once a super school and it's 3 feeders are all highly regarded. Leith is trendy but the primaries are extremely diverse and from your post perhaps not what you are looking for!

Gyderlily Mon 24-Oct-16 09:14:08

However the local catholic school for that catchment (holy cross) doesn't have the best reputation as far as I've heard!

cloudscape Wed 26-Oct-16 20:20:29

Both my children went to Stockbridge Primary and have now moved onto Broughton High School which is the local catchment school. Stockbridge is a lovely area, close to the centre of the city but with lots of parks, walks etc. Stockbridge Primary is lovely - small and caring. We deferred my daughter's entry to P1 as she's a February baby and we never regretted it. In the same area Flora Stevenson PS is also good ( and home to the city Music school - Primary section).
We've been really impressed with Broughton High . You'll hear mixed reports about it but our experience has been great. It draws from a very diverse area and is also home to the specialist music and dance schools and the football academy for the city so children come from all over the city and beyond. It has a unique atmosphere, a new building and the head is great. My daughter has just sat her Nat5s ( equivalent to GCSEs) and her results couldn't have been better. My son's confidence has come on in leaps and bounds since he started last year.
I also have friends with children who've gone through S Morningside Primary and Boroughmuir High and have both been v happy and academically successful. Hope this helps.

Chesnuts Thu 27-Oct-16 18:48:36

Just a word of warning about renting. It's not easy to find quality family rental accommodation in Edinburgh, especially if you want unfurnished. There's huge demand as more and more people sell their houses, move into rented, so they are in a better position to bid for their next house. We had trouble finding something suitable in our preferred areas - lots of furnished flats, often let for a year minimum. It was more stressful finding a rental property than it was selling our flat!

Buckeyedjim Thu 27-Oct-16 18:59:23

Chestnuts that's something I think we will need to do soon sad If you have any recommendations of agencies/websites/places to look for short term rentals, I'd love it if you could pass it on!

Chesnuts Thu 27-Oct-16 21:02:26

Hi There's loads of agencies. We had a couple of bad experiences with Braemore and I can't remember the name of the other. We used Citylets website, Gumtree and another listing website to keep searching for properties. Interestingly one of the best places we saw was with a private landlord rather than an agency - so don't discount private landlords. Hope you find something you like. We were also pretty horrified by the cost of putting our excess stuff in storage.

Buckeyedjim Thu 27-Oct-16 22:29:49

Thanks that's really helpful flowers

Starfish347 Fri 28-Oct-16 12:01:06

We rent with Braemore, and it's been okay but it was a bit rocky to start with. They have improved a lot in the last 3 years that we've been with them. As Chestnuts says, finding unfurnished houses to rent, without extortionate rents, is hard. Sign up to S1 homes and Zoopla with your requirements and you will get emailed when properties are available. We are in an area across town from where we want to be, but at the time, it was the only house that was suitable.

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