Merchiston Castle School(5 Posts)
Any comment on Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh? Thanks.
My DD stayed there for a week over the summer as part of the National Youth Choir Summer Camp. The grounds and facilities are beautiful. The dorms (although I have no experience of independent boarding schools) appeared basic and dated.
Very sporty, good on maths and engineering, superb 6th form facilities, wonderful and engaging headmaster. Particularly good at rugby!
Although Merchiston is in Scotland, it does follow the English curriculum offering GCSE/ A Levels rather than the Scottish equivalent. For this reason they also operate the English 1st Sept age policy (rather than end of Feb which is more normal for Scotland).
The school very much sees every boy as an individual and will advise accordingly. Rugby is complusory until age 15 but there are many different levels within the school and many boys only train once a week and play matches only once every few weeks if they are not too keen. Cricket and athletics are key school sports; there are specialist programmes for golf and tennis which have "academies" in the school; hockey, squash and swimming are all run on an optional activity basis. At the moment the school doesn't have on site astroturf for hockey but this is in the pipeline in the next 12 months, and to be honest the swimming pool is dire- again in the grand plan for the next 3 years.
When they get older, there is also basketball, rowing, fives and lots of other options.
The pastoral support is fantastic in the school for both day boys and boarders, and because it is a small school everyone looks out for each other and all the teachers know the boys really well.
My best advice would be to talk to the Admissions department and arrange for him to do a taster visit for a weekend sometime. They have regular set weekends for this, but also they can be arranged for individuals to suit- there seem to be fairly frequent one off visits in my son's year by boys from outside Scotland or abroad. There is no obligation to commit to the school from these taster visits and many boys try out 2 or 3 schools before deciding.
We have been very happy with the school and my son has tried so many new things, most recently debating and hockey. One of the benefits of being a smaller school is that the boys get to participate in lots of activities as they need numbers to make up the teams for sport/ debating/ music/ drama where in a bigger school there might be huge competition for any one of these groups. For example my son is a drummer in the pipe band, plays clarinet in the wind band, is in two choirs, on the first rugby , badminton and cricket teams, has represented the school in maths challenges and debating, took cookery and science club last term and taking squash and chess club this term - they are certainly very busy boys!!!
I hope this gives you more of a flavour of the school from a parent point of view, as well as the pretty good website for all the PR side.
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