28% of the private secondary schools in Scotland are located in Edinburgh, making it by far the most densely populated city for non-state schooling.
Unsurprisingly, in amongst the one third of independent schools in Edinburgh are the most highly rated in the country. There are a few different systems that can be used, but for this article the Educators.co.uk ratings system taken from their top Edinburgh schools section will be the basis for school rankings. This is a numerical rating system appointing each school a score out of ten, based on exam results, sports/arts facilities and the quality of buildings/grounds.
The Top 5 Private Schools in Edinburgh
1.Mary Erskine School [Educators Score - 9.2/10]
The Mary Erskine School is an all-girls day and boarding school which admits pupils between the ages of 12 and 17. It is situated in Edinburgh and maintains strong links with its partner school, Stewart’s Melville, incorporating a co-educational House system.
There is a high focus on academic achievement at the school, and as such there is an entrance examination which all pupils must sit before being considered for entry to the school. This however reflects in the very impressive SQA Higher results with 61.57% of all entries getting an A result.
2. Stewarts Melville College [Educators Score 8.8/10]
Stewarts Melville College as mentioned above is the ‘sister’ (or brother) school of the Mary Erskine School. It admits boys aged 12-17 years old and was formed in its current state from an amalgamation of two different colleges. Like its partner school there is a strong focus on academic achievement and all boys must pass an entrance examination before even being considered for a place. It is also both a day and boarding school.
From SQA Higher entries 54.66% achieved an A grade which is an impressive result.
3. Edinburgh Academy [Educators Score - 8.7/10]
Edinburgh Academy is one of the most historic schools in the country, being formed in 1824. It is a co-educational establishment which teaches pupils from nursery age at 3 right up until final graduation at 18.
Unlike the schools ranked in spots 1 and 2 Edinburgh Academy is a day only school, meaning it has no boarding facilities. The school prides itself on its extensive management structure and focus on individual pupil needs and small class sizes.
There is an entrance exam which must be sat to gain entry to the senior school. For nursery and primary there is a more informal assessment which must be undertaken. From all SQA higher entries 56.18% achieved an A grade.
4. George Watsons College [Educators Score - 8.6/10]
George Watsons is another historic private school, first established in 1741. Similar to the other well established school in the top 5 (Edinburgh Academy), the school only accepts day pupils and does not offer boarding.
It is a highly populated school with over 2500 pupils in total from the nursery through to 6th year in senior school. The school has 50 acres of grounds in total and is surrounded by beautiful trees and green space.
The school is academically selective, with 43.18% of SQA Higher entries receiving an A grade. However the school does have a high overall focus on mutual respect, building individual character and encouraging each pupil to work towards their own extra-curricular development goals.
5. Fettes College [Educators Score - 8.4/10]
Fettes College is a high achieving school set in beautiful woodland surrounding outside the City of Edinburgh. The grounds are expansive covering a total of 90 acres, which gives pupils a fantastic amount of space to develop and take part in activities in.
The school is co-educational and takes both day and boarding pupils. Pupils can attend the school from the ages of 7-18 years old, with senior pupils having to sit a formal entrance exam before being admitted. From all SQA Higher Entries 45.2% achieved an A grade and similarly high results are recorded for pupils who decide to sit English-system exams at the college.
The school has a strong focus on community and developing ‘the whole pupil’, as such class sizes are small and school houses play a big part of everyday life.
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