We provide a world class education for children and young people from
Preschool to Senior 6. We encourage our pupils to develop a love of real
learning through an inspiring curriculum and an extensive and inclusive
We challenge and support our pupils to discover their own limitless potential. We nurture the
knowledge, skills and confidence they will need to become engaged and successful citizens and make
their own unique contribution to the world. We are proud of our heritage and passionate about our
plans for the future.
Our values sit at the heart of our school. They are who we are. They are what we do. They are the standard
we set to measure ourselves and the contribution we make to the strength of our community.
We challenge ourselves and encourage excellence.
We support each other to be confident,
engaged and ambitious.
We create a diverse range of opportunities and
enjoy the freedom to discover who we really are.
We care for others in an environment where
all of our voices are valued and respected.
We believe our children should be able to go on magical adventures every
day. Our Preschool has been designed to create flexible, collaborative
places for children to learn both in the classrooms and outdoors.
Each of our Preschool classes is teacher-led and children are supported by a team of experienced
Preschool practitioners. This means that our Preschool combines the best of childcare with an
environment that really encourages learning, enabling children to move successfully into our Junior
School when they are ready to do so.
We are committed to
creating a clear pathway
where children will have the
best possible opportunity to
move forward successfully
into the Junior School.
The outdoor space around our Preschool provides
a safe yet inspiring space for children to enjoy the
freedom to explore, play and learn. We also make
full use of the wider campus for children to have
their adventures. All our Preschool children have
a hot, healthy and delicious lunch to fuel them
through their busy days.
There are no entrance assessments for Preschool
and, as places are allocated on a first-come, firstserved
basis, early applications are advised.
We know that children
who are happy and
motivated are the most
The journey of learning and discovery that starts in Preschool continues
in our friendly, welcoming Junior School.
The rich and varied Junior School curriculum
ensures that children acquire a deep
understanding of individual subjects including,
English, Maths, Science, History, foreign languages
and the creative arts, whilst cross-curricular
themes ensure that understanding is developed
in interesting and rewarding contexts. By helping
them to understand how they learn, we empower
pupils to be happy, confident and successful in
Our classrooms are all fully Wi-Fi enabled and
iPads and other devices are introduced as natural,
but not dominant, tools for learning.
Specialist Teachers by Year
In addition to the expertise of their class teacher,
Junior School pupils benefit from an increasing
number of specialist teachers as they progress
from year to year. Where pupils need additional
support with their learning, our highly experienced
team will be on hand to develop a package to meet
In the early years of the Junior School (P1–P3),
individual year group classes are arranged in
clusters, giving younger pupils positive role models
and enabling older pupils to develop a sense of
responsibility for their younger schoolmates. From
P4 upwards, classes are organised in year groups,
with P7 enjoying a superb suite of classrooms and
a curriculum tailored for successful progression
into the Senior School.
The health and wellbeing of our pupils is our top
priority throughout our school. Our approach
is based on the principles of the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and
has been recognised as amongst the more effective
and forward thinking of any school in the country
by the award of the Gold Rights Respecting School
Award by UNICEF.
For everyday support, our wellbeing hub staffed
by registered nurses and the Wellbeing Room is
a place where pupils can relax if the pressures of
school life begin to feel a little overwhelming.
Throughout their time at Watson’s, pupils’ lives
and learning are enriched by the many experiences
beyond the classroom. Day trips and residential
visits enable pupils to extend their learning and
develop independence. Music lies at the very heart
of the Junior School and pupils have the chance
to learn an extensive range of musical instruments
and benefit from many opportunities to perform
either individually or in ensembles, choirs and
orchestras. No less important are the opportunities
to perform on the stage and the sports field. Whilst
we encourage excellence and celebrate success,
our real commitment is to participate and to make
sure that all pupils have the freedom to find out
what they love doing.
Every lesson is imaginatively
planned by teachers who
understand that each pupil
We offer one of the
broadest ranges of
In our Senior School pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes
they need to thrive as adults and to make their own individual
contribution to the world.
The Senior School curriculum builds on the
learning experiences of the Junior School but
is equally accessible to pupils joining Watson’s
at other stages. Excellent specialist teaching is
offered within a structure that enables pupils to
explore links between subjects and understand
the fundamental concepts which underpin their
In Senior 1 and 2, pupils benefit from specialist
teaching in English, Maths, foreign languages,
physical education, creative arts, the sciences
and other “STEM” subjects and social studies. A
common approach to literacy is taken across the
social studies subjects to enable pupils to build on
core writing skills. Similarly, coordinated teaching
takes place across the science subjects to develop
generic STEM skills.
We prepare pupils for Scottish National
Qualifications and provide an exceptional range of
courses in combinations that are designed to suit
the needs of the individual pupil. We operate an
open presentation policy so that pupils have the
freedom to choose to take the examinations that
are right for them.
In Senior 3 and 4, most pupils study eight subjects
for National 5s from the approximately 31 that are
offered. Pupils usually take English, Maths and a
foreign language within their choices.
In Senior 5, pupils usually study five Higher
subjects – often including English and Maths
– from the approximately 32 different courses
In Senior 6, pupils study a range of Higher and
Advanced Higher subjects depending on their
future plans. Again, a wide range of courses
(including 25 at Advanced Higher) in many
combinations is available.
In addition to certificated courses, pupils study
a core curriculum and older pupils may choose
enrichment courses to further broaden their
S3 S4 S5 S6
Maths & Foreign
Mix of Highers
The health and wellbeing of pupils remains a key
focus in the Senior School. Working closely with
parents and pupils themselves, Form Tutors,
skilled and experienced pupil support staff, a
school counsellor, school nurses and our network
of trained peer-to-peer supporters combine to
ensure that every pupil can flourish.
We have a long history of helping pupils to overcome
barriers to their learning and there is access to
the expert support for learning that is required.
Additional support for learning is provided in-class
or through small group activity, as needed.
In Senior 6, pupils choose their own Personal
Tutor to guide their choices as they prepare for
university, college or the world of work. The
majority of our pupils progress to university but
we never take it for granted that university is the
right destination for any pupil and we are equally
pleased to support those who wish to pursue a
different path that is right for them.
Senior School pupils benefit from the extraordinary
range of enrichment opportunities including
some of the most extensive programmes of extracurricular
sport and music of any school in the
UK, ambitious drama productions and highly
successful clubs and societies. The programme of
educational visits begins with an orientation trip
in the early weeks of Senior 1. From then on, the
opportunities multiply both for group visits and
individual experiences supported financially or
practically by the school.
Exam Results for Session 2018/19*
SQA Pass rates A-B (including year-on-year comparison)
National 5 S5 Higher S5 & S6
1.8% 0.5% 1.7%
+32.7%* +28.2%* +23.0%*
*Difference from National Average
score per S5
*Exam results for 2019 are published here given the
lack of comparability in 2020 and 2021 due to modified
assessment arrangements necessitated by COVID-19.
Top 10 University Destinations
(including numbers with firm acceptance)
1. Glasgow (33)
2. Dundee (31)
3. Aberdeen (24)
+29.0%* 4. Edinburgh (20)
5. St Andrews (17)
6. Robert Gordon’s (13)
7. Heriot-Watt (9)
8. Strathclyde (7)
9. Napier (3)
10. Leeds (3)
We encourage our pupils to
make their own curricular
choices and have an open
presentation exams policy.
The friendships that are made
and the fun had participating
in the many opportunities at
Watson’s has a hugely positive
impact on pupils’ confidence
and overall development.
Beyond the Classroom
At Watson’s, we believe that some of the most important learning takes
place outside the classroom.
Pupils have every opportunity to discover
exciting things about the world and to develop as
individuals through a huge range of extracurricular
activities, a carefully designed programme of
residential trips and other opportunities for
learning off the school site. The friendships that
are made and the fun had participating in these
activities has a hugely positive impact on pupils’
confidence and overall development.
In Preschool children start their discoveries by
exploring first the campus and then further afield.
Our programme of residential trips begins in the
Junior School with a class visit to York in Primary 4.
A camping experience follows in Primary 5 with a
focus on making new friends and team building.
In Primary 6, children visit Meigle to study life
as a Jacobite and the programme culminates in
Primary 7 with a week-long visit to London.
Junior School Residential Trips
SEPT NOV FEB/
Extra-curricular Activites Available Across the School
24 Sports 35 Music Ensembles
Our unique S3 Projects programme
sees small groups of pupils set off
on a two week trip to destinations
across Scotland engaging in a wide
variety of activities.
The Senior School offers enrichment opportunities
which include a Global Education Fortnight for
Senior 1 and 2 pupils, language trips in Senior 2 and
Projects in Senior 3. A huge range of cultural and
language exchanges also begins in Senior 3, along
with opportunities to tour with sports teams. Older
pupils can apply for generous financial awards from
the school to help fund their own adventurous plans
and there are exciting opportunities for leavers in
many parts of the world.
Project 810 is a College wide
initiative providing opportunities
for all pupils to make a difference
by acquiring new skills and
understanding so they can confidently build
a fairer, kinder, and more sustainable world.
Our aim is to nurture compassionate global
citizens who feel equipped, emboldened and
empowered to take action to improve the
world we live in.
Our unique S3 Projects programme sees small
groups of pupils set off on a two week trip to
destinations across Scotland engaging in a wide
variety of activities. This 60-year-old tradition
remains a key part of a Watson’s education.
All our educational and sporting facilities are located on our single, easily
accessible campus where all our pupils learn, play and grow together.
They enjoy the freedom of the beautiful green spaces that wrap around the campus whether that means
exploring in a lesson, playing with friends or eating a snack on the grass.
All our educational and sporting
facilities are located on our
single, easily accessible campus.
We believe our children should be able to go
on adventures every day and our stunning
Preschool classrooms are flexible, collaborative
places to learn with outdoor spaces that promote
exploration and discovery.
Our Junior School provides a range of facilities
to support the learning and development of each
pupil. It is a safe, comfortable yet vibrant place with
indoor and outdoor spaces that encourage both
independence and constructive play. The library
and informal learning spaces in the John Martin
Building support pupils in acquiring good habits
for study and collaboration with others.
Centre for Sport
In the Senior School, bright and spacious
classrooms are complemented by well-equipped
laboratories and a variety of other specialist learning
areas, well-resourced libraries and informal spaces.
Our Senior School Assembly Hall is one of
Edinburgh’s finest performance venues with a
heritage that includes hosting some of the world’s
greatest musicians. However, it is mainly the place
where our community meets each week, where
we share ideas, music and drama and where we
celebrate the many achievements of our pupils.
Our Centre for Sport boasts four sports halls, a
fitness suite with cardio and resistance training
equipment and a 23.5-metre swimming pool.
Outside, the famous Myreside Grandstand pitch
sits at the centre of a range of other excellent
grass pitches, astroturf pitches, tennis courts and
cricket nets. The Myreside Pavilion provides social
facilities for the school and wider community and
houses some excellent squash courts. The nearby
boathouse is the home of our Boat Club.
Our Centre for Sport boasts
four sports halls, a fitness suite
with cardio and resistance
training equipment and a
23.5-metre swimming pool.
The Arts, Design and Technology
Creativity is a crucial component of our pupils’
education and purpose-built facilities support their
enjoyment and achievement in music, art, design
An attractive exhibition gallery lies at the centre
of our Art School which also has dedicated areas
for pottery, sculpture, textiles, painting and
The Music School with its distinctive roof is a
wonderful venue for all kinds of music learning
and performance, whilst the Drama Department
provides specialist performance studios and is the
focus for drama in the Senior School. The Junior
School benefits from performance spaces and
dedicated music rooms at the very heart of the
John Martin Building.
Our Design, Technology and Engineering
Department has excellent facilities where pupils
can develop skills using a wide range of specialist
equipment ranging from a chip forge to the latest
in computer-aided fabrication technology. The
emphasis here as elsewhere is to liberate the
creativity of the individual to identify innovative
Fees and Financial
Current school fees can be viewed on our website. Fees are reviewed annually in June for the following
George Watson’s College aims to be an inclusive and welcoming environment in which children and
young people from a wide range of backgrounds can learn, grow and thrive. We are pleased to be able
to offer the following forms of financial support to help parents and carers who wish their children to
join our school.
Foundation Places are available to pupils joining us in year groups from Primary 6 upwards and are
intended to provide life-changing opportunities for children and young people from families with
little or no previous experience of independent education. Pupils receiving Foundation Places will
typically have a particular ability or talent which might not otherwise be developed at their catchment
school and/or face particular social or educational challenges which attending Watson’s could help to
address. Although all pupils awarded Foundation Places must meet, or have the potential to meet, our
usual academic standard, Foundation Places are not scholarships and are not awarded on the basis of
academic criteria alone.
for Parents Scheme (FAP)
We recognise that the payment of independent
school fees can be a daunting prospect for
many parents and, in addition to the award of
Foundation Places, we are also able to support
a small number of families every year whose
household income is above £30,000 through the
FAP scheme. Financial support is available for
pupils in Primary 6 upwards and is calculated on a
sliding scale depending on income. The maximum
award under the FAP scheme is 75% of school
fees. The funds available through the FAP scheme
are limited and not all families who apply will be
successful in receiving support.
Our scholarship scheme has traditionally
recognised a small number of pupils who perform
particularly well in the S1 Entrance Assessment.
Our approach to these scholarships for 2022 is
currently under review.
Applicants for entry to Senior School can apply
for the Ferguson and Bruce Music Scholarships
which provide free annual music tuition on two
instruments, or for voice and an instrument.
These scholarships are available irrespective of
household income and the award is made initially
for three years. Subsequently, the award depends
on progression during S1 to S3 and commitment to
studying Music at Watson’s.
If you would like an informal chat about Foundation
Places, the FAP scheme or scholarships, please call
Admissions on 0131 446 6005.
Making an Application
Our main entry points are Preschool, Primary 1, Primary 6, Primary 7
and Senior 1 but we are pleased to consider pupils for a limited number
of places in other years. Once we have received an application we will
invite applicants in for an assessment.
The entrance assessment provides a valuable opportunity for both the school and parents to ensure that your
child is placed in an environment which is suited to their own set of abilities and needs.
The assessment is not an exam, it is an assessment of your child’s true capabilities based on their education
to date. The assessments are age and stage appropriate and differ depending on the year group you are
applying to. Each application is carefully considered on an individual basis.
Join us for our
Primary 2 to
Primary 1 and
OCTOBER NOVEMBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER JANUARY FEBRUARY FEBRUARY
Please check our website for confirmed dates.
We are a city school with great access to public
bus and rail links. We also provide school buses
from Peebles, Midlothian, East Lothian, West
Lothian and Haymarket Station.
We provide Breakfast Club and Afterschool Club
(7.45am–6pm) from Preschool to Primary 7 and
also offer holiday clubs for these year groups.
We provide a flexible package of care, allowing
parents to opt for the care sessions that suit their
individual needs. Sports and drama camps are also
available during the holiday periods.
Our catering provides our pupils with the fuel
needed for a busy day at school. Pupils are offered
a range of healthy food choices with a commitment
that 90% is sourced from local suppliers. Payment is
made through a cashless payment system providing
parents with quick and easy tracking and top-ups of
their children’s lunches.
We would encourage you to visit our school and
take the opportunity to learn more about what we
offer and how your child will benefit from joining
Contact Admissions to arrange a tour.
www.gwc.org.uk/joinus email@example.com 0131 446 6005
George Watson’s College, Colinton Road, Edinburgh EH10 5EG
An Edinburgh Merchant Company School, Registered Charity SC009747