Prospectus 2023/24

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Our School<br />

We are a single campus independent school in Edinburgh for children<br />

aged 3 to 18.<br />

We encourage our pupils to develop a love for learning through an inspiring curriculum and an<br />

extensive and inclusive enrichment programme. We are a community that supports and challenges our<br />

pupils to discover their own limitless potential.<br />

We nurture the knowledge, skills and confidence our pupils will need to become engaged and<br />

successful citizens and make their own unique contribution to the world.

Our Values<br />

Our values sit at the heart of our school. They are who we are. They are what we do. They are the standard<br />

we set to measure ourselves and the contribution we make to the strength of our community.<br />

Aim High<br />

We challenge ourselves and encourage excellence.<br />

Be Kind<br />

We support each other to be confident,<br />

engaged and ambitious.<br />

Join In<br />

We create a diverse range of opportunities and<br />

enjoy the freedom to discover who we really are.<br />

Respect All<br />

We care for others in an environment where<br />

all of our voices are valued and respected.

Preschool<br />

We believe our children should be able to go on magical adventures every<br />

day. Our Preschool has been designed to create flexible, collaborative<br />

places for children to learn both in the classrooms and outdoors.<br />

Each of our Preschool classes is teacher-led and children are supported by a team of experienced<br />

Preschool practitioners. This means that our Preschool combines the best of childcare with an<br />

environment that really encourages learning, enabling children to move successfully into our Junior<br />

School when they are ready to do so.

The outdoor space around our Preschool provides<br />

a safe yet inspiring space for children to enjoy the<br />

freedom to explore, play and learn. We also make<br />

full use of the wider campus for children to have<br />

their adventures. All our Preschool children have<br />

a hot, healthy and delicious lunch to fuel them<br />

through their busy days.<br />

There are no admission assessments for<br />

Preschool and, as places are allocated on a<br />

first-come, first-served basis, early applications<br />

are advised.<br />

We offer<br />

various Preschool<br />

packages to help<br />

support the<br />

differing needs of<br />

our families.<br />

We are committed to creating<br />

a clear pathway where<br />

children will have the best<br />

possible opportunity to move<br />

forward successfully into the<br />

Junior School.

Junior School<br />

The journey of learning and discovery that starts in Preschool continues<br />

in our friendly, welcoming Junior School.<br />

The rich and varied Junior School curriculum<br />

ensures that children acquire a deep<br />

understanding of individual subjects including<br />

English, Maths, Science, History, foreign languages<br />

and the creative arts, whilst cross-curricular<br />

themes ensure that understanding is developed<br />

in interesting and rewarding contexts. By helping<br />

them to understand how they learn, we empower<br />

pupils to be happy, confident and successful in<br />

their learning.<br />

Our classrooms are all fully Wi-Fi enabled and<br />

iPads and other devices are introduced as natural,<br />

but not dominant, tools for learning.

We know that children<br />

who are happy and<br />

motivated are the most<br />

successful learners.<br />

Specialist Teachers by Year<br />

Preschool<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

In addition to the expertise of their class teacher,<br />

Junior School pupils benefit from an increasing<br />

Primary 1–2<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

number of specialist teachers as they progress<br />

from year to year. Where pupils need additional<br />

support with their learning, our highly experienced<br />

Primary 3<br />

Primary 4<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

team will be on hand to develop a package to meet<br />

their needs.<br />

Primary 5–7

In the early years of the Junior School (P1–P3),<br />

individual year group classes are arranged in<br />

clusters, giving younger pupils positive role models<br />

and enabling older pupils to develop a sense of<br />

responsibility for their younger schoolmates.<br />

Particularly in the early years, there are plenty of<br />

opportunities for learning through play. From P4<br />

upwards, classes are organised in year groups, with<br />

P7 enjoying a superb suite of classrooms and a<br />

curriculum tailored for successful progression into<br />

the Senior School.<br />

The health and wellbeing of our pupils is our top<br />

priority throughout our school. Our approach<br />

is based on the principles of the United Nations<br />

Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and<br />

has been recognised as amongst the more effective<br />

and forward thinking of any school in the country<br />

by the award of the Gold Rights Respecting School<br />

Award by UNICEF.

For everyday support, our Wellbeing Hub is staffed<br />

by registered nurses and the Wellbeing Rooms are<br />

places where pupils can relax if they are feeling<br />

overwhelmed and need quiet time away from<br />

the classroom.<br />

Throughout their time at Watson’s, pupils’ lives<br />

and learning are enriched by the many experiences<br />

beyond the classroom. Day trips and residential<br />

visits enable pupils to extend their learning and<br />

develop independence.<br />

Music lies at the very heart of the Junior School<br />

and pupils have the chance to learn an extensive<br />

range of musical instruments and benefit from<br />

many opportunities to perform either individually<br />

or in ensembles, choirs and orchestras. No less<br />

important are the opportunities to perform on the<br />

stage and the sports field. Whilst we encourage<br />

excellence and celebrate success, our real<br />

commitment is to participate and to make sure that<br />

all pupils have the freedom to find out what they<br />

love doing.<br />

Every lesson is<br />

imaginatively planned by<br />

teachers who understand<br />

that each pupil is different.

Senior School<br />

In our Senior School pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes<br />

they need to thrive as adults and to make their own individual<br />

contribution to the world.<br />

The Senior School curriculum builds on the learning<br />

experiences of the Junior School but is equally<br />

accessible to pupils joining Watson’s at other stages.<br />

Excellent specialist teaching is offered within<br />

a structure that enables pupils to explore links<br />

between subjects and understand the fundamental<br />

concepts which underpin their learning.<br />

In Senior 1 and 2 (S1 and S2), pupils benefit<br />

from specialist teaching in English, Maths,<br />

foreign languages, physical education, creative arts,<br />

the sciences and other “STEM” subjects and<br />

social studies.<br />

A common approach to literacy is taken across the<br />

social studies subjects to enable pupils to build on<br />

core writing skills. Similarly, coordinated teaching<br />

takes place across the science subjects to develop<br />

generic STEM skills.<br />

We prepare pupils for Scottish National<br />

Qualifications and provide an exceptional range of<br />

courses in combinations that are designed to suit<br />

the needs of the individual pupil.

We offer one of the<br />

broadest ranges of<br />

curricular choices<br />

anywhere.<br />

●<br />

●<br />

●<br />

In S3 and S4, most pupils study eight subjects for<br />

National 5s from the approximately 30 that are<br />

offered. Pupils usually take English, Maths and a<br />

foreign language within their choices.<br />

In S5, pupils usually study five Higher subjects<br />

– often including English and Maths – from the<br />

approximately 34 different courses available.<br />

In S6, pupils study a range of Higher and<br />

Advanced Higher subjects depending on their<br />

future plans. Again, a wide range of courses<br />

(including 27 at Advanced Higher) in many<br />

combinations is available.<br />

In addition to certificated courses, pupils study<br />

a core curriculum and older pupils may choose<br />

enrichment courses to further broaden their<br />

academic experience.<br />

S3 S4 S5 S6<br />

30<br />

Nat 5s<br />

offered<br />

8 Subjects<br />

(inc English,<br />

Maths & Foreign<br />

Language)<br />

34<br />

Highers<br />

offered<br />

5 Highers<br />

(usually inc<br />

English<br />

& Maths)<br />

27<br />

Advanced<br />

Highers<br />

offered<br />

Mix of Highers<br />

& Advanced<br />

Highers<br />


We help our pupils develop<br />

the knowledge, skills and<br />

personal attributes they<br />

need to thrive as adults.<br />

The health and wellbeing of pupils remains a key<br />

focus in the Senior School. Working closely with<br />

parents and pupils themselves, Form Tutors,<br />

skilled and experienced pupil support staff, a<br />

school counsellor, school nurses and our network<br />

of trained peer-to-peer supporters combine to<br />

ensure that every pupil can flourish.<br />

We have a long history of helping pupils to overcome<br />

barriers to their learning and there is access to<br />

the expert support for learning that is required.<br />

Additional support for learning is provided in-class<br />

or through small group activity, as needed.<br />

In Senior 6, pupils choose their own Personal<br />

Tutor to guide their choices as they prepare for<br />

university, college or the world of work. The<br />

majority of our pupils progress to university but<br />

we never take it for granted that university is the<br />

right destination for any pupil and we are equally<br />

pleased to support those who wish to pursue a<br />

different path that is right for them.<br />

Senior School pupils benefit from the extraordinary<br />

range of enrichment opportunities including<br />

some of the most extensive programmes of extracurricular<br />

sport and music of any school in the<br />

UK, ambitious drama productions and highly<br />

successful clubs and societies. The programme<br />

of educational visits begins with an orientation<br />

trip in the early weeks of S1. From then on, the<br />

opportunities multiply both for group visits and<br />

individual experiences supported financially or<br />

practically by the school.

Exam Results for Session 2022/23<br />

SQA Pass rates A-C<br />

National 5 Higher Advanced Higher<br />

95.2% 93.2% 93.8%<br />

+16.4%* +16.3%* +14%*<br />

*Difference from National Average<br />

Figures are percentages of presentations.<br />

SQA exam<br />

presentations<br />

Average UCAS<br />

3,865 score per S5 144.81<br />

candidate<br />

Top 10 University<br />

Destinations (<strong>2023</strong>)<br />

1. Glasgow<br />

2. Edinburgh<br />

3. Aberdeen<br />

4. Strathclyde<br />

5. St +29.0%* Andrews<br />

6. Edinburgh Napier<br />

7. Dundee<br />

8. Durham<br />

9. Stirling<br />

10. Glasgow School of Art<br />

Top 10 Subjects<br />

(2022)<br />

7 Business &<br />

Administrative Studies<br />

Law<br />

Biological Sciences<br />

Social Studies<br />

Engineering & Technology<br />

Mathematical Sciences<br />

Medicine<br />

Languages<br />

Physical Sciences<br />

Creative Arts & Design

Pupils have every<br />

opportunity to discover<br />

exciting things about<br />

the world and to<br />

develop as individuals<br />

through a huge range<br />

of extracurricular<br />

activities.<br />

Beyond the Classroom<br />

At Watson’s, we believe that some of the most important learning takes<br />

place outside the classroom.<br />

Pupils have every opportunity to discover<br />

exciting things about the world and to develop as<br />

individuals through a huge range of extracurricular<br />

activities, a carefully designed programme of<br />

residential trips and other opportunities for<br />

learning off the school site. The friendships that<br />

are made and the fun had participating in these<br />

activities has a hugely positive impact on pupils’<br />

confidence and overall development.<br />

In Preschool, children start their discoveries by<br />

exploring first the campus and then further afield.<br />

Our programme of residential trips begins in the<br />

Junior School with a class visit to York in Primary 4.<br />

A camping experience follows in Primary 5 with a<br />

focus on making new friends and team building.<br />

In Primary 6, children visit the Trossachs to study<br />

life as a Jacobite and the programme culminates<br />

in Primary 7 with a week-long visit to London.

Junior School Residential Trips<br />


MAY<br />

MAR<br />

Primary 5<br />

Camp<br />

Primary 7<br />

London<br />

Primary 4<br />

York<br />

Primary 6<br />

Camp<br />

Extra-curricular Activites Available Across the School<br />

<br />

67 Clubs<br />

<strong>24</strong> Sports 35 Music Ensembles

Trip Destinations<br />

Canada<br />

USA<br />

UK<br />

France<br />

Belgium<br />

Spain<br />

Germany<br />

Italy<br />

Switzerland<br />

Japan<br />

China<br />

Taiwan<br />

Malawi<br />


Our unique S3 Projects programme<br />

sees small groups of pupils set<br />

off on a two week trip to multiple<br />

destinations engaging in a wide<br />

variety of activities.<br />

The Senior School offers enrichment opportunities<br />

which include a Global Education Week for S1 and<br />

S2 pupils, language trips in S2 and S3 Projects in S3.<br />

A huge range of cultural and language exchanges<br />

also begins in S3, along with opportunities to<br />

tour with sports teams. Older pupils can apply for<br />

generous financial awards from the school to help<br />

fund their own adventurous plans and there are<br />

exciting opportunities for leavers in many parts of<br />

the world.<br />

Our unique S3 Projects programme sees small<br />

groups of pupils set off on a two-week trip to<br />

multiple destinations engaging in a wide variety<br />

of activities. This tradition remains a key part of a<br />

Watson’s education.<br />

We provide opportunities for all pupils to<br />

make a difference by acquiring new skills and<br />

understanding so they can confidently build a fairer,<br />

kinder and more sustainable world. Our aim is to<br />

nurture compassionate global citizens who feel<br />

equipped, emboldened and empowered to take<br />

action to improve the world we live in.

Our Facilities<br />

All our educational and sporting facilities are located on our single, easily<br />

accessible campus where all our pupils learn, play and grow together.<br />

They enjoy the freedom of the beautiful green spaces throughout our campus whether that means exploring<br />

in a lesson, playing with friends or eating a snack on the grass.<br />

All our educational and sporting<br />

facilities are located on our single,<br />

easily accessible campus.<br />

Craiglockhart<br />

Pitches<br />

Preschool<br />

Grandstand<br />

Pitch<br />

Myreside<br />

Playing Fields<br />

Lower Primary<br />

(Primary 1–3)<br />

Junior School<br />

Dining Hall<br />

Upper Primary<br />

(Primary 4–7)

Preschool<br />

Junior School<br />

We believe our children should be able to go<br />

on adventures every day and our stunning<br />

Preschool classrooms are flexible, collaborative<br />

places to learn with outdoor spaces that promote<br />

exploration and discovery.<br />

Our Junior School provides a range of facilities<br />

to support the learning and development of each<br />

pupil. It is a safe, comfortable yet vibrant place with<br />

indoor and outdoor spaces that encourage both<br />

independence and constructive play. The library<br />

and informal learning spaces in the John Martin<br />

Building support pupils in acquiring good habits<br />

for study and collaboration with others.<br />

Art<br />

Centre for Sport<br />

Senior School<br />

Hockey<br />

Pitches<br />

Tennis<br />

Courts<br />

Design, Technology<br />

& Engineering<br />

Music<br />


Senior School<br />

Sports Facilities<br />

In the Senior School, bright and spacious<br />

classrooms are complemented by well-equipped<br />

laboratories and a variety of other specialist learning<br />

areas, well-resourced libraries and informal spaces.<br />

Our Senior School Assembly Hall is one of<br />

Edinburgh’s finest performance venues with a<br />

heritage that includes hosting some of the world’s<br />

greatest musicians. However, it is mainly the place<br />

where our community meets each week, where<br />

we share ideas, music and drama and where we<br />

celebrate the many achievements of our pupils.<br />

Our Centre for Sport boasts four sports halls, a<br />

fitness suite with cardio and resistance training<br />

equipment and a 23.5-metre swimming pool.<br />

Outside, the famous Myreside Grandstand pitch<br />

sits at the centre of a range of other excellent grass<br />

pitches, astroturf pitches, tennis courts and cricket<br />

nets. The Pavilion at Myreside provides social<br />

facilities for the school and wider community and<br />

houses some excellent squash courts. The nearby<br />

boathouse is the home of our Boat Club.<br />

The famous Myreside Grandstand<br />

pitch sits at the centre of a range<br />

of other excellent grass pitches,<br />

astroturf pitches, tennis courts<br />

and cricket nets.

The Arts, Design and Technology<br />

Creativity is a crucial component of our pupils’<br />

education and purpose-built facilities support their<br />

enjoyment and achievement in music, art, design<br />

and technology.<br />

An attractive exhibition gallery lies at the centre<br />

of our Art School which also has dedicated areas<br />

for pottery, sculpture, textiles, painting and<br />

photography.<br />

The Music School with its distinctive roof is a<br />

wonderful venue for all kinds of music learning<br />

and performance, whilst the Drama Department<br />

provides specialist performance studios and is the<br />

focus for drama in the Senior School. The Junior<br />

School benefits from performance spaces and<br />

dedicated music rooms at the very heart of the<br />

John Martin Building.<br />

Our Design, Technology and Engineering<br />

Department has excellent facilities where pupils<br />

can develop skills using a wide range of specialist<br />

equipment ranging from a chip forge to the latest<br />

in computer-aided fabrication technology. The<br />

emphasis here as elsewhere is to liberate the<br />

creativity of the individual to identify innovative<br />

design solutions.

Fees and Financial<br />

Assistance<br />

Current school fees can be viewed on our website. Fees are reviewed annually in June for the<br />

following session.<br />

George Watson’s College aims to be an inclusive and welcoming environment in which children and<br />

young people from a wide range of backgrounds can learn, grow and thrive. We are pleased to be able to<br />

offer the following forms of financial support to help parents and carers who wish their children to join<br />

our school. Children joining from Primary 6 upwards are able to apply for financial support, preference is<br />

given to those pupils joining Primary 6, Primary 7 and S1.<br />

Foundation Places<br />

Foundation Places are intended to provide life-changing opportunities for children and young<br />

people from families with little or no previous experience of independent education. Pupils receiving<br />

Foundation Places may face particular social or educational challenges which attending Watson’s could<br />

help to address. Although all pupils awarded Foundation Places must meet, or have the potential to<br />

meet, our usual academic standard, Foundation Places are not scholarships and are not awarded on the<br />

basis of academic criteria alone.<br />

Our Foundation Places Programme can offer families, where the household income (before tax) is less<br />

than £36,000 a year, school fee assistance between 75% and 100%.

Financial Assistance<br />

for Parents Scheme (FAPS)<br />

We recognise that the payment of independent<br />

school fees can be a daunting prospect for<br />

many parents and, in addition to the award of<br />

Foundation Places, we are also able to support a<br />

small number of families every year through the<br />

FAP scheme. Financial support is calculated on a<br />

sliding scale depending on income. The maximum<br />

award under the FAP scheme is 70% of school<br />

fees where the household income is up to £64,000<br />

(before tax). The funds available through the FAP<br />

scheme are limited and not all families who apply<br />

will be successful in receiving support.<br />

Music Scholarships<br />

Applicants for entry to S3 can apply for a Music<br />

Scholarship. To be considered for this award<br />

applicants must have achieved certification of<br />

grade 6 or higher and play two instruments or one<br />

instrument and voice. The award provides annual<br />

music tuition for two instruments or for voice and<br />

an instrument. Applicants must also demonstrate<br />

a commitment to studying Music at Watson’s to at<br />

least SQA Higher. These scholarships are available<br />

irrespective of household income.<br />

More Information<br />

If you would like an informal chat about Foundation<br />

Places, the FAP scheme or Music Scholarships,<br />

please call Admissions on 0131 446 6005.<br />

Application Process<br />

3 <br />

Apply online Application fee Financial<br />

assessment with<br />

our Foundations<br />

Award Manager<br />

Home visit for<br />

Foundation<br />

Place applicants<br />

carried out<br />

by our Wider<br />

Access Manager<br />

Entrance<br />

Assessment<br />

Offer letter with<br />

confirmation<br />

if financial<br />

support has<br />

been awarded<br />

Foundation<br />

Place recipients<br />

will meet our<br />

Wider Access<br />

Manager<br />

Transition visits<br />

– supported by<br />

our Transition<br />


Making an Application<br />

Our main entry points are Preschool, Primary 1, Primary 6, Primary 7<br />

and S1 but we are pleased to consider pupils for a limited number of<br />

places in other years. Once we have received an application we will invite<br />

applicants in for an assessment.<br />

The entrance assessment provides a valuable opportunity for both the school and parents to ensure that your<br />

child is placed in an environment which is suited to their own set of abilities and needs.<br />

The assessment is not an exam, it is an assessment of your child’s true capabilities based on their education<br />

to date. The assessments are age and stage appropriate and differ depending on the year group you are<br />

applying to. Each application is carefully considered on an individual basis.

Join us for our<br />

Open Morning<br />

Submit your<br />

application by<br />

mid-November<br />

<br />

<br />

Primary 2<br />

to<br />

Primary 7<br />

Entrance<br />

Assessments<br />

Primary 2 to<br />

Primary 7<br />

offers made<br />

<br />

<br />

Primary 1 and<br />

Senior School<br />

offers made<br />


<br />

Primary 1<br />

and Senior<br />

School<br />

Entrance<br />

Assessments<br />

<br />

<br />

Acceptance<br />

deadline<br />

Please check our website for confirmed dates.

General Information<br />

Travel<br />

Wraparound Care<br />

We are a city school with great access to public<br />

bus and rail links. We also provide school buses<br />

from Peebles, Midlothian, East Lothian, West<br />

Lothian and Haymarket Station.<br />

We provide Breakfast Club and Afterschool Club<br />

(7.30am–6pm) from Preschool to Primary 7 and<br />

also offer holiday clubs for these year groups.<br />

We provide a flexible package of care, allowing<br />

parents to opt for the care sessions that suit their<br />

individual needs. Sports and drama camps are also<br />

available during the holiday periods.

Catering<br />

Visit Us<br />

Our catering provides our pupils with the fuel<br />

needed for a busy day at school. Pupils are offered<br />

a range of healthy food choices with a commitment<br />

to source from local suppliers. Payment is made<br />

through a cashless payment system providing<br />

parents with quick and easy top-ups and tracking<br />

of their children’s lunches.<br />

We would encourage you to visit our school and<br />

take the opportunity to learn more about what we<br />

offer and how your child will benefit from joining<br />

Watson’s.<br />

Contact Admissions to arrange a tour.<br />

www.gwc.org.uk/joinus admissions@gwc.org.uk 0131 446 6005

www.gwc.org.uk/joinus<br />

George Watson’s College, Colinton Road, Edinburgh EH10 5EG<br />

An Edinburgh Merchant Company School, Registered Charity SC009747

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