The Mary Erskine School

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The Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh was founded in 1694 with a donation from Mary Erskine, widow of an Edinburgh apothecary, in response to a proposal by the Merchant Company to establish a foundation for the education of daughters of the burgesses. The Mary Erskine School is one of the oldest girls’ schools in the world and continues to flourish today as Scotland’s premier school for girls.

The Mary Erskine School, top Scottish Independent School by Advanced Higher results in 2015, understands the distinctive needs of girls. It has a strong tradition of academic excellence. Girls are offered an exceptional range of subjects in the sciences, humanities, languages, expressive arts and much more besides and excel under the care of teachers who are passionate about education.

A great education goes beyond the classroom and every girl has something to gain from the vast range of extra-curricular activities on offer, in addition to the major sporting and performing arts opportunities provided by the school. For the second time in three years the school has won the European Youth Parliament and has represented the UK at the international forums in Istanbul and Riga. Almost 200 girls are involved annually in The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and 300 girls involved in community service programmes.

The school forms part of the Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools, a unique family of independent schools. The inter-house competitions are twinned with Stewart’s Melville College so all girls get a chance to compete alongside boys of a similar age.

Mary Erskine girls experience unrivalled opportunities to challenge themselves, to discover their natural strengths, develop strong values and become happy, confident and respectful young adults.

Gifted & Talented

In the 2015/16 academic session, 47 girls in S2 – S5 at The Mary Erskine School have been identified as Gifted and Talented by considering departmental nominations, CAT scores, scholarship awards, inclusion on previous Gifted and Talented lists, academic prizes and examination performance. Each year, the girls are offered an opportunity to take part in a project out with their curricular studies which serves to educate the pupils beyond the scope of syllabi, to expand their minds and develop skills which would help them to succeed in their future careers. Programmes are selected carefully to actively stretch pupils, broaden their horizons and reflect all subjects in the curriculum. In 2015/16 pupils were offered the opportunity to take part in the Scottish Book Trust’s Book Trailer Competition. The girls worked in teams to write, direct, produce and edit a book trailer for one of the nine books shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s book awards.

In addition, all departments put great time and effort into ensuring pupil resources are differentiated, ensuring all pupils are able to access the curriculum whilst being challenged by the material. They are responsible for providing a series of stimulating activities to extend and develop Gifted and Talented Pupils in their subject. They provide ‘Enrichment Activities’ which were open to all pupils and ‘VAP Activities’ which are specifically targeted to the Gifted and Talented Pupils.


Once learning difficulties have been identified, we can provide support in a number of ways depending on the individual needs of the pupils.

Reduced timetable for pupils in S1 so that instead of taking 2 languages, they take one and receive fixed support, including literacy and maths if required, for 2 hours per week.

In S2 pupils on reduced timetable do not take Latin and instead they receive 1 or 2 hours of additional support.

In S3 and S4 pupils requiring support take 7 subjects instead of 8 and receive 3 hours of extra support.

There are regular lunchtime drop-ins and we provide in class support in many subject areas including Maths and English.

Bursaries & Scholarships

Bursaries are means-tested grants which can be awarded to pupils to help pay tuition fees. Scholarships are non-means tested awards made to children by the school and held in trust for them until they leave school.

Means tested bursaries are available for children from Primary 7 upwards who meet our academic entry criteria and who would otherwise be unable to attend our schools. Bursaries can be awarded for up to 100% of tuition fees and the value of the bursary is determined by the financial need of the applicant.

Scholarships can be awarded to children entering S1 upwards. They are awarded as a result of a competitive scholarship selection process. Scholarships are not means tested or used to subsidise fees, but rather are awarded and then held in trust for pupils until they complete their sixth year. This creates a sum of money that can then be used to provide benefit in the future, such as contributing towards the costs of higher education.

Full details on eligibility for bursaries and scholarships can be found on our website.

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