Erskine Stewart's Melville School Building

Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools

Welcome to our unique family of independent schools for boys and girls in the heart of Edinburgh. Together these schools have been turning out world-class boys and girls for over 150 years.

There are times in their growing up when boys and girls develop in different ways. At primary stage, they love to learn and grow together in the same warm, nurturing environment. By adolescence, boys’ and girls’ learning styles differ, so we give them the chance to develop without the distractions and pressure to conform to stereotypes. Uniquely however, our boys and girls join together for many sporting, musical and dramatic activities, as well as outdoor activities and cultural trips. Our students spend their Sixth Form together, preparing for the university life that beckons.

Excellent results… all round
Known for its academic excellence, the Erskine Stewart’s Melville family of schools has been turning out world-class students for over 150 years. It’s good to see that our boarding facilities also make the grade. A recent study by the Care Commission awarded both houses an Excellent grading for the standard of care and support they provide. This recognises the level of care and individual attention each child receives at all times from the Housemaster, Housemistress, resident tutors and resident matron.

Regular communication
Staff are in regular contact with every parent, keeping them updated on their child’s progress and wellbeing. Every boarder also has their own email address so you can find out how their day has been.

With a teaching staff of over 220, and a choice of over 25 academic subjects, we believe our family of schools provides our children with an education that will serve them well for a lifetime.


The ESMS unique family of independent schools can be found in the heart of Edinburgh. Our schools are centrally located to the West of the city centre. The schools have wonderful views across the city to the Firth of Forth and to Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Airport is 7 miles from the schools and should take approximately 20 minutes by car or taxi. Edinburgh Waverley (2 miles, approx. 12 minutes), Edinburgh Haymarket (1 mile, approx. 5 minutes).

Main local attractions: Edinburgh Castle, Modern Art Galleries and Museums, Holyrood Palace and Scottish Parliament Building, Princes Street, Edinburgh Zoo, Royal Yacht Britannia.

Further information

First rate schools such as ESMS Junior School, The Mary Erskine School and Stewart’s Melville College demand top class boarding facilities and ours don’t disappoint. For children whose parents work overseas, or live too far from Edinburgh to commute daily, our boarding houses provide a comfortable, close-knit and surprisingly affordable home from home for children from Primary 6 to Sixth Form.

It’s not a boarding house, it’s a boarding home
Dispel any ideas you may have about cramped dorms and dark corridors. Our boarding houses are comfortable, fresh and spacious, but most of all welcoming after school.
Each house can accommodate up to 30 boarders. Their size means that boarding is just like being a member of an extended family and boarders often forge deep and lasting friendships.

As for our house staff, they care for the boys and girls as if they were their own, catching up with them at mealtimes, keeping an eye on their homework, ensuring that no-one is left out and organising a full programme of weekend and evening activities, drawing on the many local attractions.

Boarding facilities that are anything but boring
In keeping with the schools’ reputation for providing unrivalled opportunities, our boarding facilities are second to none. How many other children do you know with a state-of-the-art swimming pool, fitness suite, games hall, Astroturf football/hockey pitches and tennis courts right on their doorstep?

As for the boarding houses themselves, they’re equipped with table tennis, air hockey, pool and table football, computers with internet, email, printer and access to Skype for keeping in touch, music practice rooms, each with their own piano, a kitchen for preparing snacks, and study bedrooms for Sixth Form boarders.


Danny Page (Director, Actor, Writer, Producer)

Tony McGeever (Actor)

Madeleine Worrall (Actress)

Chloe Pirrie (Actress)

Fraya Mavor (Actress)

Dario Franchitti (Indy Car Racer)

Lynsey Sharp (Olympic Athlete, 800m)

David Wilkie (Former Olympic Athlete, Swimming)

David Florence (Olympic Athlete, Canoe Slalom)

Jake Wightman (Olympic Athlete, middle-distance athlete)

Tom Fleming (Scottish actor, director, and poet, and a television and radio commentator for the BBC)


“At ESMS the boarding house is homely, family-like, and as House Mistress I really get to know the girls. I aim to ensure that the girls are happy, safe and make the most of every opportunity at school…I teach the girls honesty, confidence and to be the kind of person who does the right thing.” – Mrs Fiona Anderson, Erskine House House Mistress for 10 years.

“A regular question from people is, what is the best thing about the boarding house? In reply I would say one of the best things is the extensive shared wardrobe. If you have seen one boarder wearing a dress you will have definitely seen a few others in the same one! It’s the sense of community spirit that permeates the house that has made it so welcoming and easy to live in.” – Faye from Invergordon, Erskine House Head Girl 2014-2015.

“We are well supported with our academic studies through a tutor system in the house and the older boys and staff are always available to help the younger boys if they have problems with homework. We do prep (homework) five nights a week and as we move up through the school we are given more independence for our learning and are allowed to study in our bedrooms.” – Ruairidh, Head Boy Dean Park House.

“Boarding at Dean Park House over the past year has been a great and very enriching experience. Being able to interact with people of different ages and cultures and getting to live so close to the beautiful Edinburgh city centre as well as living on the school grounds are some of the many perks of being an ESMS boarder. Being from Nigeria where family is an integral part of a child’s upbringing, the small numbers in the ESMS boarding houses appealed to me because it was just like living with your extended family. I was able to fit in very easily with the rest of the boarders and was able to go to the staff with any concerns I had. I have also been able to forge great friendships that I’m sure will be maintained long after we leave Dean Park House.” – Mustaphis from Nigeria, Sixth Form Boarder at Dean Park House

Admissions & Fees

Entry Requirements, testing and Open Days

Primary 6 and 7
Entry to these Year Groups requires a written assessment. This concentrates on basic Language and Mathematics and is definitely not an ‘examination’. It is designed to ensure that your child will be able to cope with and enjoy the academic environment we provide.

The entrance assessment for S1 includes papers in Mathematics, English, Verbal Reasoning and Spelling. We will also request a reference and/or report from your child’s current school.

S2 and S3
Assessments for pupils entering S2 and S3 are arranged on an individual basis. We will also seek references/reports from your child’s current school.

Entrance to S4 depends on interview, examination results and reports received from your child’s current school. There is no written assessment.

There is no formal assessment for entrance to S5, but an offer is subject to interview, reports from your child’s current school and examination results. They should have strong passes at National 5 or GCSE equivalent in the subjects they are planning to study in S5.

Sixth Form
Applications to the Sixth Form are handled on an individual basis. We will seek references and reports from your son or daughter’s current school, and invite students for an interview with the Director of Sixth Form.

Our annual Open Day takes place in September each year. Our next Open Day is on 23 September 2017 from 10am – 1pm

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer help with fees by awarding financial assistance in the form of bursaries. These are means-tested awards, available to children who meet our academic entry criteria but would otherwise be unable to attend. Bursaries can be awarded up to a maximum of 100% of the tuition fee. The value of the bursary is determined by the extent of the applicant’s financial need.

At ESMS scholarships are not means-tested and are not used to subsidise fees. They are paid to the pupil and held in trust by the school until completion of their Sixth Form year (or the equivalent age if they leave us sooner). 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.

How academic scholarships are awarded
Parents and pupils do not apply for a scholarship. If your child demonstrates academic excellence in their entrance exam, we will invite them to sit a scholarship exam, held very shortly afterwards. Scholarships are awarded to candidates who perform especially well in the scholarship examination.

Music Scholarships
Music Scholarships of £250 a year are offered together with free music tuition. They are made to girls and boys from S3 onwards, whether they are already in our schools or have been offered a place. They are awarded on the same basis as academic scholarships.

Boarding fees per term£6,742- £7,556
Day fees per term£2,635 - £3,776
Registration Fee£70
Enrolment Fee£300