Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools

At ESMS, a unique family of independent schools for boys and girls from age 3, we know that choosing a  School for your child and finding a school that fits your family’s needs is a big decision. Children at ESMS are taught together from Nursery to Primary 7 at ESMS Junior School, after which they benefit from single-sex senior school education at either The Mary Erskine School for girls or Stewart’s Melville College for boys, before joining together again for a co-educational Sixth Form.


For international students and children whose parents work outside of Scotland or the UK, who live in rural Scotland or who live too far from Edinburgh to commute daily, our boarding house provides a comfortable, close-knit and happy home from home for children from Primary 6 to Sixth Form. Our small size means that boarding is just like being a member of an extended family. Boarders often forge deep and lasting friendships. The relationship between children and staff is based on trust, respect and genuine affection.

Our boarding house, Dean Park House, is located on our Queensferry Road site in the grounds of Stewart’s Melville College. This means that boys who board with us have a few minutes’ walk to class each morning, and girls from S1-S6 are taken to and from The Mary Erskine School site at Ravelston by coach each day in a short journey time of around 5 minutes. The girls and boys who board with us find themselves surrounded by friends and their days filled with activity and opportunity. Our family-centred boarding experience provides first-class facilities coupled with excellent pastoral and academic support.

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.


ESMS boarders enjoy secure, segregated study bedrooms with separate floors for boys and girls which include their own toilet and washing facilities.  Our co-educational boarding arrangements create better opportunities for social interaction, strong academic support and a consistent and supportive ethos for all our boarders.

After school, most of the boys and girls take part in a number of the vast array of sporting and artistic opportunities available to them at school. All boarders automatically have membership to our Sports Centres, which include AstroTurf pitches, a 25m swimming pool and tennis, badminton and basketball courts. Boarders aged 16 and over can also use our state-of-the-art fitness suite. At the weekends, boarders attend planned activities such as skiing, climbing, surfing, ten pin bowling and trips to the cinema. In their leisure time, the children can relax in purpose built break-out areas and relaxation spaces equipped with the entertainment technology children and teenagers appreciate.


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

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, resident tutors and resident matron.  We believe in high academic standards, however, we believe experiences outside the classroom are every bit as important to children’s education.


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.

“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 & 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.

S1 - 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 & 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.

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

S5 - 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.

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£7,783 - £8,721
Day fees per term£3,257 - £4,562
Registration Fee£70
Enrolment Fee£300