What Merchiston offers you & Your Sons

Merchiston is a remarkable school where boys gain a world-class, outward-looking education. Wellbeing underpins everything we do and our smaller school community makes for meaningful and connected conversations, means we get to know your son really well and ensures we can support and motivate him in just the right way.

When your son leaves Merchiston, he will have achieved the highest level of personal academic success, made lifelong friendships and developed a true sense of self. He will have learnt what it means to have true integrity and character, to think of how he can help others, to understand the great privilege it was to be educated at Merchiston and strive for happiness and success in all he does.

Situated in a peaceful, wooded 100-acre campus 4 miles southwest of Edinburgh’s city centre on the edge of Colinton, a picturesque riverside village, our location provides unrivalled opportunities to explore the surrounding countryside for mountain biking, walking and hill running. The cultural highlights of Edinburgh are just a short bus ride away and Edinburgh Airport only 15 minutes away for ease of international travel.

Your son will thrive at Merchiston because he is known, understood, valued, and supported in everything he does.

What Makes Merchiston different?

It is a combination of things: our size; a genuine focus on the individual and the fact that we really understand our boys and how to get the very best out of them.

It is a potent trio. It is what enables us to know your son really well and to understand what makes him tick. It is why we can support him in a way that is motivating to him. It is the reason your son will strive for personal excellence and want to be the best version of himself.  It is the secret of his, and our, success.


Our excellent exam results at GCSE, A Level and Highers and the university destinations and courses of our leavers speak for themselves. How it happens is much more important, for that is at the very heart of our success.

We will get to know your son: his academic strengths, and areas for development; his interests, and what motivates him; how best to support him through challenges. We will talk to him, encourage and stretch him. We will identify opportunities and discuss options. Together we will make, and refine, plans until we get it right.


Merchiston enjoys a long, successful sporting history with over 60 Merchistonians playing senior international rugby and 24 playing international cricket (and Olympians too).  Your son can choose from up to 20 sports, play for fun and fitness or thanks to the guidance of some of the country’s leading coaches, compete at the highest level, nationally and internationally.

If you son is a talented tennis or golf player, he can enroll in our Tennis or Golf Academy offering elite training alongside a tailored academic programme (with unrivalled facilities too).

We aim to instill healthy habits and a love of sport that your son will take with him into adult life. That’s why we will encourage him to try new sports until he finds the ones he loves. In so doing he will learn the many transferable values of sport we espouse here, such as teamwork and resilience.


This is the time in your son’s life for exploring and discovering new talents. He might not be good at everything, but he won’t know until he tries. He might be a rising sports star, an actor, an accomplished canoeist or a concert pianist. We will help him find out. Rugby is the sport which has the greatest number of pupils involved, but music comes a close second with nearly a third of all boys attending our Choral Society.

We will encourage him to explore as many co-curricular options as possible and gain as much from those experiences as he can. When he finds the activities that he really enjoys, we will help him become excellent at them. After all, this could be the start of a lifetime passion or career path. If your son is someone who finds it hard to narrow it down, we will keep a watchful eye to make sure he is managing to balance everything. 


When boarding at Merchiston, your son will become part of a warm, caring and fulfilling community. He will have a diverse social life and form strong bonds with his friends. 20% of our boarders come to us internationally so he will also be part of a school that appreciates diversity and celebrates cultural difference.

As well as your son’s social skills, you will notice greater levels of confidence and a genuine respect for others that comes from co-existing together. Then there’s the resilience, independence and self-motivation boarding brings too. A key benefit of boarding is a longer day. Activities can run into the evening: indoor football, debating, trips to the theatre. It’s one of the reasons that boarders are able to pursue such a wide range of interests.

Headmaster's Profile

Jonathan Anderson has been Headmaster of Merchiston since September 2018. Jonathan grew up in Ulster and read Geography at Queen’s Belfast where he developed his appetite for teaching and subsequently completed his teaching qualification in 1997. The same year, he joined Christ’s Hospital as a Geography Teacher before being promoted in 1998 to Assistant Housemaster, and in 2003 to Housemaster in a boys’ boarding house. After almost 14 years at Christ’s Hospital, he was appointed as Senior Deputy Head at Worksop College, Nottinghamshire, where he remained for 7 years previous to joining Merchiston.

Jonathan is a passionate believer in the benefits of a well-rounded education and providing opportunities for pupils to excel in all that they do.

“It is not our results, as enviable as they may be nor is it our setting, as stirring and unforgettable as that may remain. It is the young men we are so proud to call our own. In our young men of integrity are imbued all the qualities that make a parent proud of their son. Honesty, empathy, determination, commitment, and manners that some might dismiss as ‘old fashioned’, yet to us mean so much.”

“I would love to talk to you about your son and, more importantly, talk with him to work out what makes him tick, discuss where he wants to go next and make sure he has the toolkit to get there. I invite you to take a closer look at Merchiston to gain a feel for the unique atmosphere, ethos and spirit we offer and to discover how we can deliver an education made for your son.”

Jonathan Anderson, Headmaster



Year Established:
Jonathan Anderson
School Setting:
Age Range:
Fee Range (Termly):
Junior School Day £5,310-£6,000 - Junior School Boarding £7,650 - £8,990 - Senior Day £9,030 - Senior Boarding £12,440
Exit exams:
A level
Scottish Highers


Attending Events


Mar 2024

12:00 PM - 05:00 PM


Mar 2024

10:30 AM - 04:00 PM


Mar 2024

Hong Kong
10:30 AM - 04:00 PM
Hong Kong Island

Jonathan Anderson

294 Colinton Rd, Edinburgh, EH13 0PU

Meet more exhibitors


Mar 2024

12:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Join us this March for our 11th annual showcase of British Boarding Schools as we return with 30 leading Boarding Schools to the Sheraton Hotel, Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, UAE.


Mar 2024

11:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Meet the UK's leading experts and talk 1-1 with admissions staff from the top boarding schools.


Mar 2024

10:30 AM - 04:00 PM
Returning to Hong Kong for the fourth time. Meet the UK's leading experts and talk 1-1 with admissions staff from the top boarding schools.