Merchiston Castle School Main Building

Scotland's Boarding Schools

Choice, Diversity, Excellence

Scotland’s Boarding Schools offer a wide range of choice and diversity. The different types of schools each have something unique to offer, so we have highlighted some benefits of each, below, to help you weigh up what might suit your son or daughter best.

Boys’ schools and girls’ schools

The main benefit of single sex education is that boys and girls do appear to learn well in an environment with others of their own gender. But it’s not just about removing the distraction of the opposite sex, as is often assumed – there is clear evidence that students will embrace and excel at subjects that they might not choose to study at co-educational schools. The number of girls who excel at Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Girls’ Schools is significantly higher than in mixed schools, for instance. Acutely aware of the need to prepare students for life beyond school, boys’ and girls’ schools in Scotland have strong links with each other, which enables students to spend time together outside the classroom.

Preparatory schools

Traditional Preparatory (or ‘Prep’) schools educate children from the age of 7 to 13 years and their raison d'être is to prepare pupils for senior boarding schools through a curriculum that equips them for the Common Entrance test. Children who have attended Prep schools are already familiar with boarding life and they are often mature for their years, which means that senior boarding schools are usually keen to admit them as students.

Senior and ‘All through’ schools

Senior schools usually admit students from the age of 11 to 18 years. As the name suggests, ‘all through’ schools, more common in Scotland than England, provide a seamless education from Junior to Senior school. An added benefit is that Junior School children are taught some classes by Senior School subject specialists.

  • Ardvreck School

    Ardvreck School

    • Location: Perthshire
    • Age range of boarders: 7-13 years
    • Number of boarders: 73 (all full boarding, not flexi)
  • Belhaven Hill School

    Belhaven Hill School

    • Location: Dunbar
    • Age range of boarders: 8-13 years
    • Number of boarders: 90
  • Cargilfield Prep School

    Cargilfield Prep School

    • Location: Edinburgh
    • Age range of boarders: 8-13 years
    • Number of boarders: 38 (17 flexi), 2 (International)
  • Dollar Academy

    Dollar Academy

    • Location: Clackmannanshire
    • Age range of boarders: 10–18 years
    • Number of boarders: 83
  • ESMS

    • Location: Edinburgh
    • Age range of boarders: 10–18 years
    • Number of boarders: 49 (whole school)
  • Fettes College

    Fettes College

    • Location: Edinburgh
    • Age range of boarders: 7–18 years
    • Number of boarders: 450 (whole school)
  • Glenalmond College

    Glenalmond College

    • Location: Perthshire
    • Age range of boarders: 12 – 18 years
    • Number of boarders: 334 (66 are international)
  • Gordonstoun

    Gordonstoun

    • Location: Moray
    • Age range of boarders: 8–18 years
    • Number of boarders: 463 (whole school)
  • Kilgraston School

    Kilgraston

    • Location: Perthshire
    • Age range of boarders: 11 – 18 years
    • Number of boarders: 132
  • Lathallan School

    Lathallan School

    • Location: Angus
    • Age range of boarders: 10+ years
    • Number of boarders: 29 (whole school)
  • Lomond School

    Lomond School

    • Location: Helensburgh
    • Age range of boarders: 8 – 18 years
    • Number of boarders: 57 (whole school)
  • Loretto School

    • Location: Musselburgh
    • Age range of boarders: 11 - 18 years
    • Number of boarders: 269 (whole school)
  • Merchiston Castle School

    Merchiston Castle School

    • Location: Edinburgh
    • Age range of boarders: 8-18 years
    • Number of boarders: 330
  • Queen Victoria School

    Queen Victoria School

    • Location: Stirlingshire
    • Age range of boarders: 10-18 years
    • Number of boarders: 277 (whole school)
  • St Georges School For Girls

    St George’s School for Girls

    • Location: Edinburgh
    • Age range of boarders: 10-18 years
    • Number of boarders: 60 (whole school)
  • St Leonards School

    St Leonards School

    • Location: St Andrews, Fife
    • Age range of boarders: 12-19 years
    • No of boarders: 123
  • St Marys Preparatory School

    St Mary’s Preparatory School

    • Location: Melrose
    • Age range of boarders: 8 – 13 years
    • Number of boarders: up to 60
  • Strathallan School

    Strathallan School

    • Location: Perthshire
    • Age range of boarders: 9 to 18 years
    • Number of boarders: 357