Belhaven Hill School Main Building

Belhaven Hill School

Belhaven Hill has the best of all worlds being situated in beautiful wooded grounds overlooking Belhaven Bay on the outskirts of Dunbar and 45 minutes from the centre of Edinburgh. Ideally placed just off the A1, it is close to both a mainline London-Edinburgh railway station and less than an hour to Edinburgh airport.

Providing an idyllic environment in which children thrive, Belhaven Hill has retained its unique position in Scottish education as a school like no other. Primarily a full boarding school with some day pupils, Belhaven Hill has a long tradition of providing an excellent all-round education before sending its pupils far and wide to all the leading public schools in both England and Scotland. These include Ampleforth, Downe House, Eton, Fettes, Glenalmond, Harrow, Loretto, Oundle, Queen Margaret’s York, Radley, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Stowe, Strathallan and Uppingham. Committed and enthusiastic full-time members of staff work with small classes of between 9-16 pupils. There is ample opportunity for scholarship and extended work, resulting in a number of awards being gained every year.


Belhaven Hill has a coastal location near Edinburgh. The School enjoys the best of all worlds being situated next to the sea, surrounded by the rolling countryside of East Lothian on the outskirts of Dunbar and only 40 minutes from the centre of Edinburgh. Just 2 miles from the A1, Dunbar is on the main Edinburgh to London rail line and only 45 minutes from Edinburgh International Airport.

Nearest Airports: Edinburgh – 45 minutes, Glasgow – 1hr 30 minutes, Newcastle – 1 hour 45 minutes, Glasgow Prestwick – 1 hour 45 minutes.

Nearest railway stations: Dunbar- 2 miles/5 minutes, Edinburgh 29 miles/50 minutes, Berwick upon Tweed 30 miles/50 minutes.

Further information

A strong Learning Support department with two dedicated, trained staff, provides one-to-one and small group tuition. The emphasis is on nurturing pupils’ various talents and encouraging high standards in all that they undertake.

Above all else Belhaven Hill pupils are renowned for being happy children and this is in no small part due to the excellent pastoral care provided. Over half of the staff live on site and the policy of the governors has been to keep the school comparatively small in order to retain a family atmosphere. The boys are housed in the original main building and the girls in a newly refurbished purpose-built house. The pastoral system revolves around the six patrols, with each pupil being looked after by their form teacher in the junior years and a personal tutor, higher up the school. Seven matrons take care of the children’s health and the school doctor visits regularly.

The school is very well resourced and has an excellent reputation for sport with Rugby, Netball, Hockey, Cricket, Rounders, Tennis and Athletics making up the main part of the sporting programme. Swimming takes place all year round either in the school’s heated outdoor pool or in the local indoor pool at Dunbar.

Music and drama flourish at Belhaven and every child has the opportunity to perform in regular concerts and productions throughout the year. A new state-of-the-art music building houses a vibrant department which caters for a wide range of instrumental ensembles and choirs. Over 90% of the children play one or more instruments, with specialist tuition provided by a team of visiting music staff.

Opportunities abound for a wide variety of other recreational activities: skiing, surfing, horse riding, golf on the adjacent links course, carpentry at a local renowned furniture makers and gardening for those who want to grow their own produce in the school’s walled garden. Every sort of hobby and activity is practised and encouraged: debating, ‘Mastermind‘, singing, model-making, computer programming, cookery, chess, fencing, modern dance and reeling to name but a few.

The children are at the centre of all that Belhaven Hill aims to achieve – happiness, confidence and success. The school seeks to nurture the whole child, by providing an all-round education, where children are encouraged to look out for one another, where friendships are valued and where a sense of community and respect for others is paramount.

Prep Schools should be all about fun, friendship, confidence, endeavour and ambition – they get all of this and more in a Belhaven education


Rear-Admiral Sir Ronald Stephen Forrest KVCO (1923-1972) Senior Royal Navy Officer and Defence Services Secretary (1972 to 1975)

William Dunbar, one of three survivors on HMS Hood (1923-1965)

Hugh Trevor-Roper (1914-2003) English historian


“The school is characterised by a strong sense of community with positive relationships between staff and pupils.”

“Children interviewed are very positive about the range of experiences they have within the planned curriculum and through the wider life of the school, including boarding.”

“Relationships are built on trust and mutual respect, leading to a positive rapport with children. This aspiration was endorsed and validated by each of the pupil focus groups, younger and older.”

“Children with particular talents and interests are very well supported to a high level.”

HMIE Inspection 2012

“I think the children have always looked on your wonderful staff more as friends and mentors than teachers”.

“Are you sure the school can’t take the children on to 18 – they don’t want to leave?”

“Belhaven is the Jewel in Scotland’s Crown.”

“Everyone knows that Belhaven is just the happiest place to be.”

Comments from Parents

Admissions & Fees

Entry Requirements

No formal entry assessment. Informal day spent at school with low-key assessments for setting purposes. Open morning once a year – next one being Saturday May 17th 2014 from 10.30am to 12.30pm

Scholarships and Bursaries

Belhaven Hill School strives to make a Belhaven education accessible to all, regardless of financial status. To help make this possible, financial assistance is available through ‘bursaries’. A number of bursaries – up to 100% of the fees – can be awarded, at the Governors’ discretion, to those who require financial assistance and where there are available bursary funds. As the School has no financial endowments, funds available for bursaries are of necessity limited but are allocated in as fair a manner as possible.

All applicants are required to fill in the information as requested in the Bursary Application forms. Further information is available on the School here.

All matters between the School and the applicant are strictly confidential, and such confidentiality is a condition of any Bursary that may be offered. All Bursary awards are reviewed and revised annually by the Bursary Committee to reflect any changes in fees payable, and approved by the Governors, whose decision is final in all matters.

In addition to the School’s own Means Tested Bursaries, there are grant-making trusts for those in genuine need as well as discounts for siblings and children of parents in the Armed Forces.

Boarding per term£6,625
Day fees per term£4,595
Registration Fees£50