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  • George Watson's College
    67-71 Colinton Road
    EH10 5EG
  • Head: Gordon Boyd
  • T 01314 466000
  • F 01314 466090
  • E [email protected]
  • W
  • A mainstream independent school for pupils aged from 12 to 18 with a linked junior school
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Edinburgh, City of
  • Pupils: 1,413; sixth formers: 205
  • Religion: Non-denominational
  • Fees: £13,170 pa
  • Open days: October
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review

What says..

Academically, a highly successful senior school and also groundbreaking in that it offers the IB, as well as Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers, with the odd A level (music and art) thrown in. It is ‘not selective’ by ethos and prides itself on identifying potential problems (has its own educational psychologist). Drop-in centre caters for the brightest as well as those who need oodles of help, or just a short sharp explanation with some bothersome subject. Dedicated science lab with explosive experiments with Alkaseltzer and a plastic screw top container…

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International Baccalaureate: diploma - the diploma is the familiar A-level equivalent.

Other features

All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2014, Melvyn Roffe BA FRSA (40s). Read English at York, studied education at Durham, came from Wymondham College in Norfolk; previously worked in both maintained and independent sectors, married with a son and daughter.

Head of senior school since 2016, Gordon Boyd, previously assistant director, education at Norfolk County Council. Edinburgh born and bred, he studied English at Aberdeen and did his teacher training at Cambridge before going to Zambia with VSO. Experience in a variety of schools culminated in a headship at City of Norwich School. He is married to Helen and they have three children. He enjoys swimming, skiing and running half marathons, among other interests.

Head of junior school since 2016, George Salmond. Well known to the Watson’s Family, George is a graduate...

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Special Education Needs

George Watson's has a long tradition of supporting pupils with specific learning difficulties in the mainstream, and our focus is upon optimum inclusion for each pupil. As well as five full-time learning support staff plus support staff, the whole staff is experienced in recognising and providing for pupils who have particular barriers to learning. Labelling these barriers is less important than understanding the different strands of difficulty that may be affecting a learner - usually several strands rather than the single barrier often implied by a single label; and our support resources are focused upon working with pupils, staff, families and other professionals to understand each pupil’s unique strengths and weaknesses, and to find ways around any barriers. Emphasis is put upon sharing ideas with teaching staff, using every possible means to minimise barriers in the classroom (support staff, S6 helpers, parent helpers, use of ICT, and personalised teaching and learning tips for each pupil with difficulties). Pupils may reduce their curriculum to find time for a study programme in the LS Centre; this may focus upon their wider curriculum, or the specific skills they wish to develop, or a mixture of both. The school is well resourced, and there is real commitment to accessibility and inclusion. LS staff are actively involved in research, development and publication in the field of learning difficulties, collaborating with the University of Edinburgh as well as a range of other professionals and agencies nationwide.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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