Equipping boys with skills for life

Posted on 26th May 2023 in School News, Prep Schools Guide

Merchiston Castle School takes pride in instilling its students with the vital skills and qualities that will prepare them for later life.

Achieving academic excellence is just one component of a Merchiston education. Of equal importance is the cultivation of qualities and characteristics that enable young men to navigate life’s demands and challenges with self-confidence, curiosity, and consideration for others.


Our small size allows for highly personalised teaching that caters to the needs of the individual. Working with a high teacher-to-student ratio, our teachers are perfectly positioned to identify and nurture each boy’s strengths, support him through challenges and coach him to reach his full potential.

From a young age, boys are encouraged to test themselves and develop their leadership skills, be it by performing the lead role in a play or guiding their sports team to victory as a captain.

Raised in this way, boys learn to adopt a growth mindset, where obstacles are embraced, and opportunities seized. Students learn the value of resilience, determination, and faith in their abilities to succeed in all aspects of life.


While preparing students to achieve the very best, we appreciate that failure is – to some extent – inevitable. Whether missing out on first place position in a race or receiving a lower mark than expected, ‘failures’ to some degree form part of the school experience. Our job is to teach students how to manage potential mistakes with grace and strength, accepting the result yet remaining committed to working on their game.

Regular homework and practice exams create opportunities for students to make and learn from mistakes without fear of judgement or recrimination. Instead, boys become curious about what went wrong and how they may improve for the ‘real deal’.

Be it on the rugby pitch, in the classroom or debate chamber, resilience at Merchiston means adapting to an outcome, recognising there is always more to learn, and having the self-belief to try again.


Us Merchistonians believe that trophies are best won as a team and that academic success is a shared goal. This community spirit makes our school so special, with boys leaving us having made friendships that will see them through life. Simultaneously globally facing and close-knit, our culture promotes acceptance, integrity and compassion in the boys who enter our doors and leave as fine young men.

Our House Structure ensures that students soon become accustomed to looking out for each other as they would a brother. In their later school years, boys can become prefects and guide younger students as both a role model and mentor. In this way, boys at Merchiston appreciate the importance of trust, respect and kindness.


At Merchiston, we are committed to providing a world-class education that captures imaginations, brings excitement into the classroom and engages a young person’s mind.

We strive to make lessons as interactive and inspiring as possible to help instil a genuine interest in the subjects on offer. Merchistonians may have a biology lesson held by a surgeon, attend The Lyceum Theatre as part of an English class, or visit the University of Edinburgh for a politics lecture.

Merchistonians benefit from outstanding facilities, expert teachers and a wealth of resources that enable further research and discovery of topics that make them tick. It is this which drives their curiosity and a lifelong passion for learning.

Merchiston’s mission is to ensure that our boys, our young men of integrity, are imbued with the qualities that they can be proud of. Independence, determination, curiosity, and manners mean so much, yet cannot be graded nor contribute to league tables. When boys leave us as well-rounded, ambitious, and compassionate individuals, we know we have done our job.

This article appears in the 2023 edition of John Catt's Preparatory Schools, which you can view here: