Local Talk

Mary Erskine vs George Watson's

(14 Posts)
VibrantMummy Mon 25-Feb-13 22:36:37

We are returning to Edinburgh from London this summer with our 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son. My daughter got into George Watson's P1 and was offered a place in pre-school (nursery) at Mary Erskine's as they felt she would benefit by being in the year below. I am trying to decide which school would be best for her and my son (Stewart's Melville) and where is best to purchase a property (house) near one of the schools. My children are bright and enthusiastic and I want them to do well, but most important of all is to be happy. Any tips for us would be appreciated! Which school is your preferred choice and why?

Realistically both schools are good, and your children will be fine so I'd buy your house first, and then go to which ever school is nearest. Don't know what house prices are like near ME, but they are pretty expensive near GW.

3nationedinburgh Tue 26-Feb-13 14:26:25

In Scotland the age for starting school is 5 by the end of February following entry in mid August. So depending when your DD birthday falls, you decide whether she starts in P1 in August 2013 or 2014. In reality most Jan/ Feb birthday children wait the extra year but it depends on how mature/ ready for school your child is.
For primary Mary E and Stew Mel are educated together, then going single sex for secondary school (from aged 11.5 or 12). This is the longer term biggest difference between these and Watsons.
Also Watsons is a huge school (aobut 3,000 children all in) and whilst this allows for great sports/ art/ music facilities, it does mean that a timid child can get completely lost and there is big pressure to conform.
Only you know your children and their personalities. There is a lot to be said for the "feel" you get for a school as to whether it seems the right place.
Property prices in Edinburgh are high for Scotland, but not compared to London so do visit the areas around Murrayfield/ Blackhall for ME/ SM and Colinton/ Polwarth/ Morningside for Watsons to see what property and prices are like.

VibrantMummy Wed 27-Feb-13 22:07:38

Thank you for your feedback. I have had a look at property in Edinburgh and they are not cheap and depends what area feels right for us to live in and what we can afford. My question is which school does best academically for a boy? The ME is excellent for girls but how does Stewart Mellvile compare to Watsons for boys? It would be so easy at Watsons for the children to walk to school and a nice area to live, but I loved ME and their values and academically impressive.

The area around Watsons is very expensive as people want their children to walk to school, and it is also the catchment for a good state primary. So, lots of the children live elsewhere, and get the bus home or are driven there.

I think you need to go with the school that feels like the right one for your children. Have you visited them all?

VibrantMummy Thu 28-Feb-13 10:15:33

Hi Chrysanthemum5, I have only visited these two schools as I did not have enough time. I liked the fact that ME was the top school in 2012 for Highers, and has great facilities but the building is not inspiring. My niece goes to Watsons and lives in Merchiston, and they are very pleased with the school. I also found out about a girls school called St.Georges which looks very good but too late to apply. The two that I have are good schools, I just need to decide which one is best for children and where I want to live and can afford. In your opinion what school is the most in demand school to send children to in Edinburgh? As I don't live there I am unable to chat to mums.

tribal Thu 28-Feb-13 22:32:55

To be honest there is not a lot to choose between the 2 schools academically, as you say ME topped the tables last year, but if you look back there are years where GW has better results. It really will be what suits each child. It is claimed that girls do better in girls only environment but boys do better in co-ed (although I am sure someone will also say boys do better in single sex too!).

When we were looking at schools we found that there was one that was the right fit for our child, although others would have been OK as well. Don't get too swayed by results tables. Look at what each school will offer/do for your child, or which school has the ethos that you prefer.

Eman83 Fri 01-Mar-13 08:03:30

We recently went to view GW for my son but decided not to apply. It was so big and the teacher taking us round didn't know any children's names. Also when we walked into classrooms some of the teachers looked a little depressed and almost all classrooms had children on iPads with headphones on. I've heard great things about ME and SM.
my sons name is down for George heriots and Edinburgh academy and either one of those schools are just as good

Eman83 Fri 01-Mar-13 08:06:47

Don't get me wrong GW is a fantastic school and my husband actually went there but the feeling I got I think was because it is just so massive I found it rather daunting.

I don't think it's about which school is most in demand, it's about which one would suit your children. I wouldn't pay much attention to league tables, to me it's more about which school feels right. Also don't underestimate the importance if convenience for pick ups, after school activites etc. really I would pick where you want to live then go for the nearest school.

VibrantMummy Mon 04-Mar-13 10:15:58

Many thanks for your messages. I will arrange to see the schools again so I get a better feel for them before I decide. A one hour visit with my daughter is not enough time. I will choose a school where they would be most happy and do well.

catrachmattben Thu 14-Mar-13 12:24:26

Hi just wondering if anyone with children in P5, or will be starting at George Watsons, August 2013 would be interested in meeting up or arranging play date. I have a little boy 8 years who will be starting there this August. Any tips on how to help him with the transition. Looking forward to any responses.

jackelino Wed 08-Jan-14 13:56:07

I think the main difference is that GWC have a specialism in learning support and they are very good at that. They also have some disabled and deaf students. We think it's a great school. It's a really positive, supportive environment.

HonorOakLark Wed 29-Jan-14 14:07:25

Hi VibrantMummy,
Which did you go for in the end? We are following in your footsteps this year (except my kids are 6 months younger than yours). I went to MES and my husband went to Watsons but we're out of the loop as we've been in London for 11 years. We have a place for my daughter at MES pre-school but I'm interested to find out how you got on with your move, schools and everything else?! I'm a bit scared...

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