Costs, Help with Paying Fees and Scholarships

Tuition Fees (2017/18)
Per Term Per Annum
All day £2,687 All day £8,061
Junior School
Per Term Per Annum
P1 and P2 £2,557 P1 and P2 £7,671
P3 to P7 £3,082 P3 to P7 £9,246
Senior School
Per Term Per Annum
S1 to S6 £3,967 S1 to S6 £11,901

Fee levels are reviewed annually, and the rates below will be subject to change in subsequent years. Full information on methods of payment and comprehensive planning advice is available on request from the Admissions Registrar.

Help With Paying Fees - including Free Places

The School provides financial assistance to parents who cannot afford to pay some or all of the School's annual tuition fee. This is often referred to as bursary support and is given in the form of a Foundation Award.

We hope that the information below will help you, but please do not hesitate to contact our Foundation Award Manager if you would like to arrange to discuss this further.

George Watson's Family Foundation

The George Watson's Family Foundation operates a fees assistance program, which was set up in 1997 to ensure that the spirit of the legacy left by George Watson continues. His views were clear; he wanted children from less advantaged backgrounds to enjoy the quality of education available to those more fortunate, keeping the doors to Watson's open to all.

The Foundation is funded annually by George Watson's College and by donations from parents, staff, former pupils and other benefactors.

Through the Foundation, means tested financial support is offered to eligible families in the form of a discount on fees. Owing to limited funds, the Foundation is unable to provide assistance to all applicants.

Foundation Awards are available to applicants for Primary 7 to Senior 6 with priority given to those joining us at Primary 7 and Senior 1. Occasionally, at the discretion of the Trustees of the Foundation, short-term assistance may be offered to existing pupils in any school year where a change in family circumstances has resulted in difficulty in meeting fees. 

Help with paying fees is awarded on a sliding scale based upon family income, capital assets and other financial circumstances.

Pupils whose parents apply for help with paying fees through the George Watson's Family Foundation are assessed on exactly the same basis as all other pupils, and are not in any way disadvantaged by an application for financial help.

Please note that applications for financial assistance cannot be considered until the School receives an admissions application form.

All applications for entry are processed in the same way, regardless of whether an application for financial assistance has been made or not. To apply for financial assistance you tick the relevant box on the application form, and the paperwork will be sent to you.

Parents of current pupils in the School may apply for short-term help at any stage from Primary 1 to Senior 6 by contacting the Foundation Award Manager.

For further information see Frequently Asked Questions About Help With Paying Fees.

Educational and Charitable Trust Funds

In addition to help from the Foundation, there are a small number of educational and charitable trusts funds, intended to help pupils who meet specific criteria, which may consider providing assistance in cases of genuine need.

  • Genuine needs recognised by trusts include:
  • an unforeseen family disaster, such as the death of a parent when the child is already at school
  • a change in parental circumstances threatening withdrawal from the school when a pupil is in the middle of an examination course
  • a need for special education where there is a recognised learning disability which is not being catered for in the state sector.

Details of regional and national trusts can be found in the Directory of Grant Making Trusts published by the Charities Aid Foundation (ISBN 1 903991 58 7) and the Educational Grants Directory published by the Directory for Social Change (ISBN 1 903991 75 7), both of which are available in most public libraries.

The Bursar can provide further guidance including advice on a number of funds administered by the Edinburgh Merchant Company to provide assistance in specific circumstances. He can be contacted by calling 0131 446 6000.

The Enablement Fund - Help with payment for additional costs for pupils with physical disabilities

In 2001, George Watson's College took steps to improve its facilities in order that children with physical disabilities can attend the School more easily, most notably by the installation of a lift in the main building.

The purpose of The Enablement Fund is to provide further assistance for pupils with a physical disability. The Fund is dedicated specifically to help these children by giving them financial assistance to help meet any additional costs they will incur by attending George Watson's College.

The grant could be used for additional staffing, facility adaptation, or equipment, depending on the need of a particular child.


Scholarships are awarded on the basis of pupil merit and irrespective of parental income.

Up to 11 scholarships, including two Music Scholarships, are available to pupils entering the Senior School in S1, ranging in value up to 25% of the full tuition fees.

These are awarded irrespective of parental income.

Academic Scholarships

The Academic Scholarships are awarded on the basis of the Entrance Assessment taken in January for entry to S1, plus additional Scholarship papers in English and Mathematics. Only candidates who do particularly well in the Entrance Assessment will be invited to take the additional Scholarship papers, a few days later. It is not therefore necessary to apply for a Scholarship award.

All awards are tenable for a maximum of six years, subject to satisfactory progress in each year.

There are two types of academic scholarship:

The Harold Oppenheim Scholarship and the Wolfson Scholarship

These are awards of 25% of the full tuition fee.

The Stewart Lockhart Scholarship, Louis Gibb Scholarship and Merchant Company Scholarships

These are awards made directly to the pupils gaining the scholarships to build a fund to assist with funding higher education or a GAP year project.

A sum of money to the value of 3% of the tuition fee is invested annually by the School in the name of the pupil.

The pupil gains access to the fund upon leaving the School at the end of either S5 or S6, or at the age of 17, if the pupil leaves at an earlier stage.

This accumulated fund is established for a pupil regardless of his/her status as a Foundationer under the means-tested help with paying fees scheme.

Music Scholarships

Applicants for entry to the Senior School who are musically talented can apply for the Ferguson/Bruce Music Scholarship, which provide annual music tuition fees for two instruments or for voice and instrument.

These are awarded on an assessment of a candidate's musical promise made at the time of, and in conjunction with, the Entrance Examination.

The awards are made initially for three years; their continuation after that will depend on satisfactory progress during S1 to S3 and a commitment to study Music as a main subject in school thereafter.

Applicants for these music awards may also be considered for an Academic Scholarship.


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