Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Group of pupils reading in the Lower Primary Library

The Application Process is described here by means of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). 

How do I apply?

The application process, whatever stage you are considering, begins with the filling in of an application form. The section How do I apply? sets out details such as deadlines.

At which entry points can my child be considered?

The main entry points are at Nursery, Primary 1, Primary 7 and Senior 1 levels, but we are pleased to consider pupils for a limited number of places in other years.

When should I apply?

The closing date for Nursery applications is 30 AprilPlease note that this is 16 months prior to the August that you wish your child to start.

For all other year groups the closing date for applications is 30 November in the year preceding entry, but late applications are accepted, provided there are vacancies following the acceptance of places offered in February/March.

If you require further information please contact our Admissions Registrar (0131 446 6000) who will be very pleased to help you.

What happens after I send in the application form?

With the exception of the Nursery, entry is subject to assessment. However, it is important to emphasise that this process provides a valuable opportunity for both the School and the parents to ensure that pupils are placed in an environment that is suited to their own set of abilities and needs.

Each application is carefully considered on an individual basis, taking into account our observations when meeting the child, the outcome of the assessment and reference from her/his current school, where appropriate.

Will the School take into consideration my other children who may already be attending the School?

Watson's places emphasis on the importance of the family, and wherever possible admits brothers and sisters of pupils already in the School.

Is transition (Nursery to Primary 1 and Primary 7 to Senior 1) automatic?

It is normal for pupils to progress from Nursery to Primary 1 and from Primary 7 to Senior 1, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

What happens if we live a considerable distance from Edinburgh at the time of application?

If an applicant lives some distance from Edinburgh it is possible for assessment papers to be taken at his or her current school, by arrangement with the Head Teacher, for entry into P4 upwards.

Will the School ask for a report on my child?

If your child is already attending another school we will contact the Head Teacher/Guidance staff in November/December requesting a Confidential School Report.

What provision is there for my child, if English is not the first language in the family?

Pupils for whom English is an additional language may need extra help to improve their standard of written or spoken English. A specialist EAL teacher is available to support both in class and with discrete lessons.

Does the School take into consideration family connections with George Watson's College?

  1. Where connections are taken into account, these are in descending order as follows:
  2. Brother(s)/sister(s) already in the School, or who have been at the School
  3. A parent who is a former pupil of George Watson's College, George Watson's Boys' College, or George Watson's Ladies' College
  4. A grandparent or other close relative who is or was a former pupil of the above schools, or of John Watson's School
  5. A parent or grandparent who is a member of the Company of Merchants of the City of Edinburgh.

My child needs additional support for learning. Will the School take this into consideration?

Parents of applicants are requested to provide full information on pre-existing diagnoses such as a psychologist's report for a dyslexic pupil or where there is a learning or social difficulty of any kind.

Assessment of applicants with additional support needs will be undertaken with appropriate additional support eg a scribe, laptop, extra time etc depending upon the specific needs of the applicant.

If there are more applicants than places, how will the School decide on who enters the School?

  • Selection will be made on the criteria set out below:
  • Ability to cope with the curriculum at Watson's as demonstrated in entrance assessments and information from previous school(s)
  • Sibling(s) already in the School, or who have been at the School
  • Potential contribution to the extra-curricular life of the school based upon information received from references and interview
  • Other connections with the School (see above)

What will be expected of my child if he or she becomes a pupil of the School?

All pupils are required to conform to the requirements of the School and to act at all times in harmony with the School Charter and our motto, ex corde caritas - love from the heart.


Should you have any other questions please contact our Admissions Registrar (0131 446 6005) who will be happy to help.


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