Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When do applications need to be submitted by?

    For Primary 1 to S6 the closing date for applications is Friday 15 November 2019 for entry in session 2020/21.

    For entry to Preschool in August 2020, completed Preschool Application Forms should be submitted no later than 31 August 2019.

  • What happens if I miss the deadline for applications?

    If you have missed the application deadline please contact Admissions. If we can help, we will be happy to do so. Our Assessments take place from the end of November and so, depending on demand for spaces we may not be able to consider late applicants. Please also note that financial assistance is determined at this time, it is unlikely we would be able to consider an application for help with fees if received after our deadline.

  • When is your main intake?

    The main entry points are Preschool, Primary 1, Primary 6, Primary 7 and Senior 1 levels, but we are pleased to consider pupils for a limited number of places in other years.

    Year Group Number of Spaces*
    Preschool 120
    Primary 1 27
    Primary 2 – Primary 5 As and when places become available
    Primary 6 27
    Primary 7 27
    Senior 1 51
    Senior 2 As and when places become available
    Senior 3 12
    Senior 4 No entry, unless in exceptional circumstances
    Senior 5 – Senior 6 As and when places become available

    *For Application to 2020/21

  • Can I apply for Financial Assistance?

    Yes, Financial Assistance is available for children in Primary 6 to Senior 6, with priority given to those joining us at Primary 6, Primary 7 and Senior 1. To apply, tick the box on the Application Form and our Foundation Awards Manager will contact you – this is means-tested, so evidence of the income that comes into your home will be requested confidentially.

    Further information about Financial Assistance can be found here. Fees, Financial Assistance and Scholarships

  • When are the Entrance Assessments?

    We have a number of assessment days.

    Assessment for Primary 1 Saturday 11 January 2020
    Assessment for Primary 2 - Primary 6 Saturday 30 November 2019
    Primary 2 – Primary 5 As and when places become available
    Assessment for Primary 7 Friday 22 and Friday 29 November 2019
    Assessment for Senior 1 - Senior 3 Friday 10 January 2020
    Assessment for Senior 5 Friday 17 January 2020
  • What if my child cannot attend an assessment day?

    If you are unable to make the day please let Admissions know and we will do all we can to make alternative arrangements.

  • We live abroad and are looking to relocate to Edinburgh. We may not be able to attend an assessment day.

    We offer distance assessments for children applying from Primary 4 - Senior 6. Please speak to a member of Admissions for further information.

  • Why do children have to sit an entrance assessment?

    Each application is carefully considered on an individual basis. We take into account the outcome of the assessment, our observations when meeting your child and reference from your child's current school.

    The entrance assessment provides a valuable opportunity for both the School and the parents to ensure that your child is placed in an environment which is suited to their own set of abilities and needs.

    The assessment is not an exam, it is an assessment of your child's true capabilities based on their education to date. The assessments are age and stage appropriate and differ depending on the year group applying to.

    Primary 1 One-to-one interview with a member of the early years staff where they would talk together and take part in interactive games and activities.
    Primary 2 - Primary 3 One-to-one interview where children talk with the member of staff and undertake literacy and numeracy based activities
    Primary 4 – Primary 7 Children sit standardised assessment papers in both English and Mathematics. Primary 5 applicants also complete a Non-Verbal Reading Quotient assessment.

    Primary 6 and Primary 7 children are asked to participate in a short group discussion led by a teacher.
    Senior School All children applying to the Senior School are asked to complete English and Maths Papers.
    In addition: Senior 1 applicants complete a reasoning paper and participate in a group discussion.
    Senior 2 and Senior 3 applicants complete a short interview with the Principal Teacher or Year Heads to learn more about the child and their interests. Senior 3 applicants complete a Modern Language paper.
    Senior 6 pupils complete an assessment dependent on their subject choices.
  • Will my child automatically progress to Primary 1 at Watson’s from Preschool?

    The majority of our children in Preschool progress to Primary 1. However, in certain situations it may be our recommendation that your child repeats a year of our preschool education. A place will only not be offered if we believe that our school is not the right environment and your child would not be able to make suitable progress, even with the support available. Our staff will speak with you about your child’s progress throughout their Preschool year. If at any stage they have concerns about your child's progress this will be raised with you.

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

    When you complete the application form you will be asked if your child has any additional support for learning requirements. Please provide full information on pre-existing diagnosis such as an educational psychologist's report or where there is a learning or social difficulty of any kind. Once we have that information a member of our Additional Support for Learning Team will be in touch to discuss support arrangements for the assessment. They will also likely speak to your child's current school. Please be aware that any support given for the assessment will be reviewed should a place be offered at Watson’s.

  • How do you decide who is offered a place?
    • 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 connection to the school. Where this is the case these are in descending order as follows:
      1. Brother(s)/sister(s) already in the School, or who have been at the School
      2. A parent who is a former pupil of George Watson's College, George Watson's Boys' College, or George Watson's Ladies' College
      3. A grandparent or other close relative who is or was a former pupil of the above schools, or of John Watson's School
      4. A parent or grandparent who is a member of the Company of Merchants of the City of Edinburgh
  • Do you have a waiting list?

    If a child does well in the entrance assessment but we are over-subscribed, then they will be added to our waiting list. If no place becomes available then we will carry forward their application to the next academic year. The prospective pupil will then be required to sit an entrance assessment for the following year.

  • What if I have applied to more than one school?

    Edinburgh independent schools operate a common deadline for the acceptance of all applications. This means that you should not feel under pressure to accept or decline any offer before the deadline even if your child has been made an offer from more than one school. We understand that you may want to take time to make a final decision about which is the right school for your child and respect your right to do so.

    Nursery Offers posted on Monday 2 September 2019*
    Primary 1 - Primary 7 Offers posted on Thursday 1 February 2020*
    Senior 1 - Senior 6 Offers posted on Thursday 6 February 2020*

    *Dates are subject to change.

  • What do I do if I have a concern about my child's application?

    If at any stage you have questions about your child’s application please do get in touch with Admissions. You can email admissions@gwc.org.uk or call 0131 446 6005 and one of our team will be happy to help.

  • What time is the School Day
      Arrival Time Collection Time
    Preschool 8.45am - 9.00am 2.45pm - 3.00pm
    Primary 1 - Primary 3 8.40am 3.00pm
    Primary 4 - Primary 7 8.40am 3.15pm
    Senior School 8.40am 3.30pm
  • Why should I choose Preschool at Watson’s?

    From August 2020 our preschool pupils will be enjoying the new early years provision. The existing classrooms will be refurbished and we will have two further classrooms in our Lower Primary Building. The new Preschool classrooms are designed to create flexible, collaborative places to learn, and our new outdoor spaces will be a highlight of the development. We believe our children should be able to go on adventures, every day. Click here to learn more about what our Preschool could offer you.

    We would encourage a visit to our Preschool and the opportunity for you to hear more about what offer and how your child will benefit. To contact Admissions and arrange a tour complete this form.

  • Do you accept childcare vouchers?

    Yes, you can use childcare vouchers to pay for Preschool and also wrap around care and certain holiday clubs. Please contact Admissions if you would like further information about this.

  • Are you part of the Pre-School Partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council?

    From August 2020 we will no longer be part of the Pre-School Partnership. This means that places in our Preschool will no longer benefit from a subsidy from the Council from that date.

    We took this decision because the funding we would receive under the Scottish Government’s new policy to fund additional hours of early learning and childcare would not enable us to provide anything like the standard of provision that we would consider adequate for our preschool pupils. At the same time, our ability to charge parents 'top up fees', as now, is being removed.

    In November, our Preschool was rated ‘excellent’ in the areas inspected by the Care Inspectorate. The quality of care and education our preschool pupils experience is something of which we are very proud and this decision has been made to ensure that is protected. We are not willing to compromise on quality in what is such an important year in any child’s development.

    All of our preschool classes will continue to be led by a fully qualified teacher, supported by qualified early years’ practitioners, a model that would be impossible to maintain if we remain in the Partnership.

  • Do you provide wrap-around care?

    Yes we provide Breakfast Club and Afterschool club from Preschool to Primary 7 and we also offer holiday clubs for these year groups. Open to pupils who currently attend George Watson's College, we provide a flexible package of care, allowing parents to opt for the care sessions that suit their individual needs.

  • What curriculum do you offer?

    We aim to provide a secure and vibrant learning environment, where children are encouraged to work hard, and aim high. This continues through the Junior and Senior School and we work to ensure children experience a diverse and stimulating timetable combining challenging academic progression with a variety of learning experiences. Further information about our Junior School Curriculum can be found here and Senior School Curriculum here.

  • What extracurricular activities are there?

    There are a number of extracurricular activities available, a sample of which can be found in the Extracurricular Programme section.

  • What are your exam results?

    Our recent exam results are detailed in our Exam Results section.

  • Who's in charge of the school

    The School is led by the Principal, Melvyn Roffe who is supported by his Leadership Team. George Salmond is Head of Junior School and Gordon Boyd is Head of Senior School, Su Breadner is our Chief Operating Officer; our Director of Development is Karen Goodman and James Mills is the Bursar.

  • How much will fees be in 2020/21?

    Fees are agreed in June of each year by the Governing Council.

    Fees for Session 2019/20
    Day Nursery £8,922 (£2,974 per term)
    Primary 1, Primary 2 £8,490 (£2,830 per term)
    Primary 3 to Primary 7 £10,233 (£3,411 per term)
    Senior School £13,170 (£4,390 per term)
  • What other costs can I expect to pay when my child joins the school?

    Parents are expected to purchase our school uniform, sports kit and equipment. Aitken and Niven sell our uniform or our Thrift Shop, on campus, also offers a wide range of second hand uniform and sports equipment.

    We are a Bring Your Own Device school. For Junior School pupils, the School provides an iPad at no cost to parents. In Senior School parents are asked to provide their children with a Tablet device or laptop. We provide a list of recommended devices and the cost ranges from £200 - £800.

    School book lists will be provided before your child joins the school. It is expected you will provide the books required unless you are told otherwise.

    We operate a lunch swipe card system which is completely flexible, so pupils can choose to buy as much or as little as they wish. They can also bring in a packed lunch at no cost. Pricing and menus are published online for parents to view.

    The School runs buses for East Lothian, West Lothian, South Edinburgh and Peebles and prices are available on request.

    Core school sports including hockey, tennis, rugby, cricket, netball and several low cost sports including football, running, basketball, badminton, swimming are provided at no cost to parents. Other extra curricular activities and sports including horse riding and rowing may incur additional charges.

    There are a number of curricular residential trips throughout the school year which are charged separately and vary from £150 - £600. The School also offers a number of language and extra curricular trips and tours which are optional and charged in addition to school fees.

    Music Tuition is available from approximately 50 teachers in the Music Department on a wide range of musical instruments. Payment for music lessons is separate to school fees.

    Wrap around care including breakfast club is charged separately depending on when you may be using it. Further information can be found here.

  • Do you provide School buses?
    We provide school buses from various locations. A monthly fee is chargeable, the cost of which is determined by the route your child takes. We offer:
    Peebles Bus Innerleithen, Cardrona, Peebles, Eddleston, Leadburn, Penicuik, Milton Cottages
    Midlothian Bus Birkenside Terminus, Newtongrange, Eskbank, Bonnyrigg, Lasswade
    East Lothian Bus North Berwick, Dirleton, Gullane, Aberlady, Longniddry, Tranent, Musselburgh, Milton Road East, Duddingston, Niddrie Mains Road
    West Lothian Bus Livingston, Mid Calder, East Calder, Kirknewton, Newlands, Balerno, Currie
    Haymarket Bus Haymarket Station
  • Is lunch provided to pupils?

    Our school meals and snacks are prepared in-house fresh each day. Preschool children are provided with a snack and hot lunch during their day. Primary 1- Senior 6 pupils can choose from a balanced selection of sandwiches and hot main meals. Dietary restrictions are also catered for.

    We offer a card payment system for school lunches for pupils in Primary 1 to Senior 6 and parents can top this up and monitor usage online. Senior School pupils are also provided with the opportunity to enjoy breakfast before the school day and snacks after school.