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Performance Rugby in an Academic Environment

Published Thursday 29th of November 2012 11:21:47 AM

Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, was last week listed as the Top Scottish Independent School GCSE/A level by Sunday Times Parent Power 2012*. The School is absolutely delighted to be given this accolade. In a week where two Merchiston rugby teams have progressed to the Scottish Schools' cup Finals, the School has once again shown that their boys are outstanding on the field�

* 61 Merchistonians have played at full International level, with 3 going on to play for the British Lions and 5 participating in Rugby World Cups
* Recent Merchistonians are now in the world of professional rugby playing on IRB Sevens Circuit, in the Aviva Premiership, RaboPro12 League or representing Scotland at Under 20 Level
* 63 Schoolboy Internationalists
* 5 times Scottish Schools' Cup Winners
* Extensive fixture list covers length and breadth of UK, including Rosslyn Park Sevens
* Experienced and qualified coaching staff

..and off the Field

* Highest number of A and A* awards in Scotland at A level 2012
* 100% pass rate at A level 2012
* 32% of pupils achieved a clean sweep of A* and A grades at A level 2012
* 56% gained A level grades A*/A 2012
* 20% of pupils achieved a clean sweep of A* and A grades at GCSE 2012
* 67% A*/A pass rate at GCSE 2012
* Over the last five years, over 85% of boys gained entry to their University of first choice, and more than 30 boys have been accepted into Oxford or Cambridge

The Headmaster is delighted with the achievements this week and writes:

'I am delighted that the boys and staff have been recognized for their hard work and effort in being given this accolade from the Sunday Times Parent Power. For some pupils, the Merchiston journey stretches from the age of 8 to 18; others join us at later points in their schooling. Every pupil who comes to Merchiston sits an entrance test but this does not mean that we are an ultra selective school. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is to us that our first aim, namely that our pupils achieve the highest possible academic standards, is not just an aspiration but a reality.

It is important to remember that every pupil has the equivalent of his 'Oxford' or 'Cambridge' within him. What really matters is that a mood of celebration and a sense of triumph are shared equally among the boys including those who have found the academic path more challenging. We are very pleased that once again, Merchiston's real academic strength has been underlined at every level and its position within Scotland and the United Kingdom as a leading academic school confirmed.

It is truly is remarkable that this news comes in a week where our U16 and U18 rugby teams have progressed to the finals of the Scottish Schools' Cup! The Merchiston community is greatly looking forward to these matches which will be played at Murrayfield on Thursday'

Merchiston is unique in Scotland (and, indeed, north of the Home Counties) as a boys' boarding school with day pupils within it. We have strong and effective approaches to develop each boy's personal achievements and boast an impressive record of helping boys excel far beyond their expected results at GCSE and A level. Our academic record is excellent and we are consistently in the top flight of independent schools in the UK. Pupils' applications to the most prestigious colleges, within the UK and abroad, continue to meet with success.

James Dixon, Deputy Head Academic, comments:
'In common with several Scottish schools, we use the GCSE and A level system of examinations. Merchiston's academic departments promote an atmosphere of intellectual rigour and they enhance our pupils' performance by implementing teaching strategies explicitly designed to nurture the needs of boys. It is remarkable that the boys are able so often to exceed expectations at GCSE, and then to raise their performance still further at A level. I am convinced that the shared commitment of the boys to their collective success is a major factor in their achievement and each boy is helped by their tutor to set their own personal target and to work towards it.'

Merchiston's sporting programme plays an extremely important role in School life and the team of staff works hard to achieve excellence within a sport for all philosophy offering training and competition in over 20 sports. At present, the School has internationalists in: rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, shooting, table tennis and modern pentathlon.

Our main objective is to motivate pupils to try their hardest and to strive to achieve the highest levels possible in all areas - firstly, academic, then cultural, sporting, leadership and simply living together as part of a community. The modern way of life at Merchiston is therefore busy and exacting and we seek to maintain the delicate balance of priorities within and outwith the classroom. However, whilst revelling in the excellence of the sporting, musical and numerous other activities, we continue to emphasise the primacy of academic work, which is at the heart of the total curriculum.

Pastoral care underpins all aspects of Merchiston, for if the boys are not looked after, they cannot perform. Essentially, whilst we are concentrating on the academic platform of each boy alongside the importance of co-curricular activities, we also try to focus on developing boys who have a sense of values.

We are wholly committed to nurturing each boy's talents and believe passionately in recognising the importance of the learning and teaching of boys. Our results show that what we do works.
'A balanced curriculum, excellent pastoral care and a high A level pass rate make Merchiston one of the UK's leading independent schools.'
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