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George Watson`s College School
Colinton Road, EH10 5EG, UK Edinburgh
+44 (0)131 446 6000

George Watson's College

Today, George Watson's College is a fully integrated school, catering for girls and boys from Nursery through to Senior 6 on a single campus just to the south of Edinburgh's City Centre. Throughout the School's long history, there have been many changes since its foundation as a Charitable Hospital in 1741. The Hospital was the legacy of merchant and financier George Watson; today, the George Watson's Family Foundation continues this legacy, raising funds for bursary support.

In July 1870 the Merchant Company was granted powers by Parliament to reform all the hospitals under its management, and, along with the other Merchant Company Schools, George Watson's Hospital was remodelled into a day school with a continuing nucleus of Foundationers. It first opened as George Watson's College on 26 September 1870, with a roll of 1,000 pupils and Dr George Ogilvie as Headmaster. In 1871 the Merchant Company, having taken the decision to provide similar educational opportunities for girls, established George Watson's Ladies' College in Melville House (formerly home to Admiral Duncan). The boys' School was moved from Archibald Place to new buildings in Colinton Road in 1932, and on 1 October 1974 George Watson’s College and George Watson's Ladies' College were amalgamated to form one co-educational School, fully accommodated at Colinton Road since 1975.


The Nursery provides an ideal educational start for the youngest children at George Watson’s College in secure and stimulating surroundings in purpose-built accommodation. From August 2007, the Nursery will have three pre-school classes, two of which run throughout the school day, and one which operates on mornings only. The associated care service, Nursery Plus, provides high quality childcare before and after nursery and during holidays. This flexible service allows parents to choose the care sessions they need, to complement the educational time provided by the Nursery.

Each of our Nursery classes has a highly qualified staff, comprising of a teacher and nursery nurses, providing appropriate staff/pupil ratios of between 1:8 and 1:10.

From August 2007, the Nursery will have places for 64 day children and up to 24 morning nursery children. The Morning Nursery class is situated in New Myreside House and runs from 8.45am–11.45am each day. The two Day Nursery classes are situated in the Lower Primary building and operate during school hours from 8.45am–3.00pm. From August 2007 all aspects of wrap-around care for pre-school children will be provided by Nursery Plus. Our Nursery classes have a highly qualified staff of teachers and nursery nurses with a staffing ratio of 1:8. Nursery Plus also has a staff with a minimum 1:8 ratio. All our nursery services work closely together and senior promoted staff are closely involved in all aspects of Nursery provision.

Learning Through Play

In the Nursery, we aim to provide our children with an education which will be a foundation for life and which will meet the child’s needs in the Junior School. Above all, we aim to have happy, contented children who thoroughly enjoy their nursery experience.

The Nursery curriculum covers five areas of learning:

  • emotional, personal and social development
  • expressive and aesthetic development
  • physical development and movement
  • communication and language
  • knowledge and understanding of the world.

Nursery Plus

Nursery Plus provides care which is flexibly designed to meet the needs of parents by providing before and after nursery care and holiday care throughout all nursery holidays, with the exception of a two-week period over Christmas and New Year.

Based in New Myreside House, in newly converted purpose-designed accommodation just a short walk across the playground from the Nursery, Nursery Plus is designed to ensure that education and care work together. Core staff work in both the Nursery and Nursery Plus ensuring a smooth transition for the children and a transfer of relevant information. The facility provides attractive areas where the children can quietly start their day or relax and play after their busy morning or day in the Nursery.

If you would like to find out more about Nursery Plus please contact the Admissions Secretary, for a brochure. A Breakfast Club, which Nursery children can attend, operates in the Junior School. Details are available on request.


The Junior School comprises a Lower Primary, which incorporates the Nursery and P1 to P3, and an Upper Primary, which caters for P4 to P7. Our aim is to provide a secure environment, within which our pupils can grow in confidence as they progress from their early school years in the Lower Primary to the challenges of the Upper Primary, where they begin to prepare for the transition to the Senior School.

Junior School Web Pages

Learning and Teaching

Developing Learning

Broadening Horizons

Out of Hours


To find out more about the subjects we offer across our broad Senior School curriculum, visit the teaching departments to find out more about learning and teaching. Also visit our non-teaching departments for information on other support and resources available to our pupils. Outdoor education and a varied menu of extracurricular activities are an integral part of the Watson's education.

Economics and Business Studies
Food and Textile Technology
History and Modern Studies
Information Technology
Modern Languages
Physical Education
Religion and Philosophy
Student Support


At Watson's, we believe education should be a rounded set of experiences both in and out of the classroom. That is why we are so pleased to offer such a broad range of extracurricular activities. There is huge scope to get involved in orchestras, choirs, team games, solo sports and drama, not to mention a huge range of clubs representing all sorts of interests.

Click here for a full list of our Clubs and Societies.

View the Pipes and Drums subsite.

primary schools in Edinburgh, secondary schools in Edinburgh, schools in Edinburgh

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