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St George`s School for Girls
Garscube Terrace, EH12 6BG, UK Edinburgh
+44 (0)131 311 8000

All of us at St George’s are looking forward to welcoming current and prospective parents and families to our Open Morning on Saturday 27 October, from 9.30 am – 12.00 noon. This is also Futures Day 2007, when we celebrate the opportunities we are giving our children and young people, who are all our futures, and the tremendous efforts of the Futures Group and all our supporters in working to accelerate the splendid developments you will see in the school. This year the morning will have an international flavour, as we enjoy our diversity and our great range of global connections.

As we return from Half Term on Monday, we welcome back students who have been on work experience in Germany, on a classical tour in Greece, and who have been visiting schools and creating new friendships in Hong Kong and Kunming. We have partner schools in every continent but Antarctica, and we are having an expedition there this December!

Our main aim at St George’s is to prepare our girls and young women to be of independent mind and to be equipped to take their place in the world of the 21st century. They need to enjoy learning, to believe in themselves, to be sure of their own identity but ready to understand the different culture, language and beliefs of others. St George’s is a special community where this happens.

Come to see for yourself on the morning of Saturday 27 October. I am looking forward to the chance of talking to anyone who wishes to listen in the Junior School at 10.00am, in the Upper School at 10.30am and to our wonderful Old Girls Association at 11.15am. I look forward to seeing you!

Core Mission of St George’s School, Edinburgh

Trouthe and honour, fredom and courteisye

  • St George’s School exists to promote educational excellence for girls.
  • St George’s School was founded in 1888 to provide a full education for girls and to take the lead in the movement for women’s education in Scotland. It remains committed to these aspirations.
  • St George’s School aims to work in partnership with parents and to provide learning opportunities, excellent teaching and individual support for the personal, social and intellectual development of young women of independent mind, who will each be prepared according to individual talent, need and interest for:
    • University and college education and lifelong learning 
    • Adult life and work, and 
    • To make her contribution to society
  • St George’s School aims to work in partnership within Scottish education in a global context and to be open to change and improvement in every aspect of its activities as a flexible and open learning centre.
  • St George’s School aims to work in partnership with the wider community and to promote an understanding and awareness of Scotland, its culture and its international contacts.
  • Core Mission Statement
  • Aims - Learning and Teaching
  • Aims - Working Together
  • Aims - Modern School and the Community


    Early Years Philosophy

    In St George's Early Years, we aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for your child based on the recommendations in the Curriculum Framework for Children 3-5, issued by the Scottish Office.

    Play makes a powerful contribution to your child's learning and is at the heart of the Early Years curriculum at George's.

    Play is not a trivial pursuit. Play enables children to explore ideas, feelings and relationships.

    Children can take risks, make mistakes and try things out without fear of failure. Your child is at the centre of all our curriculum planning and our aim is to share with you in that planning. The staff observe the children at play in order to facilitate their further learning.

    The curriculum framework for children 3-5 supports them in the five key areas of their development:

    • Emotional, personal and social development.
    • Communication and language.
    • Knowledge and understanding of the world.
    • Expressive and aesthetic development
    • Physical development and movement.

    The curriculum is facilitated through play with a variety of resources which include a Home Corner, a Book corner, a Music corner, a Graphic table, a Tactile table, a Jigsaw table, Small world, Water, Sand, Gluing, Painting, Large construction, Woodwork.

    Language activities lay the foundations in the four strands of the English Language 5/14 Guidelines; listening, talking, reading and writing.

    Mathematical activities such as identifying patterns and sequences, shape, sorting and information handling are also setting the pattern for the Junior School curriculum.

    Problem solving encourages children to hypothesise and promotes autonomy and independent learning.

    Close relationships are fostered between the Early Years and the Junior school through shared activities involving staff and children from both departments.

    The Environment

    The Early Years environment around the campus also helps the children meet their needs in all the key areas of their development. We encourage the children to attend Assembly in the Junior School, to visit the kitchen to collect supplies for our baking and snack time; and the Robertson Music Centre is now a regular venue for our concerts, nativity play and summer graduation.

    We regularly take the children on walks within the local community and are fortunate to have the Gallery of Modern Art nearby. The children are well known at our local shops and we sometimes take the bus into town for visits to the Botanical Gardens, Chambers Street Museum or the Castle. An Early Years outing is arranged in June when the Big Nursery including parents set off to Biggar for the Purves Puppets and the Pre-School year to Cupar Deer Park.

    We use the local and surrounding areas to full potential.


    I.C.T. too, supports the curriculum framework in the Early Years at St George's. Children through working on the computer have opportunities in:-

    • Experimenting
    • Becoming familiar with computers
    • Using the mouse
    • Focusing on the screen
    • Conceptual development
    • Learning with computer activities eg. Colour / number games
    • Interacting with computers
    • Emergent writing, drawing, reading, mathematics and information handling.

    We try to incorporate computers into our play and there are endless possibilities in the house, café shop, hospital and the science corner.

    Early Years Children have opportunities to use an interactive whiteboard. The Children enjoy touching the board which helps develop their motor skills and hand eye coordination.

    Physical Development and Movement in the Pre-School Years

    "Children need space as much as they need food and air, in order to grow." (Margaret McMillan)

    Children in our Early Years have many opportunities for physical activity both inside and out. The outdoor garden area provides a scale and freedom for a type of play which is difficult to replicate indoors. Our varied resources help children to practise the skills of running, jumping, skipping, climbing, balancing, throwing and catching in a variety of contexts. Imaginative play is also encouraged during outside time and children can be observed in many problem solving activities while at this kind of play. Children are also encouraged to take care of the garden by weeding, digging, planting and watering.

    Indoors too, physical development and movement are encouraged and music ideas and feelings are expressed in regular sessions in our Junior School Hall.  Parental involvement in this area of the curriculum has always been strong in Early Years. Parents with expertise in physical education and dance come in on a weekly basis to take groups of children.

    Staff help children to understand safe practices when using small apparatus or tools such as hammers, saws and scissors. The children will also be encouraged, under careful supervision, where they wish to take small risks in extending their physical skills.

    The children also have the benefit of 2 x 40 mins sessions with our PE staff who introduce them to basic movement competence developed throught travelling, object-control and balancing. Technical, adaptable and creative tasks are undertaken to give children opportunities to practice, consolidate, extend and apply basic movement.


    Children in the Big Nursery and Pre-school years are introduced to French. This is taught by a member of the French department and continues throughout their Primary years. The emphasis is on fun and during these years they learn to:

    • enjoy singing simple French songs.
    • learn to repeat a few words such as bonjour and merci.
    • listen to Babar stories and Madeline stories.
    • engage in French singing and dancing games.
    • learn numbers 1-10.
    • learn the days of the week.
    • experience French food.


    Junior School Curriculum

    St George’s Junior School bases its curriculum on the Scottish Executive Education Department’s 5-14 Guidelines. The task of education is to satisfy the needs of the individual and society and to promote the development of knowledge and understanding, practical skills, attitudes and values. School experience between the ages of 5 and 14 should help each pupil to acquire and develop the following:-

    • Knowledge, skills and understanding in literacy and communication, numeracy and mathematical thinking;
    • Understanding and appreciation of themselves and other people and of the world about them;
    • The capacity to make creative and practical use of a variety of media to express feelings and ideas;
    • Knowledge and understanding of religion and its role in shaping society and the development of personal and social values;
    • The capacity for independent thought through enquiry, problem solving, information handling and reasoning;
    • Appreciation of the benefits of healthy living and physical fitness;
    • Positive attitudes to learning and personal fulfilment through the achievement of personal objectives.

    Using these Guidelines as a framework, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum, which is appropriate to our students and our environment.

    Areas of the Curriculum

    English Language, Mathematics, Science and Social Subjects, ICT, Religious and Moral Education, Health Education, Personal and Social Education, Modern Languages, Expressive Arts

    Group Work allows for differentiated learning, so that children progress at their own pace and are constantly challenged to achieve more.

    Project Based Investigative Work develops research skills, and problem solving encourages an independent approach to learning.

    Homework is given from an early stage. Perhaps there will be a little daily reading or writing practice in Primary 1, gradually extending to about 30 minutes of reading and written work in Primary 5. Homework is essential in developing good work habits, and in strengthening the link between home and school.

    Support for Learning is available to help support the most able as well as those with specific learning difficulties, either by providing individual help, through group work or by working with the class teacher to devise support to extend a programme of work.

    Links with other parts of school are developed at all stages. The younger primary years work closely with the Early Years and older primary students visit the Lower School. Students from the Upper School frequently visit the Junior School, through work experience opportunities or as part of whole school activities and projects.

    English Language

    Language is at the heart of children’s learning and underpins all other areas of the curriculum. Language is taught through four strands: listening, talking, reading and writing.

    Talking and listening skills are developed as children are encouraged to listen and to talk both individually and in groups. They listen to gain information, to understand what they have heard, and to respond to speakers and texts. The girls are encouraged to convey information orally and to talk about experiences, opinions and feelings, showing an awareness of audience and purpose.

    Reading is taught through phonics and the blending of sounds. Our aim is to enable the children to read fluently, with accuracy, expression and understanding, both for enjoyment and information. The students are taught to write personally, functionally and imaginatively from an early age and as the girls progress through the Junior School, attention is given to punctuation, spelling, handwriting and presentation.



    In Mathematics, girls are provided with a happy and encouraging atmosphere in which they acquire skills in number, money, measurement and learn about two and three dimensional shapes and symmetry. Throughout the primary years there is a strong emphasis on developing awareness of the number system and on mental calculation skills.

    As much of the work in Primary 1, 2 and 3 is cross-curricular, some of our mathematics activities are incorporated into projects: for instance, collecting information and displaying it as a pictogram or bar graph. Problem solving is an integral part of Mathematics throughout the Junior School as well as being a specific area of Mathematics in which the girls work individually or collectively.


    Science and Social Subjects

    The girls are given the opportunity to participate in and learn from a full range of experiences. The curriculum in science and social subjects brings together the main ways in which students learn about the world. It involves finding out about the social and physical conditions which influence, or have influenced, the lives of individuals and communities and which shape, or have been shaped by the actions, artefacts and institutions of successive generations. It provides for the study of society now, and at different times and in different places.

    To enhance these areas of the curriculum the girls go on various educational outings within Edinburgh and beyond.


    Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

    The Junior School is fully networked and girls have access from their classroom machine to both school based resources and the internet. In addition, they have regular use of our state of the art Information Centre, equipped with 12 multimedia workstations and an interactive whiteboard.

    Girls have input in ICT from both their class teacher and a specialist teacher, developing a wide range of skills which are used to enhance their work across the curriculum. In particular, the combination of collaborative and independent learning encourages them to aim for high standards in research and investigation and in oral and written presentation.


    Religious and Moral Education

    The girls study topics such as Homes and Families, Day and Night and People who Help us. They learn about Christianity, other world religions, and develop self awareness and consideration for others.


    Health Education

    Three broad themes are studied:

    • Looking after oneself
    • Relationships
    • Health and safety in the environment


    Personal and Social Education (PSE)

    The aims of Personal and Social Education involve self-awareness, regard for the needs of others and values in society. The girls are encouraged to develop an increasing responsibility for their own lives, and to work independently as well as participating effectively in a group.


    Modern Languages

    All girls in the Junior School are introduced to French as part of a language awareness programme. Activities are undertaken by a specialist French teacher and the class teacher. Regular visits from one of the school’s French Assistants contribute to enriching the teaching and learning experience. Most activities are oral, encouraging girls to develop confidence in everyday expressions. Girls and staff have the opportunity to work with the other Modern Language Assistants and Teachers through clubs and activities.


    Expressive Arts: Drama, Art and Design, Physical Education and Music

    The teaching of Expressive Arts in the Junior School is shared among class teachers and specialist staff.


    Drama activities take place in the classroom or the Junior School Hall as part of cross curricular topics, or as a performance in a class assembly. Drama provides many opportunities for collaborative group work in which children can explore attitudes, values and behaviour in a secure and supportive environment.

    Art & Design

    Art and Design always plays an important part in classroom work from Primary 1 to Primary 4, and is often integrated into a topic. Children extend their skills in drawing, painting, modelling and construction, using a variety of media and techniques. These skills are built on when girls in Primary 5 begin to work with specialist staff. They are encouraged to be aware of the visual environment and their relationship to it. They learn to consider, select and organise materials and media, and develop their knowledge of techniques, processes and skills, as well as learning to appreciate an understanding of Fine Art, through classroom based work and gallery visits.

    Physical Education

    The Physical Education curriculum in the Junior School consists of a balanced and diverse programme of activities. A stimulating and challenging environment is created, in which girls can enjoy learning a range of physical skills. Further important aims are the development of confidence, interpersonal skills and creativity, and the establishment of a positive attitude to fitness and an active, healthy life-style. The programme consists of three lessons per week for all girls in Primary 1 to Primary 5, given by specialist staff. Activities include gymnastics, dance, athletics, games and swimming.

    From Primary 1-3 most classes are held in the Junior School Hall. Girls in Primary 4-5 make use of the Sports Hall and playing fields, including the all weather pitch. The Physical Education Department is equipped with specialised games equipment to facilitate the playing of 'mini' and modified games. This ensures appropriate task-setting and maximum participation, achievement and enjoyment for all girls.


    The Aims of Music in the Junior School are Listening, Performing and Inventing.

    Positive musical activities in class carry over into our full programme of extra-curricular activities in which all girls are encouraged to participate. From Primary 1 onwards the girls enjoy working with specialist music teachers in the splendid Robertson Music Centre.

    Primary 1 has a weekly session of music and movement.

    Primary 2 and 3 attend weekly sessions exploring percussion and voice activities. They may also join a recorder group or receive string tuition.

    Primary 4 learn to play the recorder in class, and at this stage may also opt for individual instrumental tuition, which can lead to participation in a variety of ensembles.

    Primary 5 explore inventing extensively in addition to choral work. Choir, Ceilidh Band, String Groups, Recorder Group and individual lessons are all available.


    Secondary Curriculum

    The Secondary curriculum begins in Remove (P7) through to Upper 6 (S6).

    At St George's we aim

    • to provide opportunities for flexible learning around a well-balanced core of knowledge and skills
    • to provide opportunities for a variety of learning experiences in the classroom with highly qualified specialist teachers
    • to recognise the importance of students' learning outwith the school and classrooms
    • to provide courses and progression routes to enable students realise their full potential

    Details about each subject are described in the subject area. You may also wish to refer to the handbooks for Lower School, Upper 4, Fifth Form or the Sixth Form.

    Remove and Lower 4

    These years are based in the Lower School around Lansdowne House, but are taught by subject specialists for every subject.

    The curriculum continues to follow the Scottish Executive Education Department's (SEED) 5-14 Guidelines. It takes account of the breadth and balance and progression of the curriculum and fosters social and personal development. Students develop skills in Language and Commmunication, Mathematics, Science, Social and Environmental Studies, Technology, Creative and Aesthetic Arts, Physical Education and Religious and Moral Education.

    Upper Four

    Students in Upper Four continue to follow a broad and balanced curriculum. In addition, there is the opportunity to study a second Modern Language. The work becomes increasingly challenging in preparation for study in Fifth Form.

    In the second part of the year, students make choices for the subjects they will study in the Fifth Form. This is done with the support of the Guidance, Subject and Careers staff.

    Fifth Form

    Students can choose up to nine courses to study in Lower and Upper 5 (Scottish S3 and S4, English Years 9 and 10). Courses lead to qualifications in GCSE, Standard Grade, Intermediate 1 or 2 Level. Individual departments have selected their courses on the basis of content and skills most appropriate for our students.

    These courses and examinations are set by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and are equivalent to the English and Welsh Examination Boards, which offer the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) courses and examinations.

    Qualifications at Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 are equally good in terms of preparation for Higher or Advanced Subsidiary Level in the 6th form.

    All students study English, Mathematics and a Core Skills Course. The core skills course comprises Religious Education, Computing and Physical Education. Students may choose a maximum of seven other courses; students are recommended to choose at least one foreign language and at least one science subject.

    Students whose first language is not English follow a suitable curriculum devised with consultation with the Head of English for Students of Other Languages (ESOL).

    Sixth Form

    At St George's, students have an exceptional range of courses to follow. Students may choose courses from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) or English examination boards Edexcel Foundation (EDEXCEL) and Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), or a combination of both Scottish and English systems.

    Students following the Scottish system may take Intermediate 2, Higher or Advanced Higher Level courses. Students taking courses from the English examination boards may take Advanced Subsidiary or Advanced Level courses. Higher Level and the Advanced Subsidiary courses are of a similar standard, as are Advanced Higher and Advanced Level. 

    At the end of the Sixth form, Upper 6 (Scottish S6, English Year 13) students generally have either:

    • qualifications based on Intermediate 2 and/or Higher Level, possibly enhanced with some Advanced Higher or Advanced Levels,  or
    • qualifications based on Advanced Level enhanced by additional AS and/or Higher and/or Intermediate 2 Level Courses.

    Students may choose up to 5 subjects. In addition they are able to pursue, for interest or qualification, courses from the Open Learning programme. Students are also encouraged to complete the Core Skills Computing course at Higher level. 

    Students whose first language is not English follow a suitable curriculum devised after consultation with the Head of English for Students of Other Languages (ESOL).


    Homework is regularly set for all year groups. Year 6 will spend approximately 30-40 minutes each evening. This increases to approximately 1 hour each evening in Remove and 1 hour 30 minutes in Lower Four.

    Support for Learning

    Support for Learning is available to those with particular needs, individually or in small groups. We have a consultant educational psychologist who assesses to identify specific learning difficulties and advise us on our provision.

    Personal and Social Education (PSE)

    All girls in Lower School have one lesson of PSE per week with their Form Tutor. One of the aims of PSE is to ensure that girls feel accepted, valued and secure in the Lower School environment. This is achieved through looking at attitudes, prejudices, problems and coping strategies in both the context of school and the wider community. Girls are also encouraged to explore their own particular strengths and talents through regular self-assessments and to be aware of and value those of others.

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    Welcome to Houldsworth House

    The boarders have been at the heart of the St. George's community for nearly 100 years. They number 50, range in age from 9 to 18 and live in Houldsworth House, which is situated at the edge of the School grounds in the leafy suburb of Ravelston, only 20 minutes from the centre of Edinburgh. In Houldsworth we aim to create a 'home from home' environment for our boarders in which they can feel secure and be all that they can be academically, socially and emotionally.

    The Boarding Team comprises four resident members of staff, two of whom also teach. A number of other colleagues also run activities in the House and accompany girls on outings. Boarders are encouraged to invite their day girl friends for a meal or to stay overnight at weekends, just as they would at home. Led by the elected student Head of Boarding, the girls play an active part in the running of the House. They plan the week's menus, choose soft furnishings and contribute their skills and ideas to the weekly programme of all age activities, outings and events, which complements the extensive extra-curricular programme throughout the School. We very much pride ourselves on being an international community and enjoy sharing and celebrating each other's customs and festivals.

    In order to meet the needs of each individual family, it is possible to board for an occasional night as well as on a weekly or fulltime basis. We are always happy to facilitate an overnight stay during which a girl can sample life in our dynamic and upbeat boarding family.

    Reports of the January 2007 the Care Commission and the HMIe inspections of our Boarding facilities.

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