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St Margarets School Edinburgh
East Suffolk Road, EH16 5PJ, UK Edinburgh
+44 (0)131 668 1986

St Margaret's School ethos is built on the vision of its founder who was particularly interested in the development of girls as individuals. We expect our pupils to achieve by offering inspirational learning and teaching opportunities, good personal and social education and a high degree of pastoral care.
We believe in the single gender education for girls, a belief stemming from over 100 years in the field, consistently excellent academic results and the achievements of our former pupils.

The environment we create is based on ‘challenge with support for the individual’ thus encouraging pupils to enjoy learning, to take part, to build self-esteem and aspire to great heights.

We strive to provide the best possible experiences to develop the talents of each and every young person. The result is assured, articulate and responsible young women, well equipped to exploit the many opportunities our modern day society affords.

Purpose, aims & objectives

Our Purpose (Mission)

This is our reason for being and a statement to live by:

St. Margaret's school exists to educate girls in an inspirational and dynamic, yet caring and supportive environment. We aim to provide the best experiences, to develop the talents of individuals and to support them so that they can meet the challenges of later years.
The statement encapsulates our values (shared beliefs), vision (preferred future) and the intended outcomes for our pupils.

"Fortiter Vivamus" - Let us live bravely

Aim and Objectives for Pupil Learning:

To provide a challenging, yet caring and supportive, environment for learning in which each pupil is able to develop the personality, talents, mental and physical capability to achieve the highest standards of which she is capable by:

providing and organising "challenge" through a balanced core curriculum and a broad extended curriculum, so that each pupil is offered and enabled to access a wide range of opportunities for personal development and achievement;

fostering in each pupil the development of moral, ethical and spiritual values which will help them to become responsible citizens who respect tradition, culture and the environment;

enabling each pupil to access and develop skills in information and communications technology;

broadening the concept of "intelligence" and including a variety of learning styles to assist individuals to better appreciate and understand their strengths and development needs;

monitoring, assessing and recording the progress of each pupil so that realistic targets can be set and learning action planned;

providing specialist, multi-sensory supported study as appropriate, to allow each pupil of whatever ability and from whatever linguistic background to achieve success;

preparing each pupil for national tests and assessments, according to capability;

fostering international understanding to enable each pupil to understand the global context of opportunity and interaction, language and culture;

introducing the attitudes, skills and areas of understanding that will lay a foundation life-long learning, so that each pupil will be able to initiate and respond to change in herself, society and technology;

fostering creativity to develop each pupil's capacity for original ideas and action which is of value;

promoting understanding of work-related skills and attributes which will underpin targets agreed in personal development plans;

encouraging in each pupil the confidence and ability to cope with pressure, risk and failure as well as success;

promoting personal and social development through opportunity and guidance in individual decision-making, leadership, responsibility and enterprise so that each pupil can develop the requisite skills and confidence to take control of her own life;

celebrating pupil achievement of all kinds and at all levels;

advising each pupil about, and supporting her in her progression to, successive stages of education and/or career development.


At St Margaret’s, we use the term “Early Years” to describe our provision across both the 3 months to 3 years stage and the 3 years to 5 years stage. We refer to these separate but related stages as 0-3s and 3-5s, respectively and both stages are accommodated in our new Early Years provision on the ground floor of St Hilary’s House. Having our 0-3s and 3-5s as two aspects of a coordinated Early Years facility means that we can offer sensitive integration of care approaches, learning opportunities and staffing. Probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do is leave your child for the first time in the care of someone else. At whatever stage you take this decision, our aim at St Margaret’s is to help ease the step by providing an environment in which you will feel confident to leave your child and one within which your child will feel happy and secure.

0-3s (Yellow + Blue)
In St Hilary’s, our rooms have different colour-themes and the provision for the youngest children, the 0-3 stage, is located within the environment of the Yellow and Blue Rooms.

Yellow Room
The Yellow Room is where the 0-2 year olds are located. The space in that room is divided in such a way as to provide a separate “baby room” with sleep area, an enclosed outdoor courtyard and a room for 1-2 year olds. Wherever possible, the spaces are used flexibly across the 0-2 age range. The adult:child staffing ratio is 1:3 across this age range and your child will benefit from continuous staff care. This means that your infant will regularly experience time with the same staff who will come to know your child well. With the sense of security that this inspires, the very young child is encouraged in his/her progression through each stage of development. Your child will move from the “baby room” to the room for 1-2 year olds, when the staff feel that s/he is ready.

However, because of the clever use of space in the yellow room, there are many opportunities for shared learning experiences, care and staffing. Thus personal contact with familiar staff continues while each 1-2 year old is encouraged to take part in a wide variety of learning experiences: exploring texture, colour and sound through such media as paint, sand and water, glue etc. The staff spend time with each child reading stories, taking part in and talking through activities such as building brick constructions, sand play, doing puzzles or “making a cup of tea” or “doing the laundry” in the playhouse.

Blue Room
In this room, there is provision for children around 2 years and upwards, when the routine becomes a more structured one with a move towards aspects of education and more opportunities to learn. However, the emphasis continues to be on structured play with adult-directed and child-initiated opportunities throughout the day. The adult:child staffing ratio is 1:5 across this age range (2-3 year olds).
Each child is allowed to move at his/her own pace and that movement from Yellow to Blue is based on when the child is ready, rather than on designated age.


In the spirit of the school mantra “Challenge with support for the individual”, the Junior School would not wish to describe itself as a timetable, a series of days, a collection of separate individuals; it is a blend and a wholeness of itself and, as such, its curriculum has to be set in the framework of school life. Indeed, for us to succeed in our task, we have to reach beyond school life to a preparedness for life more generally.

Our approach to learning and teaching in the Junior School is child-centred and we recognise the importance of creating environments in which children are ready to learn, receptive to new ideas and confident to participate fully and express themselves openly. At St Margaret’s, the Junior School curriculum is based on the National Guidelines and is enhanced by increasing access to specialist teaching and an extended curriculum of after-school clubs, music and sports opportunities.

The School Day starts for all Junior pupils with registration at 8.35am and is followed, on two occasions each week, with Assembly. Junior School assemblies are normally on Wednesdays and Fridays and every second Friday the emphasis is on a Celebration of Achievement. Throughout school, we operate a nine-period teaching day:
J1 to J3 has a teaching day from 8.50am till 2.45pm (with a very short period 9)
J4 to J6 has a teaching day from 8.50am till 3.00pm.
Morning break happens between 10.10am and 10.30am each day and lunch occurs between 11.40am and 12.40pm on a rolling programme.

Specialist teaching sits alongside the broad and balanced teaching approaches offered by Junior School staff. In Junior 1 and 2, children have specialist teaching in Physical Education (PE), Music and a Modern Foreign Language (MFL). By Junior 3, 4 and 5 children have the additions of specialist teaching in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as well as swimming. In Junior 6, there are the further additions of specialist teaching in Science and Art & Design.


At St. Margaret’s School, we are committed to our mantra “Challenge with Support for the Individual”. On leaving School at the end of Senior 6, we want our pupils to have a broad portfolio of qualifications, with the skills, experiences and achievements that demonstrate the following attributes:

• knowledge of oneself and of the opportunities in life – and how to manage one’s own career;
• a positive attitude to life and learning with self-reliance, resilience and the ability to work with others;
• personal values such as honesty, integrity and regard for others;
• the ability to take the next steps confidently, to make decisions and to manage change.

More than 90% of our pupils go on to Higher Education (University) at the end of Senior 6, or possibly at the end of Senior 5 if their Higher Level results permit, but this is not the only departure point. Some move on to vocational courses in Further Education Colleges at the end of Senior 4 or 5 and a few go straight into work. Higher and Further education institutions and employers alike are looking for much more than good examination results – examples of broader learning and experience, good attitudes, personal values, confidence and resilience will all count. Whatever the route or the next destination, pupils should aim to become (as the Scottish Executive has recently pointed out) successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Please click on the titles below for more information on the individual subjects.

art & design biology business studies & computing
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home economics mathematics modern languages
music PE & sport physics
support for learning    

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

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