Stewart's Melville College

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Stewart's Melville College
Crest stewartsmelville.gif
Motto "Never Unprepared!"
Established 1832 (Melville College)
1855 (Daniel Stewart's College)
1972 (merger)
Type Independent day and boarding school
Principal David Gray
Location Queensferry Road
Students 740 (approx.)
Gender Male
Ages 11–18
Colours Black and red
Website Stewart's Melville College

Stewart's Melville College is an all-boys (with the exception of sixth form) boarding and day private school situated in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland. It has a roll of over 700 pupils. Some pupils board on site, but the majority live in the surrounding area and are day pupils.[1]

The school is twinned with the Mary Erskine School ("MES"), an all-girls private school approximately one mile (1.6 km) from Stewart's Melville College. Together SMC and MES have a co-educational Junior School which is split between the two campuses and caters for pupils from 3 to 12 years old. Both SMC and MES are managed by the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, which is also responsible for the co-educational George Watson's College. Both schools also share a Principal, and most extra-curricular activities, such as performing arts, are run jointly.

Pupils at Stewart's Melville mainly sit SQA exams, including Standard Grade, Intermediate 2 (almost completely replacing Standard Grade), Higher Grade and Advanced Higher Grade levels. A Level examinations can also be sat in art and music. The school will incorporate the new SQA Curriculum for Excellence as of 2013, replacing previously sat Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 exams with new National 4 & 5 qualifications. As is the case with many independent schools SMC has examination results well above the national average. Almost all pupils go on to higher education.[2]


Front of David Rhind's building of 1855 for Daniel Stewart's Hospital

Stewart's Melville College originated following the merger of two schools — Daniel Stewart's College and Melville College — in 1972 to become "Daniel Stewart's and Melville College". After the merger Melville's bright red trim replaced the dark red trim on the Daniel Stewart's blazer for general use and the red blazer of Melville College was adopted for those awarded colours.

Melville College had been founded in 1832 by Rev. Robert Cunningham. Originally named "The Edinburgh Institution for Languages and Mathematics", its name changed when the school moved to Edinburgh's Melville Street in the city's West End.

Daniel Stewart's Hospital was opened in 1855 by the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, to whom Daniel Stewart, upon his death in 1814, left a sum of money and instructions that it should be used to create a hospital for needy boys within the city. The hospital was located on the current Queensferry Road campus (designed by David Rhind). The hospital was transformed into "Daniel Stewart's College" in 1870.

The school now has in its possession a medal dated 15 July 1870 presented to a John Stewart [3] The medal was gifted to the school by a Mrs Rose Connolly of Glasgow who's birthday is coincidentally also on 15 July.

In 1974 the link with another nearby Merchant Company school, the all-girls Mary Erskine School, was formalised and The Mary Erskine and Stewart's Melville Junior School was formed. Nursery to Primary 3 are housed on the Mary Erskine campus, with Primary 4 to 7 on the Stewart's Melville campus. Today the sixth form of both schools is entirely coeducational.[4]

In 2013, Stewart's Melville was voted the Scottish Independent School of the year by the Sunday Times newspaper[5][6] and Mary Erskine School was voted the Scottish Independent School of the year in 2012.[7] In 2014 the combined Erskine Stewarts Melville school, with over 2,700 pupils,[8] claimed to be the largest independent school in Europe.[9]


The school is involved in a wide variety of sports, most of which are coached by mixture of staff from general departments as well as the PE department staff. Sports, are sectioned into winter sports and summer sports. Winter sports include Rugby Union, field hockey, and curling, whilst in summer pupils take part in athletics,[cricket] and tennis.

A number of pupils have been selected to represent district and national teams. Stewart's Melville College has thrice been Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup Under-18 rugby champions, in 1999 (in their first year of entering) and 2006. The cup was won again in 2011 defeating Edinburgh Academy 19-10 in the final. The Former Pupils Rugby club also play in Division 1 of the Scottish National Premier League.

There is also a school rugby club available to pupils and non-pupils of Stewart's Melville, named the Stew Mel Lions, although the majority of players within the club are pupils at the school. This club is for young teenagers keen on rugby and is held at the school's sports ground at Inverleith.

The development rugby squad (consisting of fourth and fifth year students) go abroad on tour every second year, with past trips to destinations including South Africa, Argentina, Chile and Australia amongst others.

"Ravelston Sports Club", a large on-site sports centre opened in 2000. The sports centre is mainly used by pupils for PE lessons and sports training, but is also open to members of the public with a monthly membership fee. Extensive rugby and cricket pitches and athletics facilities are located at the school's sports grounds in Inverleith.

Tom Fleming Centre for Performing Arts (Formerly "Performing Arts Centre")[edit]

The school's Victorian assembly hall was converted to the "Performing Arts Centre" between 2005 and 2007. This £3.5 million project,[10] was paid for in part by donations from the parents of the schools current pupils and former pupils. The Centre itself has 800 seats that fold back into the wall, providing a variety of possible configurations. Although its first usage was for the S3's Intermediate 2 English exam in April 2007, the centre was officially opened on 23 August 2007. It is also available for use by the public and is used as a venue for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[11]

On 8 October, actor John Cairney unveiled the new name for the centre, "Tom Fleming Centre for Performing Arts", named after former pupil Tom Fleming, one of Scotland's leading broadcasters.


Since 1965, the school has organised an outdoor education programme for the boys of SMC and the girls from MES in the third year. It is located in the north of Scotland at Carbisdale Castle, a historic castle which has been converted into a Youth Hostel. The trip consists of a number of outdoor activities that vary from year to year including hillwalking, orienteering, golf, kayaking, team-building activities, visits to nearby historic sites and environmental studies of the surrounding woodland. Carbisdale Castle has a plaque of the Stewart's Melville College badge in its foyer above the main door.


In the first year pupils have a form tutor who is responsible for their well-being. Each form tutor will have approximately 20 students: these students will be in the same Form Class. There is an Assistant Head Teacher who has overall responsibility for the first year.

Between Second Year and Fifth Year boys, are split into house groups. There are six different houses (named after areas of Scotland):

These houses correspond with the houses of the same names at the Mary Erskine School, and are the basis for the 'ESM Challenge'. This is a series of annual events involving both the boys and girls in each house. It covers a wide variety of school societies, ranging from the House Music Competition to the Inter-house Hockey. The competition comes to a climax on Sports Day with a 4x100m relay between each house. The winning house is then awarded a cup at the school's prizegiving ceremony.

Sixth form[edit]

When pupils enter the sixth form they are merged with the girls from the Mary Erskine School. Classes take place at both school sites, with buses operating regularly to transfer students between the two. There are approximately 240 students in a normal year group.

In sixth form students are largely independent. Students have a tutor (twinned with another at the other site) with whom they register in the morning, and who also helps them with their UCAS applications.

All members of the sixth form are prefects and are expected to help out with duties around the school sites. The maintenance of the prefect body is the responsibility of a Head Boy and a Head Girl, along with five deputy head boys and five deputy head girls.

Notable former pupils[edit]

The school maintains a Former Pupils Club, which organises social events throughout the year. There are branches throughout the UK and abroad.

War Memorial in the College grounds

Notable former pupils include:


  1. ^ "SCIS - Stewart's Melville College". 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "Academic Results & Leavers' Destinations". 2008–2009. Retrieved 9 July 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ Mrs Rose Connolly.
  4. ^ "Structure of the Schools". Retrieved 9 July 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ Macaskill, Mark (17 November 2013) Giffnock school is top of the class The Sunday Times (requires subscription), Rertieved 8 March 2014
  6. ^ Leonard, Sue (2013) Success is Catching in and out of the Classroom The Sunday Times, Retrieved 8 March 2014
  7. ^ Allardyce, Jason (17 November 2012) Mary Erskine and Boroughmuir top our schools guide The Sunday Times (requires subscription), Retrieved 8 March 2014
  8. ^ (2014) Erskine Stewarts Melville Schools Scotland's Boarding Schools, Scottish Council of Independent Schools, Retrieved 8 March 2014
  9. ^ (2014) Erskine Stewart's Melville School The Tatler Schools Guide 2014, retrieved 8 March 2014
  10. ^ "Performing Arts Centre". 
  11. ^ "Performing Arts Centre Stewart's Melville College". 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2010. [dead link]
  12. ^ a b The Herald (28 February 2008). "How charitable status boosted income of private schools". Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  13. ^ a b The Scotsman (11 September 2010). "Top private school expels four teenage boys caught with cannabis". Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: Drugs shame of four boys thrown out of top school". 2010-09-11. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  15. ^ " - Sir William Russell Flint Biography". Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "David Florence - Education". Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  17. ^ "Edinphoto - Daniel Stewart's College". 16 August 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  18. ^ "BBC Press Office - Kheredine Idessane Biography". August 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^ Aidan Smith. "Natural born thriller: Philip Kerr interview". The Scotsman. 
  20. ^ David McCall playing in the Scottish Hydro Electric Cup Final at Murrayfield
  21. ^ "International Ski Federation (FIS) Biography - Finlay Mickel". Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  22. ^ "Rugby in Asia - Doddie Weir". Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  23. ^ "BBC - A Sporting Nation - David Wilkie wins gold in Montreal 1976". Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57588. p. 3374. 18 March 2005. Retrieved 15 October 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°57′N 3°13′W / 55.950°N 3.217°W / 55.950; -3.217