Why Heriot’s?

Work hard. Be kind. Be happy.

Our unofficial motto of work hard, be kind, be happy is one of the first things our pupils learn on joining George Heriot’s School. For many, these values stand them in good stead for a lifetime.

Charitable heart

Care and respect for others sit at the very core of our community. Founder George Heriot established the school in 1628 to educate Edinburgh’s ‘faitherless bairns’. Today, the Foundation continues to provide free places for children who have lost a parent. Over 5,500 Foundationers have benefited from a fully funded Heriot’s education since  the school opened, while today the school is a recognised specialist for its work in grief support. Heriot Bursaries are available to other pupils in need of financial assistance to benefit from a Heriot’s education.

Distribute chearfullie (of kindness, of support, of generosity) is the school’s official motto. It is embroidered onto the pockets of the distinctive school blazer to remind us daily of our founder’s philanthropic vision. Within school there is a focus on giving back, with a broad voluntary service programme and charitable activity in every year group.

Academic excellence

Heriot’s is one of Scotland’s leading independent schools – and Edinburgh’s oldest (1628) – with a reputation for academic success. We celebrate hard work and achievement, yet not just in pursuit of top exam results. Every child is valued as an individual, with a unique set of abilities, needs and interests. Our focus is on developing each child’s potential in a happy, caring and stimulating environment.

Heriot’s delivers an education which leads the market and exemplifies best practice. Our curriculum is purposefully broad in content, while our SQA results place us consistently in the top three of Edinburgh schools. In terms of teaching Philosophy, schools from afar attend our best practice workshops, while our teachers contribute to the wider educational landscape as SQA markers and HMle Inspectors.

Work hard. Be kind. Be happy. It’s a simple set of values which underpin all we do.

Family community

Heriot’s welcomes children of all backgrounds from across Edinburgh and beyond at our historic city centre campus. Pupils aged 4 to 18 learn side by side, as part of one big Heriot’s family. Every child belongs to a house, while sports teams, musical events and drama performances bring together different year groups. Younger pupils are surrounded by role models; older pupils are inspired to lead by example.

An ethos of support underpins the relationship of all pupils and runs across year groups.

An active Parents’ Association (PA) supports the integration of new parents and pupils into the school. The Heriot’s PA is a well-established committee within school and runs several popular events during the school year for parents and pupils to meet and socialise. The PA also oversees the Thrift Shop for the purchase of second-hand uniform and the provision of refreshments at Saturday games sessions. They make much-appreciated donations to school periodically to help with the purchase of different infrastructure equipment and items.

Rounded citizens

Right from the start, we ask our children to read widely, discuss ideas and think for themselves. Taking part and doing well are only ever seen as good things, while individuals flourish with so many activities to try outside the classroom. Every child is supported to do their best, and many will go on to excel in their exams. All should leave as socially aware citizens with a love of learning and a confidence that will carry them far in life.

Heriot’s is an acknowledged Rights Respecting School.