Frequently Asked Questions

As schools that have been educating children for many years, we have welcomed lots of new families into ESMS. We know it is natural to have a lot of questions.

Our Admissions Secretaries will be happy to take your calls and answer any specific questions you might have for your family, but until then we hope some of your questions will be answered below.

Our Admissions Process

You can join the Junior School at any time from Nursery to Primary 7. Whatever age your child joins ESMS they will have the opportunity to excel. We find that the earlier children join the better they will do in every aspect of their education. It is never too early to apply to our Nursery. Many parents do so as soon as their baby is born. Places are offered by date of application, although we do give some priority to siblings and we want to make sure that we have a good balance of boys and girls. We do advise that you apply for a Nursery place as fewer places are available for entry into Primary 1. You should submit your application for Primary 1 by the November before your child starts school. If you are unable to apply in time to meet these deadlines it is always worth getting in touch, as spaces often become available due to family relocation. We are happy to receive applications for the other Year Groups of our Junior School at any time during the year before you wish your child to join us.
For children who are not at ESMS Junior School, applications for S1 should be submitted by the end of December of the year before your child starts Senior School. We are happy to receive applications for S2 and above at any time during the year prior to proposed entry. However, we would encourage you to apply early in the session prior to the proposed year of entry. Entry into S4 is only under exceptional circumstances as it isn't usually advisable to change schools during a two-year qualification. Please contact the admissions department for details of available places.
We do not have any specific entrance requirements. We simply want to ensure that we can meet your child’s needs and that your child will be able to flourish in our schools.
We announce places for Primary 1 and S1 on a date agreed with the other independent schools in Edinburgh. This is usually in mid-February. Offers for other year groups are made throughout the year on a first come first served basis.

Entrance Assessments

Our assessments for Primary 1 take place in January each year. Our assessments for Primary 2-3 are held in November. Our assessments for Primary 4-7 take place on Mondays and Fridays, from November to April each year. If you cannot arrange for your child to be assessed at these times, please get in touch so that we can try and make alternative arrangements.
Our assessments for Primary 1, 2 and 3 are carried out in a one-to-one situation with an experienced teacher. Our teachers work hard to put your child at ease and make the session fun. Throughout the assessment we play games whist looking for the acquisition of basic concepts such as colour sequencing, counting and following instructions. Motor skills are observed and children are asked to draw. Our assessments for Primary 4-7 are carried out in small groups of three, four or five children with a senior teacher who will put your child at ease. After the assessment children usually join their parents for a tour of the school by current pupils. Children are assessed in reading, spelling, writing and mathematics. For those living far away from Edinburgh, we may be able to send out entrance papers or arrange for the assessment to be administered by your child’s current school.
Our assessments for S1 are held in January. For children applying for a place higher up the school we can arrange an assessment at a time to suit your family. There are fewer places available higher up the school, so it is a good idea to get your application in as early as possible. Applications for S4 are only considered in exceptional circumstances as moving schools between S3 and S4 is rarely advisable.
Children applying for S1 are invited to come into the school along with the other S1 applicants to sit their assessment. They will be asked to complete papers in Mathematics, English and Verbal Reasoning. We know that some children may find this daunting, so we include lots of fun activities during the day that will put your child at ease and give them a taste of school life at ESMS. Our assessments for S2 and S3 are carried out on an individual basis with our Head of Admissions. They will be asked to complete papers in Mathematics, English and Verbal Reasoning. Children applying for S5 and S6 are not required to sit an entrance assessment. Instead we make our offers based on a reference and reports from your child’s current school and on their predicted exam results. We also ask that your child meets our course entry requirements for the subjects they wish to study. For those living far away from Edinburgh, we may be able to send out entrance papers or arrange for the assessment to be administered by your child’s current school.
There is no preparation required for the Assessments and we prefer that children do not prepare so we get an accurate idea of their abilities.


Means tested bursaries are available for children from Primary 7 upwards who meet our academic entry criteria and who would otherwise be unable to attend our schools. Bursaries can be awarded for up to 100% of tuition fees and the value of the bursary is determined by the financial need of the applicant. Our Bursar is always happy to discuss the bursaries available and eligibility for them.
Scholarships can also be awarded to children entering S1 upwards. They are awarded as a result of a competitive scholarship selection process. Scholarships are not means tested or used to subsidise fees, but rather are awarded and then held in trust for pupils until they complete their sixth year. This creates a sum of money that can then be used to provide benefit in the future, such as contributing towards the costs of higher education.
There is an application fee of £70 per child. Paying this fee is the final step in the online application process. We will refund the application fee if we do not offer a place to your child. A one off, non-refundable Enrolment fee of £300 per child is required at the time of enrolment. This fee is transferred to the Bursary Endowment Fund and is used to support the education of pupils for whom a place in school would otherwise be unaffordable. Each year there are a wide variety of residential and non-residential trips available to children of all ages. These trips are not normally compulsory and costs do vary. The cost of using our coach services varies according to distance and costs between £0.96 and £5.05 per journey for regular users. Individual Music Tuition costs £175.10 for ten lessons. Our wraparound care service, e-Plus, is available from £3.60 per day.

Support for Learning 

We have a dedicated Support for Learning Department to help support children with a variety of needs. Our highly qualified Support for Learning teachers work with small groups of pupils to support their personal learning needs. On occasion in the Junior School we also work with children on a one-to-one basis where it is required. In addition to traditional support for learning we also explore how technology such as iPads, Chrome books and software such as immersive readers can be used to support a child’s access to the curriculum or to allow them to demonstrate their learning more effectively. We encourage you to contact Admissions to discuss your child’s needs in more detail.

Our Admissions Process

You can find out more about the Admissions Processes in place across ESMS and meet our Admissions staff here.

Next Steps

If you feel ready to make an application to join our family of schools, you can apply online today. Simply follow the link below to complete our online application form.