Why Cargilfield? | Cargilfield : Scotland's First Prep School

Why Cargilfield?

These are the things that we think makes Cargilfield special but do come along to visit us to see for yourself.

A Broad and Rigorous Education

We pride ourselves on high standards of teaching and a coherent programme of learning from Nursery through to Form 8.  This is perhaps best measured by the outcomes for our pupils.

We prepare boys and girls for senior schools all over the United Kingdom, offering parents choice in Edinburgh, across Scotland and the UK. In the past five years we have sent pupils to Ampleforth, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Edinburgh Academy, Eton, Fettes, Glenalmond, Gordonstoun, Harrow, King’s Canterbury, Loretto, Marlborough, Merchiston, Oundle, Rugby, Sedbergh, Shrewsbury, Uppingham, Winchester and Wycombe Abbey.

Boys and girls are prepared for the Common Entrance or Academic Scholarship exams for their senior schools. We are proud of a 100% success rate at Common Entrance and our pupils winning an impressive number of scholarships to schools all over the UK in recent years.

Although we admit to a broad range of abilities, we believe that a combination of high expectations with good teaching in small classes (an average class size of between 14 – 16 with a maximum of 18) explains our excellent results.

We believe that a wide range of activity is essential for the development of children at Cargilfield. We play sport every day and creative activities such as music, drama, art and design are an important part of our curriculum. We also offer over 50 clubs that take place during the term, either during the day, the evening or boarding weekends. Whether it be cooking or jewellery making, climbing or archery, skiing or fencing, journalism or highland dance your child will find something to enjoy at Cargilfield.

Pastoral Care

We are a small school and we are confident that your child will be well known and confident in his or her place in our family.

Cargilfield offers a unique approach to boarding in Scotland with a level of flexibility during the week and at weekends that offers boys and girls the chance to take their first steps towards independence in a familiar and secure environment but with an activity programme that looks to extend and challenge them.

Cargilfield offers a boarding culture even for those children who prefer to remain as day pupils. Buses bring children to school from city centre and Fife and there are possibilities for a 12-hour day to support busy parents who wish to maintain a family life.

The 2011 care inspectorate graded Cargilfield at the highest possible level – excellent – for the quality of care and support at the school. The inspectors felt that one of our key strengths was “happy, confident and mature pupils who identified strongly with the school.”

An Independent Preparatory School

Cargilfield is very proud of the fact that it is one of the wholly independent schools north of the border; there are no ties to any particular senior school, preparing boys and girls for the leading independent schools across the whole of the United Kingdom.

We have strong ties with many senior schools in Edinburgh, Scotland and further afield. One of the Headmaster’s key roles is to guide parents towards a school that will best suit their children. This is a collaborative process, which takes into account what is best for the child, the family and whether there may be opportunities to extend a child with scholarships in academic work, Art and Design, Music, Drama, Sport or a combination of them all.

While this process may start when your child is aged eight or nine, it is rare that final decisions have to be made before the age of eleven, twelve or even thirteen. It allows parents sufficient time to observe the intellectual and physical growth of their child, and to select a senior school on the basis of this observation. This eliminates the mistakes that are so often made when parents choose an all-through school at a much earlier stage in a child’s development – only to realize that a school that might have suited an eight-year old or an eleven-year old does not suit that same child a few years later.

Choosing a prep school offers your child a chance to reap the benefits of a purpose-built environment and flourish as one of the oldest pupils in the school with positions of responsibility and significance. Without the influence of much older students, we can limit the influences that force children to grow up faster than we want and to develop, instead, qualities of courtesy, self-reliance and assurance.

The Best Possible Environment

Cargilfield has excellent facilities for a small school.

It combines traditional facilities such as the beautiful war memorial chapel, dining hall and playing fields with state of the art music school, changing rooms and modern classrooms. All-weather pitches, theatre, art, design centre and sports hall are heavily used to provide the wide range of activities on offer. Just as important are the cosy library, dormitories and common rooms for a school that is also our home during term time.

For 3 to 7 year olds, there is an impressive contemporary building. The Nursery overlooks landscaped gardens and there are south-facing classrooms, a modern ICT suite and a multipurpose hall leading out to an open-air theatre. An all weather sports pitch sits conveniently outside. As a smaller school, the Pre-Prep and Nursery children can also share many of the facilities of the Upper School.

The school is located on a self-contained campus some 15 minutes from Edinburgh city centre and the International Airport. We are close to the best of rural Scotland, the sandy beaches of Cramond and the culture buzz of the city.

Few city based schools are fortunate to have such extensive grounds and the benefits of such a range of up-to-date facilities on a single site. We are grateful that many years ago the decision was made to relocate the school to Barnton from Trinity; this has given us a safe, secure and beautiful location in which to teach young children.

Why Cargilfield?