We are accepting applications for boarding and day places for Autumn 2020 entry. 

If you would like to find out more, including information about the Aided Places Scheme, please email admissions@st-marys-music-school.co.uk




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UCAS Curriculum Information

St Mary’s Music School is Scotland’s specialist music school and the Choir School of St Mary’s Cathedral.  We offer full-time education and training to talented young musicians and singers.  Entry is by audition based on musical ability and potential. 

The Senior School roll is around 60 and although we do not offer the variety of academic subjects that could be available at a mainstream secondary school, we do deliver a broad general education in the earlier years and a traditional academic programme in the senior phase.

All pupils study academic music and are presented at Cambridge iGSCE in S4,  SQA Advanced Higher in S5 and the Cambridge pre-U in S6.  In addition each pupil has timetabled practical musicianship, music lessons and personal practice.  More than half of a pupil’s timetable is devoted to music with the result that the number of other academic subjects is restricted.  In addition to academic music, a student will typically follow six National 5 courses in S4, three or four Highers in S5 and a selection of Highers and Advanced Highers in S6.

Core subjects which are offered to Advanced Higher level are:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Languages – French and German
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • Geography, History
  • Art

A course will not run unless more than one pupil wishes to study it.  Depending on pupil uptake, Italian, Latin, Modern Studies, Politics and Spanish may also be offered and arrangements might be made for a pupil to study a subject not offered here, such as an additional foreign language, outside of school.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority suggests that National 5 – Advanced Higher courses should take a nominal 240 hours to complete with 160 hours being set aside for programmed learning.  In this school, most courses are run on around 100 hours of class contact time.  Classes are very small which mitigates some of the effect of the reduced time.

Pupils follow individualised timetables and there are often pupils from different year groups in the same class.  A pupil in S5 might be working at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher across a range of subjects.

Covid 19 update for 2021

Following the closure of the school in the summer term of 2020 and the majority of the spring term of 2021, alternative provision of remote education was made. Academic lessons were held via Microsoft Teams with use of video and audio teaching. Assignments were set and marked. Individual music lessons were delivered on the Zoom platform.

During Term 1 academic lessons were delivered as normal with mitigations in place (eg social distancing and eventually mask wearing) in line with Scottish Government Guidelines. In addition, no singing or wind playing was permitted in school – all lessons in these areas were conducted via Zoom; there was no ensemble work possible in this time for these pupils. For a small number of pupils with teachers classed as vulnerable, some other instrumental lessons were held on-line. Junior school pupils were not in school for two afternoons a week, and received much of their musical tuition and other musical activities at home.

All schools in Scotland were closed for pupils for almost all of Term 2 (January – March). During this period academic and music provision was delivered remotely. As in Spring 2020, academic lessons were delivered by Microsoft Teams and instrumental lessons via Zoom. No in-person ensemble work was possible at this time, although the school made the most of technology to provide some musical activities for pupils.

Term 3 was similar to Term 1, but towards the end of session some instrumental lessons for wind players and singing were allowed with mitigations in place (in line with Scottish Government Guidelines). There was still a restriction on some ensemble work, but with more clement weather, use of outdoor space allowed some previously prohibited musical activities to take place.

The alternative certification models put in place by SQA and Cambridge International required predicted grades based on internal evidence to be submitted. This was a different process from a typical examination year and some pupils found the extended assessment period more challenging than a focused examination diet. However, the final results submitted were in line with our expectations.

Whilst the school was pleased to be able to provide continuity in education, we are aware that direct teaching time has been lost and individual circumstances may have adversely affected some pupils.


Instrumental Learning

Choir School

Saturday Music Classes


St Mary’s Music School is one of the nine specialist Music and Dance Schools the UK (and the only one in Scotland)  funded by the UK Government and providing the finest training in Britain. It is a co-educational, non-denominational specialist music school, offering a world class standard of music and academic education to musically gifted children aged 9-19 years. It is also the Choir School of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh. It attracts day and boarding pupils from across Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe and internationally. 

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St Mary's Music School Trust Ltd, Registered No: 54504
St Mary's Music School Trust Limited is a charity No. SC014611
Registered Office: Coates Hall, 25 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 5EL.