School Catchment Areas for City of Edinburgh

There are many reasons why people choose to move home. For some it’s because they have a baby on the way. Maybe they need more space, maybe they crave a garden or maybe they want to get their child into a good state school.

It’s very difficult to find a reliable figure of how much it costs to raise a child up to university age, however the Centre for Economics and Business Research released figures in 2014 which suggested that it could be as much as £227,266.  This figure is based on a child receiving free state education up to the age of 18 and then parents funding the child through university. Whilst university tuition fees are free in Scotland to Scottish students, it’s worth remembering that most of the cost comes from living expenses.

With the cost of raising a child being in excess of £220,000, it’s no wonder parents aim to get the best education they can for their child for free. For many people this might involve moving to a better catchment area to get their child into a certain nursery, primary or secondary school. Of course, many other parents will be having the same thoughts, resulting in property in some catchment areas being more expensive than others.

Which Catchment Area do you fall into?

So how do you find out which school catchment area you fall into? And how do you find out the catchment areas of the best state schools in Edinburgh? Go to the City of Edinburgh Council website and you’ll come to a guide which allows you to type in your postcode … et voilà! Up pop the schools your child is entitled to go to.

This map works for both primary and secondary schools.

League Tables Abolished

In the last few years league tables for schools (ranking schools by the pass grades achieved at Standard and Higher grade) have been abolished.

By doing away with any formal league tables, parents are now left to do their own research if they want to ensure their child has access to the best state schools in the city. For some, this may be frustrating as league tables were an easy way to judge educational excellence.

However, the reasoning behind this was that the league tables were unhelpful to staff, students and parents as they ranked a school based solely on its exam results. The league tables didn’t take everything the school had to offer into account such as facilities, additional support offered, pastoral care, quality of learning, culture, management and leadership and meeting pupils’ learning needs.

It’s possible to download catchment area maps from the City of Edinburgh Council website.

This way you’ll be able to see the other residential areas that feed into your local school and see where you’d have to move to if you wanted to get your child into a particular school.

The website also carries the official School Inspection Reports carried out by Education Scotland for all schools in Edinburgh. These can be found by clicking on the following link:

Good State School vs Extra-Curricular Activities

Parents also have to weigh up how much benefit moving to a good catchment area will have on their child’s education. Overstretching themselves by moving to a better, more expensive catchment area, some parents might find themselves unable to give their child the same opportunities they may have had when there was a little more disposable income within the household. This could include extra-curricular activities such as sport, dance, martial arts or Scouts and Brownies. It might also include learning opportunities such as school trips, exchanges and summer schools. It is possible that some of the money used to buy another house in a different catchment area could be spent on extra lessons to benefit a particularly bright child or assist one that needs a helping hand. Ultimately the decision is up to the parents.

A Parent’s View

Amanda Wrathall, whose daughter Kenzie is now in secondary school, explained that when her daughter was born the family moved from Carrick Knowe to Corstorphine so that Kenzie could attend a better secondary school.

“I moved before my daughter started primary school because the secondary school options didn’t appeal,” she says. “I was looking to the future.”

Amanda also has a friend who bought a house specifically with the aim of getting their child into the Royal High School, one of the best state secondary schools in Edinburgh.  

The opposite can also happen, with some people not wanting to move house because their child is already in a good school, Amanda points out. “Another friend desperately wanted to move when her marriage broke down but in the end she didn’t, simply because her daughter was in such a good primary school.”

Historical League Tables

It’s now very difficult to say definitively which is the best state school in Edinburgh. The last league tables that we have been able to find are from December 2012. Of course, an awful lot can change in seven years and your local school may be performing better, or indeed worse than it was in 2012. As a result, caution should be taken when looking at this information. The following tables include exam results from December 2012, with students achieving 3+ Highers, as well as a list of the areas that you would need to live in to be included in the catchment area.

It’s important also to note that the catchment boundaries for West and South West Edinburgh are under review. This is intended to be a rough guide so please speak to someone at the Council to clarify your catchment areas. You can email them at [email protected] or visit for more information.

School Students achieving 3+ Highers Catchment Areas
Boroughmuir High School 37 Bruntsfield, Churchill, Merchiston, Morningside, Greenbank, The Braids, Blackford, Fairmilehead
James Gillespie’s High School 33 Royal Mile, Old Town, Tollcross, South Side, West End, Fountainbridge, South Side, Marchmont, Sciennes, Newington, The Grange
St Thomas of Aquin’s Roman Catholic High School 32 Newhaven, Inverleith, Warriston, New Town, Stockbridge, Broughton, Royal Mile, Old Town, Bruntsfield, Morningside, Newington, Comiston, Colinton, Fairmilehead, Bonly, Dreghorn, Swanston, Oxgangs
Firrhill High School 22 Longstone, Oxgangs, Kingsknowe, Colinton Mains, Comiston, Dreghorn, Bonaly
The Royal High School 22 Cramond, Davidson Mains, Barnton, Silverknowes, Clermiston, Blackhall
Currie High School 21 Currie, Hermiston, Juniper Green Riccarton, Baberton Mains
Craigmount High School 21 Ratho Station, Newbridge, Corstorphine, East Craigs, West Craigs, Murrayfield, Roseburn
Balerno Community High School 18 Balerno, Ratho, Kirknewton
Broughton High School 17 Granton, Drylaw, Pilton, Inverleith, Stockbridge, Orchard Brae, Craigleith
Queensferry High School 17 Dalmeny. Queensferry, Kirkliston, Echline
Portobello High School 13 Portobello, Jocks Lodge, Joppa, Duddingston, Willowbrae, Piershill,
Holy Rood Roman Catholic School 12 Leith, Duddingston, Abbeyhill, Meadowbank, Willowbrae, Portobello, Joppa, Craigmillar, Cameron Toll, The Inch, Gilmerton, Liberton, Moredun, Mortonhall
Leith Academy 8 South Leith, Lochend, Restalrig, Craigentinny, Pilrig, Seafield
St Augustine’s Roman Catholic High School 7 Queensferry, Ratho, Ratho Station, Kirkliston, Dalmeny, Cramond, Muirhouse, Davidson Mains, Silverknowes, Clermiston, Sighthill, Gorgie, Westerhailes, Slateford, Saughton, Currie, Balerno,
Forrester High School 6 Gyle, South Gyle, Broomhouse, Sighthill, Carrick Knowe
Trinity Academy 6 Trinity, Wardie, Warriston, Newhaven, Goldenacre, North Leith
Liberton High School 4 Liberton, Prestonfield, Gilmerton, The Inch, Moredun
Tynecastle High School 4 Saughton, Gorgie, Dalry, Balgreen, Craiglockhart, Stenhouse, Slateford
Drummond Community High School 3 Bonnington, Beaverbank, Broughton, Leith Walk, Hillside, Abbeyhill, New Town, Greenside
Gracemount High School 3 Gracemount, Ellens Glen, Kaimes, Burdiehouse, Alnwickhill
Wester Hailes Education Centre 1 Sighthill, Wester Hailes, Clovestone
Castlebrae High School 0 Craigmillar, Prestonfield, Niddrie, Newcraighall, Brunstane
Craigroyston High School 0 West Pilton, Muirhouse, Craigroyston, Pilton


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