Subjects and Exam Results

The curriculum and latest exam results at The Mary Erskine School

The Mary Erskine School follows the Scottish curriculum and all girls begin by studying a broad curriculum in S1 and S2. As they move through the school they gradually narrow their focus in preparation for their public examinations and to reflect their personal preferences and aptitude.

Teachers and guidance staff are on hand to offer support and advice to girls and their parents at every stage.

S1: compulsory subjects for all
The girls study the following subjects:
English, Mathematics, Drama, Geography, French, German, Latin, History, ICT, Personal and Social Education (PSE), Physical Education (PE), Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS), Science, Art, Music, Product Design, Coding and Home Economics. All girls also take games.

S2: developing skills
Science is replaced by Biology, Chemistry and Physics and all girls continue with either French or German and choose three from French, German, Latin, Spanish or Drama. Those who receive Support for Learning will choose two rather than three of these subjects.

S3 & S4: examination subjects (National 5)
Most girls take eight examination subjects. Their choice must include English, Mathematics, at least one language, a science and a social subject (Business Management, Geography, History or Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS)). The other three subjects can be additional modern languages, additional sciences and social subjects as well as Product Design, Business Management, Health and Food Technology, Art, Music, Drama, Latin and PE.

S5: Higher level subjects
Girls choose five examination subjects including English. These are usually at Higher although some subjects are available at National 5, the examination level below Higher. PSE, Enrichment and PE are part of the curriculum for all girls. If you would like to discuss which subjects are available at S5, please call us on +44(0)131 347 5700 or email us at

S6: a pre-University year
The girls join the co-educational Sixth Form for a pre-University year. Scottish qualifications are recognised by universities as being particularly testing qualifications: A grades at Advanced Higher and Higher earn more UCAS tariff points than A grades in the equivalent A level or AS level qualifications. Find out more about the ESMS Sixth Form.

Scottish qualifications are recognised and respected throughout the UK and also internationally. ESMS students can currently be found studying from Cambridge to Maastricht and from St Andrews to North Carolina.

2021 Exam Results 

We are very proud of our exam results at The Mary Erskine School and indeed across the ESMS family of schools and believe they demonstrate the commitment and hard work of both our teachers and our students.

Qualification Pass Rate National Pass Rate 'A' Rate National 'A' Rate
S4 National 5 97.1% 85.8% 84.3% 46.7%
S5 Higher 96.7% 87.2% 83.2% 47.6%
S6 Advanced Higher 94.6% 90.3% 65.9% 51.0%

At ESMS, our success at Advanced Higher has broadened the range of courses and of top-performing Higher Education institutions in the UK available to our students.   

The performance of the girls is testament to the fact that they are excited and intellectually stimulated by what they learn at school and they can use these results as a passport to the next stage of their lives.