Subjects and Exam Results

The curriculum and latest exam results at Stewart's Melville College

Stewart's Melville College follows the Scottish curriculum and all boys begin with a broad range of subjects. As they move through the school they begin to deepen their understanding in preparation for their public exams by choosing subjects which reflect their personal preferences and skills.

Teachers and guidance staff are always at hand to offer support and advice to boys and their parents.

S1: subjects for all
English, Mathematics, Drama, Geography, French, German, Latin, History, ICT, Personal and Social Education (PSE), Physical Education (PE), Religious Education (RE), Science, Art and Design, Music, Technology, Coding and Home Economics. All boys also take games.

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

S3 & S4: examination subjects (National 5)
Most boys take eight examination subjects. Their choice must include English, Mathematics, a modern language, a science and a social science. (Economics, Geography, History or Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS). 

S5: Higher level subjects
Boys choose five examination subjects including English. These are usually at Higher level although some subjects are available at National 5, the examination level below Higher. PSE, RE and PE are part of the curriculum for all boys.

If you would like to discuss which subjects are available at S5, please call us on +44(0)131 311 1000 or email us at

S6: a pre-University year
The boys 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 Stewart's Melville College and indeed across the ESMS family of schools and believe it demonstrates the commitment and hardwork of both our teachers and our students.

Qualification Pass Rate National Pass Rate 'A' Rate National 'A' Rate
S4 National 5 94.1% 85.8% 76.1% 46.7%
S5 Higher 96.4% 87.2% 81.6% 47.6%
S6 Advanced Higher 95.2% 90.3% 67.7% 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 boys 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.