The Mary Erskine School
The Mary Erskine School, popularly known simply as "Mary Erskine's" or "MES" for short, is an all girls independent secondary school in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has a roll of around 700 pupils. The school was founded as a hospital school in 1694 as the Merchant Maiden Hospital by Mary Erskine and the Company of Merchants of the City of Edinburgh. In 1870, it was refounded as a day school and renamed as the Edinburgh Educational Institution For Girls. The school was renamed again to Edinburgh Ladies' College in 1889, and to its present name, the Mary Erskine School, in 1944 . The majority of its pupils live in the surrounding area ( Edinburgh, Lothian and Fife) but boarding facilities are available. The school can cope with up to 40 boarders, including boys from Stewarts Melville College. The school is non-denominational but claims to have a broadly Christian outlook. The strong community sense and balanced education are two of the school's defining features. The pupils are encouraged to participate in some of the many extra-curricular activities, such as choir, hockey club and debating. Assemblies are held once a week in the main hall. The school is linked with Stewart's Melville College (SMC) ”“ an all boys independent secondary school which is located approximately one mile (2 km) from the MES campus. Together MES and SMC have a co-educational Junior School which caters for pupils from 3 to 11 years old. The Junior School is split between the MES campus and the SMC campus. There is also a nursery school which feeds into the Junior School. Both MES and SMC are managed by the Merchant Company of Edinburgh which is also responsible for the city's George Watson's College. Although the school is single sex, many activities, although not teaching, are carried out jointly with the boys from SMC. The sixth year of the school is largely co-educational, partially as an attempt to wean the children into a mixed sex world and partially to increase the pupil roll so a wider variety of subjects may be offered.