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A Closer Look: Review of St Leonards School, St Andrews

St Leonards school St Andrews

Headmaster - Mr Simon Brian 

Location – St Leonards School, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, KY16 9QJ 

Nearest airports – Dundee (20 minutes), Edinburgh (1 hour)

Both have flights to London airports to connect internationally or there are direct flights to some parts of Europe and the UAE. 

Train to London – Leuchars Railway Station (15 minutes from school) to Edinburgh Station, then East Coast Mainline has fast trains to London King’s Cross 


Co-educational Junior (age 5-11) and Senior School (age 12-18).  

Around 50:50 ratio boys and girls. 

Day from age 5. Flexi, weekly and full boarding from years 6 to 13 (ages 10-18) 

Pupil numbers are around 570, with about 155 boarders. 

Pupils are mainly Scottish students with extensive bus routes daily to major towns and cities in the surrounding area and around a third are international students.


Exams studied - GCSE, one year IGCSE, and IB Diploma in Sixth Form. 


Enviable Location:

If you are a seaside or a golf lover, it’s hard not to be mesmerised by the location of St Leonards. Nestled within the historic walls of St Andrews, the campus is adorned with sprawling gardens, sports pitches, and an AstroTurf, creating a secure and navigable environment. Every corner of the school, from classrooms to boarding houses, offers breathtaking views of the beach and the sea, enhancing the overall allure.

The proximity of the town adds to the appeal, with its quaint charm and convenient accessibility. Despite its small size, St Andrews provides a sense of safety and tranquillity, allowing pupils to enjoy privacy within the school grounds while being just a short stroll away from shops, cafes, and other amenities for those who prefer the vibrancy of town life.

The rich history of the town permeates the school campus, offering glimpses into the past at every turn. Visitors can explore Mary, Queen of Scots' bedroom, tucked away in the library, or stroll across the grass lawn where the first game of lacrosse was purportedly played. Even the Queen Mother's former bathroom, now a visitor's restroom, serves as a reminder of the prestigious lineage intertwined with the school's heritage. And of course, the legendary "Old Course," revered worldwide as the 'Home of Golf' and the birthplace of the St Andrews Links, which stands as a testament to St Andrews' illustrious sporting tradition.

While St Leonards prides itself on delivering a contemporary educational experience marked by strong leadership, innovative teaching methods, and state-of-the-art facilities, it also pays homage to its historic roots. Traditional buildings and architectural marvels abound, ensuring that those yearning for the nostalgic ambiance reminiscent of "Hogwarts" will find solace within its hallowed halls.


The Ambiance:

At St Leonards, a clear and purposeful atmosphere permeates the daily life of its students. Pupils wear uniform up to Year 11 and smart, business-like suit for sixth formers, reflecting the school’s commitment to professionalism and preparation for the future.

Walking around the school, all pupils were happy and engaged with their learning. Relationships between children and teachers appeared respectful and well-mannered. One small thing I noticed when walking around the school was the lack of phones being carried by children, or televisions in the boarding houses. Children were busy chatting to one another, instead of looking at their phones, and the boarding houses look to have such a busy weekly schedule of either work, or activities outside the academic, indicating that there is little time for TV. A refreshing and welcome observation in the current technology obsessed age in which we now live.  

Education Consultants at Scottish Schools

Academic Offerings: 

St Leonards offers a wide range of traditional subjects typical of a British boarding school, extending up to GCSE level. While maintaining a semblance of tradition, the school's classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboard technology that enhances learning experiences. Additionally, students bring their own laptops, promoting digital fluency.

Dedicated to fostering creativity and artistic expression, the school allocates a separate building for art, textiles, and other creative disciplines. These subjects enjoy significant popularity among pupils, evident in the remarkable exhibitions showcasing exemplary work. This commitment to nurturing artistic talent underscores the school's holistic approach to education, ensuring students receive opportunities for creative exploration and expression.


Sixth Form: 

St Leonards distinguishes itself in Sixth Form education through its International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme, a cornerstone of academic rigor and global perspective. Pupils in Years 12 and 13 embark on a comprehensive IB journey, where they delve into a diverse range of subjects tailored to their interests and aspirations.

Notably for international pupils, the school offers the flexibility for pupils to pursue IB courses in their own languages, such as Japanese, a unique feature uncommon in many British boarding schools. Furthermore, students have the option to select English as a second language, beyond the traditional offerings of French or Spanish.

The school's commitment to holistic development extends to its robust Careers Programme intricately linked with the IB curriculum. Through a plethora of opportunities and guidance embedded in daily activities, students cultivate a strong sense of community engagement and altruism, contributing to their overall personal growth. Every Sixth Form pupil receives personalised guidance and support, charting a clear pathway towards their desired university, academic discipline, and career trajectory. This tailored approach ensures that each student is empowered to excel academically, socially, and professionally, equipping them for success beyond the classroom walls.


The Library:

Nestled within a historic building, St Leonards library stands out as one of the most inviting spaces among boarding schools. Its unique layout, featuring a labyrinth of interconnected rooms with vaulted stone ceilings, creates a cosy and intimate atmosphere perfect for quiet study and contemplation. Pupils can easily find secluded corners to immerse themselves in books or collaborate with peers in small groups, fostering a conducive environment for focused homework and exam preparation.

The library's upper floor offers larger, brighter rooms while maintaining the tranquil ambiance synonymous with a place dedicated to quietude and intellectual pursuit. Here, students can engage in deep reading sessions or engage in private study without distractions.

The librarian plays a pivotal role in supporting students' academic journeys, offering guidance on developing confidence and honing effective revision and study skills. This assistance ensures that students not only access a vast array of resources but also learn essential strategies to help with their confidence and effectiveness with revision and independent learning. The library thus emerges as a sanctuary where students can cultivate a love for learning, enhance their scholarly capabilities, and find solace in the midst of their educational pursuits.


Boarding Excellence: 

St Leonards boarding facilities have recently undergone a revitalising refurbishment, resulting in three welcoming and spacious stone houses nestled in the heart of the school campus. Each house is meticulously designed to evoke a homely ambiance, offering a comfortable and bright environment for pupils.

The boarding houses cater to different age groups, ensuring tailored experiences for each cohort. The co-educational house accommodates students from Years 6 to 10, fostering a diverse and inclusive living environment with approximately 45 students. Separate girls' and boys' houses for Years 11 to 13 provide focused support and camaraderie, accommodating around 63 and 47 pupils, respectively.

Central to each boarding house community is a well-equipped, inviting kitchen with a large island and spacious dining areas, facilitating communal meals and weekend gatherings. Common areas feature large sitting rooms with cosy sofas and recreational games like table tennis and table football, promoting social interactions and relaxation.

Accommodation arrangements cater to various preferences, with modern and generously sized single, twin, and quad rooms.

The boarding week at St Leonards is structured yet vibrant, offering a balanced mix of academic pursuits, dedicated prep time, and engaging activities such as sports, music, and creative endeavours. Regular assessments and tutor meetings ensure individualised support and academic progress tracking, fostering a nurturing and supportive environment where each student can thrive academically and socially within their boarding community.


Athletic Pursuits:

St Leonards embraces a "sport for all" ethos, offering a comprehensive Physical Education (PE) curriculum that encompasses a wide range of major sports. Pupils engage in football, rugby, tennis, rounders, netball, hockey, lacrosse, cricket, swimming, cross country, golf, athletics and more, ensuring exposure to various team-based and individual sports disciplines. Additionally, activities such as judo, gymnastics, and dance further enrich the experience, promoting physical fitness and skill development across different domains.

Located near the coast, St Leonards leverages its proximity to offer popular water sports like sailing, paddle boarding, and kayaking, tapping into the region’s aquatic resources for exciting outdoor adventures.



The recently refurbished Auditorium stands as a testament to the school’s commitment to musical excellence, providing a versatile and well-equipped space for performances, rehearsals, and gatherings. This hall serves not only as a stage for showcasing musical talents but also as a hub for fostering a sense of unity and togetherness among students, staff, and families.

Pupils at St Leonards have ample opportunities to explore their musical passions, whether through instrumental ensembles, vocal groups, or solo performances. The school's strong musical tradition is evident in the regular concerts, recitals, and musical showcases that highlight the talents and dedication of its musicians.

With dedicated music teachers and access to a range of musical instruments and resources, students can hone their skills, express their creativity, and develop a lifelong appreciation for music. The inclusive and supportive music program at St Leonards not only nurtures individual talents but also cultivates a shared love for music that resonates throughout the school community.


Golf Academy at St Leonards: 

The Golf Academy at St Leonards has established itself as a premier destination for aspiring golfers, attracting a growing number of participants each year, now exceeding well over 100 pupils. This acclaimed programme offers a comprehensive and cutting-edge approach to golf training, centred around top-notch coaching and access to state-of-the-art facilities located at the St Andrews Links Golf Academy, adjacent to the iconic Old Course in St Andrews.

Catering to golfers of all skill levels, from beginners to those aiming for exceptional mastery, the academy provides personalised instruction and support to nurture each student's golfing journey. As students' progress and demonstrate proficiency in technique and handicap, they gain privileges to play on the numerous renowned golf courses scattered around St Andrews, further enhancing their practical experience and game development.

The success of the Golf Academy is reflected in the achievements of its students, many of whom excel in competitive golf and pursue opportunities beyond St Leonards. A notable pathway for these talented individuals is pursuing higher education in the United States, leveraging their golf skills while continuing their academic pursuits. Additionally, strong ties with the University of St Andrews provide avenues for students to access shared facilities, fostering a seamless transition for those continuing their golf development and academic journey at this prestigious university.

In Conclusion; St Leonards School St Andrews:

For families considering a boarding school education in the UK and nurturing a passion for golf in their child, St Leonards School in St Andrews stands as an indispensable destination worth exploring.

With its rich heritage, commitment to academic excellence, and a thriving Golf Academy that sets industry standards, St Leonards offers a holistic educational experience that blends traditional values with modern innovations. The school’s idyllic location within the historic town of St Andrews provides not just a scenic backdrop but also access to world-class golfing facilities and coaching at the renowned Links Golf Academy, adjacent to the iconic Old Course.

Beyond golf, St Leonards boasts comprehensive academic programmes, strong pastoral support, and a vibrant community ethos that fosters personal growth, character development, and academic achievement. The school's dedication to nurturing well-rounded individuals is evident in its diverse extracurricular offerings, supportive boarding environment, and strong ties with esteemed universities and institutions.

A visit to St Leonards offers a firsthand glimpse into a dynamic educational environment where students are empowered to pursue their passions, excel academically, and build lifelong skills and friendships. Whether your child dreams of mastering the greens or seeking a well-rounded education grounded in tradition and innovation, St Leonards School promises a transformative journey towards personal and academic success.


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Boarding School Advice:

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