St Thomas of Aquin's High School

St Thomas of Aquin's High School is a state-funded Catholic secondary school in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh.

St Thomas of Aquin's High RC School
12-20 Chalmers Street


Coordinates55.9435°N 3.1977°W / 55.9435; -3.1977
MottoSit Nobiscum Deus (God be with us)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
FounderMother Mary Agnes
HeadteacherChristopher Santini
Age11 to 18
HousesSt Andrews, St Margarets, St Patricks


St Thomas of Aquin’s College for the training of Catholic teachers was formally established in 1865 by the Sisters of Mercy. It expanded its remit and in 1886 the all-girls St Thomas of Aquin's College was established. In 1905 the Higher Grade Department of the college, where ‘Secondary Education’ was provided, was officially recognised by the then Education Department. The college retained its ‘Primary’ Department until World War II. In 1975 boys were admitted and the school was given its own catchment area in the city.[1]

The Sisters of Mercy adapted the ancient coat of arms, given to the original Order of Mercy by King James of Aragon, for the school’s badge. The school is named after Thomas Aquinas, a very influential thirteenth century philosopher and theologian.

Christopher Santini has been recently made the permanent Headteacher having been Acting Headteacher in the recent number of years.


The school is located in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh beside the original convent. The building was upgraded in 1961. In 1997 one of the main staircases collapsed. The new 750 pupil St Thomas of Aquin’s High School was opened in August 2002. It was built on the site of the old school following closure of the building in 1998 as it had become unsuitable to meet safety, security and curriculum requirements. It could also not be converted to support the integration of pupils with special needs. It was the first of Edinburgh’s £133m Smart School Initiative programme to be completed. The building won the ‘SCALA Civic Building of the Year Award’, and a ‘Designshare Award’. The building was also designed in association with the O.E.C.D. Programme for Educational Buildings, Paris.[2]


The school has a very good reputation for pupil attainment and achievement with a large proportion of its pupils excelling in SQA exams and progressing onto sustained positive destinations. St Thomas’ is recognised as an inclusive and compassionate Catholic High School which, in partnership with parents, holistically develops and enhances the life chances of its pupils.[3] It has been ranked as one of the top three public secondary schools in Edinburgh.[4]


  • Greg McHugh - actor
  • Nick Eardley - BBC Political Correspondent
  • Marie-Clair McManus Radio presenter
  • Christophe Berra - Footballer


  1. "History". St Thomas of Aquin's website. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  2. "St Thomas Aquin's School Edinburgh". Edinburgh Architecture. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  3. "Achievements". St Thomas of Aquin's website. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  4. "Best schools in Edinburgh". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
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