Boarding at Dollar

A Note From
The Rector

Our boarding community is at the very core of Dollar Academy, and it has been for over two hundred years. We are rightly proud to be the world’s oldest co-educational day and boarding school, and we like to think that we have learnt more than a thing or two about looking after our boarders over the years. As such, boarding at Dollar Academy looks and feels different to many other schools.

Please feel free to browse through the site to explore more detail about our warm and welcoming boarding houses, our beautiful location, the great range subjects on offer, and our wealth of co-curricular opportunities.

Scotland is known for its open outlook and good hospitality – I can assure you that a very warm welcome awaits all visitors to Dollar Academy. Our school has a rich heritage, and I am very proud to be the Academy’s fourteenth Rector. I hope you find this website useful and that I will have the opportunity to meet with you in person in due course.

Dollar Academy
Dollar Academy


  • What are the entry requirements?

    Entrance is by assessment for younger pupils and via interview for older pupils. All pupils will also need to provide reports from their current school. Parents are encouraged to contact the school to discuss the interests and abilities of their child. Applications are accepted at any time of the year. Scholarships and bursaries are available.

  • Are there weekly boarders?

    We have a few, but almost all of our boarding pupils are full-time. We can offer flexibility, however, as parents’ and pupils’ needs change over time.

  • When do I do my Prep (Homework) and when is bedtime?

    This depends on what year group you are in. Here is the timetable:


    JUNIOR 1 6PM – 7PM 8.30PM/9PM 
    JUNIOR II 6PM – 7PM 8.30PM/9PM 
    FORM I 6PM – 7.30PM 8.45PM/9.15PM 
    FORM II 6PM – 7.30PM 9.00PM/9.30PM 
    FORM III 6PM – 8PM 9.30PM/10PM 
    FORM IV 6PM – 8PM 9.45PM/10.15PM 
    FORM V 6PM – 8PM 10.30PM 
    FORM VI 6PM – 8PM 10.30PM 


  • What happens during Prep?

    The Houseparents and House Tutors help everyone work hard and stay organised – Prep is a really productive time in the House.

    If you’re in Junior 1 – Form II you will work downstairs in a supervised Prep Room for 60 – 90 minutes. If you’re in Form III – Form VI then you can study quietly in your own bedroom between 6pm – 8pm. Prep takes places from Monday – Thursday and on a Sunday.

    There’s always someone on hand to help you, whether it’s a Senior pupil who has previous experience of the subject, or one of the teaching staff who helps out as a House Tutor, offering 1:1 help or group support. Don’t worry if you don’t have a laptop – all of the Houses have PCs and printers, as well as WIFI.

  • What happens if I am ill?

    Your Houseparents will register you with the local health centre when you start at Dollar. If you don’t feel well, just let your Houseparents know and they will help you. All House staff are trained in dispensing medicines and most have Red Cross First Aid Training.

    If you do need to visit the doctor, then your Houseparents will organise this for you and help you get there and with any follow-up required. Most boarders maintain their own dentist at home, but if you need a dentist while you’re here then your Houseparents can help.

    We encourage you to give all medicines to staff for safe-keeping. Occasionally there may be exceptions to this, and your own requirements can be discussed confidentially with Houseparents.

  • Do I need to have a guardian in the UK?

    When a boarding pupil is admitted to Dollar Academy, we require a UK based guardian to be nominated if the parent(s)/guardian(s) lives overseas. Guardians are not required for those boarders whose main home address is in the UK.  The school can provide a list of suggested guardianship agencies if required, however we cannot make specific recommendations. Guardians can offer a point of contact in an emergency, support during term time and an alternative holiday destination for short breaks. They can be friends or relatives appointed by your family, or a professional guardianship agency.

  • Who looks after me in the boarding house?

    Being a boarder at Dollar Academy is like being in a large family. Each House has its own live-in Houseparents; significantly they are known as ‘Houseparents’, rather than House ‘masters’ or ‘mistresses’. They are assisted by House Tutors, who are teachers at the school, and several Assistant Housestaff who help with cooking, laundry and day to day care of our boarders. Older pupils support the younger ones, and there are pupil Heads and their Deputies who help to run the Houses. The Rector (Headmaster) and Deputy Rector are in overall charge and visit the Houses regularly to meet the pupils and staff. The school nursing team are also on hand should you need them.

  • Why do people choose to board at Dollar?

    Most families choose Dollar over other boarding schools because they want their children to be looked after in a large family environment. When families visit us for a tour, and meet our Houseparents, they are impressed by the comfort and homeliness of our Houses, the staff to pupil ratio and how involved our Houseparents are in the care of each boarder. Many of our families want their children to live in the countryside, in a safe, semi-rural environment rather than in a large city, but still be close to transport links.

  • What are the houses like?

    Boys and girls live in separate Houses, although they mix freely at school and can visit the other Houses. Unlike many other boarding schools, the Houses are all period houses which balance traditional charm with modern comfort and style. Seniors have their own room or share with one other, while younger pupils share with up to three others. Each boarder has their own bed, desk, wardrobe and drawers. There is plenty of storage and the rooms are all spacious and bright. There are lots of shower rooms and bathrooms, and each House has its own computer suite, living rooms and dining kitchen, as well as its own large, private garden with barbecue and patio areas.

  • What should I wear?

    During the school day, and to some events throughout the year, you need to wear your school uniform. At all other times, you are free to wear your own clothes. You need to take off your outdoor shoes when you come into the House, to help keep it clean and tidy, and you will be given a big box in the boot room to store your shoes.

  • Am I responsible for my own property?

    You will be encouraged to keep your room tidy (it will be cleaned for you each day) and take good care of your belongings. The bedrooms have lots of storage for your books and clothes, and you will also be given a lockable box to store any precious things. If you have anything really valuable, or any large amounts of money, you can give these to your Houseparents for safe keeping.

  • Can I arrange to see my friends and family?

    Of course! You can spend weekends with friends and family, providing you have two letters/emails giving you permission – one from your own parents and one from the person you would like to stay with. Your Houseparents can help you with this.

    If you have arranged for a member of your family to pick you up, it’s important that you tell your Houseparents about this. It’s also important that you sign out prior to leaving and then sign back in when you return. You should also tell a member of staff that you’re leaving and then let them know when you’re back.

  • What kind of things do we do at the weekend?

    There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at weekends! Unlike some boarding schools, there is no school on Saturday – instead many pupils choose to be involved in sports fixtures. As a boarder, you can make use of the excellent sports and recreational facilities on site at the weekends, including grass and all-weather playing surfaces, a fitness suite, swimming pool, sports halls and music rooms.

    You can also visit day pupil friends, or go into town, within reasonable limits and with permissions in place. Senior boarders are permitted to visit Edinburgh and Glasgow for the day. You will always be given safe and appropriate guidelines for your chosen activities.

    There are regular House Trips – either as a whole House or in individual year groups – and activities include going to the cinema, skiing, swimming, paintballing, theatre trips, shopping and meals out. The trips get organised termly and your parents will be notified about them. It’s a really good idea to go on as many trips as you can, as it will help to make you feel part of the boarding community. If you come up with any ideas for activities, then you can let your Houseparents know.

    Houseparents organise activities within the Houses too, such as fun days, quizzes, karaoke and movie nights. You can socialise with the boys and girls from the other Houses at events like the Christmas parties, Boarders’ Ceilidh, Book Groups, Senior Socials and Sports Weekend.

  • Can my family and friends visit me in the boarding house?

    Yes, of course! You’re allowed to have school friends visit you in the House after school and at weekends, but you should always ask for permission before they come in and ensure they sign the Visitors Book when they arrive and leave.

    If your family visit, please let the House staff know as they will make sure there’s a room free for you to have some time together – you can show them around and make them a cup of tea!

  • What do I do when I want to go out?

    Just let a member of staff know if you want to go out – they can advise on public transport or help to arrange taxis. You will need to use the signing in/out book.

  • What do I do about money?

    Any large amounts of money should be given to your Houseparents for safekeeping. Wallets should be kept in your safe when you don’t need them – your money and bank cards are your responsibility. Most older pupils operate their own bank accounts, but your Houseparents can help with this if you need. Your Houseparents can help you buy school uniform and other academic purchases, even birthday cards for family members!

  • Can I watch TV and play computer games?

    Each House has several TV rooms (split by year group) where you can watch TV, DVDs or play computer games.

  • What should I bring with me when I pack?

    Unlike some schools, we do not place a limit on the amount of personal belongings you can bring. There are some items that are considered essential, however. These are – school uniform; one large suitcase and a smaller suitcase for holidays; a school bag, rucksack or sports bag for books and equipment; toiletries; one duvet with two duvet covers; one pair of cotton fitted single sheets and two cotton pillowcases; two bath towels and one sports towel.

  • Where do I shower and clean my teeth?

    Each House has several shower rooms, which are split by year group. You are given a basket to store your toiletries in – this can be kept in your bedroom or in the shower rooms.

  • Will my birthday be celebrated?

    Of course! We enjoy celebrating birthdays during term time after Supper, with a cake, candles, and a rendition of Happy Birthday – sometimes even accompanied by bagpipes! If your family has a special treat planned for you, then just let your Houseparents know and this can be accommodated as well.

  • Can I learn to play an instrument?

    Yes – lots of our boarders are musical. There are pianos in each of the Houses which can be used for practice. You’re allowed to practise in the House either before, during, or after Prep time. If you would like to arrange tuition in a particular instrument, just ask your Houseparents to help you arrange this.

  • How can I get involved and make new friends?

    We understand that moving school can be daunting, and we are committed to ensuring everyone feels at home in Dollar as quickly as possible.

    There is a full programme of social and team building events at the start of each year and all new pupils are paired with an existing boarder of the same age to help them in the first few weeks.

    Joining co-curricular clubs is a great way to meet people and make new friends. There are over seventy co-curricular clubs to choose from. Your Houseparents will help you get all of the information you need so that you can find a club that suits your interests.

    If you are struggling to make friends, or feel homesick at any time, then talk to your Houseparents who will always help you.

  • What makes boarding at Dollar special?

    Boarders are a defining feature of life at Dollar and the school was one of the first day and boarding schools in the world to accept both boys and girls on a co-educational basis. The boarding community at Dollar is very friendly and our boarding pupils benefit from the enjoyment of living in a community of friends, whilst also having hundreds of day pupils live locally in the town, too. Boarding at Dollar provides you with the opportunity to gain confidence and independence, whilst having the support of a large team of Houseparents and House tutors who, know you very well and enable you to do their best.

  • Do we get together to discuss things?

    Yes – the Houses each have weekly Whole House Meetings to discuss matters affecting the House and discuss plans for the week ahead.

  • What do I do if I have a concern or suggestion?

    If you have a concern, you should feel free to approach any member of the House staff or your Head and Deputy Head of House (Senior boarders within each House). Within school, there are plenty of staff members who are there to help you, including the School Nurse, your Form Tutor, your Head of Year or any member of staff you trust.

  • What do I do with my laundry?

    A full laundry service is provided on-site, including mending and ironing, you just need to take your laundry to the laundry room. It will then be washed, dried and ironed, and returned to you as soon as possible – usually on the same day. Your bed linen is changed every two weeks.

    You should clearly name all of your clothing to avoid any mix ups. If you have anything that needs named, please give this to House staff who can do this for you.

  • What is the food like?

    Our catering staff cook award-winning, healthy, locally-sourced food on site every day. There are plenty of options every day, from hearty hot food to a varied salad bar. Fish and chips on a Friday lunchtime is a weekly highlight!

    You will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining hall from Monday – Friday. In addition, a snack after school (often delicious, fresh home baking) and a light supper around 8pm are provided in each House. At the weekends, meals are split between the Dining Hall and your House.

  • Can I decorate my bedroom?

    Everyone has a large pinboard in their room, which can be decorated with photos, artwork and posters. We encourage everyone to personalise these in order to help settle in and make their room feel like their own.

  • Are the classrooms easy to find?

    Our three boarding houses are all located within 200 metres of the main ‘Playfair’ building – the heart of the school campus. All new pupils are paired with an existing boarder of the same age to help them in the first few weeks.

    Dollar is a very friendly, welcoming school, and if you do get stuck, any pupil or member of staff will be able to help you. It won’t be long until you get your bearings.

  • English isn't my first language - Will I manage?

    Around half of our boarders are from outside the UK, so don’t worry if English isn’t your first language – you are not alone. Dollar has a dedicated Support for Learning department, who help several day and boarding pupils to develop their learning wherever a need is encountered or any barrier to learning is identified.

    In addition, we operate a Monday lunchtime ‘Conversation Club’ for day and boarding pupils from whom English is an additional language. This is an informal club which emphasises sharing conversations, socialising and building confidence.

  • What happens if I leave Dollar?

    We are certain that your time at Dollar will prepare you well for life beyond the classroom – whatever path you choose to take. The vast majority of our pupils go on to university. The qualifications you will gain at Dollar are internationally recognised, allowing you to apply to universities all over the world.

    We have a team of university advisors, who help our pupils to navigate the application process. Pupils who want to go on to study subjects such as medicine, law, art, dentistry, veterinary science and those who are applying to Oxford or Cambridge will be assigned to specialist advisors. You can be find out more information here:

    On leaving Dollar, you will take with you a lasting connection to the school. Our global alumni community of over 6000 people, offers you opportunities to network, socialise and nurture those valuable links to Dollar – wherever in the world you are.

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