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Commissioned in 2016, our economic impact report looks into the operational impact of SCIS member schools and their wider contribution to the Scottish economy.

Taking into consideration SCIS’s member schools in Scotland, which in 2015/16 included over 30,000 pupils, the report looked at jobs supported, wealth generated, spending on suppliers and uniform as well as public access to facilities and bursaries within member schools.

The SCIS report, undertaken by independent economic consultancy Biggar Economics, revealed a number of key areas in which SCIS schools positively impact the economy in Scotland.

Let’s take a look at what these are…

Added value

The largest finding from the report was that SCIS independent schools generated a total of £455.7 million Gross Value Added (GVA) via direct and in direct impacts, for the Scottish economy within the 2015/16 year.  

This added value included goods and services from suppliers to independent schools and the costs associated with staff and parents with children in an independent school. The total of all the direct impact factors came to a total of £301 million which went directly into the Scottish economy. Something that SCIS and member schools are very proud of.


Scottish independent schools pride themselves on attracting the highest calibre of teaching staff working within their establishments. Across Scotland the report found that the sector supported 10,600 jobs, from full time to part time roles and included suppliers that work directly with each school thereby providing local employment.  One school alone can support several hundreds of local jobs.

Cost savings

As registered charities, all independent schools in Scotland are very aware of cost saving opportunities and wise spending. The economic impact report revealed the benefit of the sector to public finances through a number of cost savings.

This included a significant saving to the state education system for children who would have otherwise attended state schools if they had not been at an independent school – over £180 million was saved across Scotland.  Non-domestic rates paid by schools to local authorities and employment taxes on behalf of school staff were also included in the overall £246.6 million figure that contributed to public finances during 2015/16.

Local community support

Local communities are an important and valued stakeholder for each SCIS member school. Both staff and pupils come from the local area so it’s no surprise that schools want to contribute to their communities in a meaningful way.

SCIS schools often provide public access to a variety of sports and venue facilities, allowing community groups or individuals to use their amenities for a whole range of different purposes. By providing this access to facilities and opportunities, SCIS member schools provide significant cost saving options to the local council who would otherwise need to fund hire costs elsewhere.

As well as sporting facilities, many also provide a range of educational opportunities ranging from free music and art lessons to Duke of Edinburgh Award training, for local children.


Bursaries are provided by independent schools in Scotland and widens access to children whose parents would have otherwise not have taken advantage of an independent education the opportunity to experience one. The report found that in 2015/16 SCIS schools provided £29.3 million means-tested and £18.1 million non-means tested financial assistance to pupils enrolled at their schools.

Each school is different and offer multiple school fee options, by getting in touch or attending an independent school open day, parents can see if their child can benefit from an assisted place.


Although this economic impact report was completed in 2015/16, these facts and figures are largely the same across Scotland and we anticipate some of the economic impacts will have increased.  Are you interested in reading the full economic impact report?   Or do you have a question about an aspect of the report? Please get in touch.