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We recently spoke to Glasgow-based parent, Julie Neill, about why she chose to send her daughter to an independent school in Glasgow. Here she answers the question she asked herself at the beginning of her school search: Can I afford to send my child to private school?

There’s no doubt that investing in an independent education for your child is just that – an investment. And any big financial investment, whether it’s a house or a car, requires very careful consideration.

When my daughter was looking to study Advanced Highers that weren’t on offer at her previous school, I just automatically assumed that a private school was out of the question because I had always assumed it was prohibitively expensive. But when I started on my school search, it became very clear that that is just not true. Yes, it requires careful budgeting, but Scotland’s independent schools are much more accessible, and affordable than I first thought.

As an investment, it’s a big decision for you and your family, so here are a few things to consider:


Fees can vary depending on your location and whether you are considering boarding as an option or not, so first understand what it is that you want for your child and then do your research (all schools publish their fees on their website) and then plan your budget. Yes, we have had to sacrifice some holidays and other more luxurious items, but it is completely worth it when it comes to the education of my child.

The majority of Scotland’s independent schools are very sensitive when it comes to the sacrifices many parents make in order to afford to send their child to their school. That’s why they make it as flexible as possible and will work hard to find a payment structure that works for you. You can speak to the school Bursar or finance manager about the options that are available and work for your circumstance.


Be aware that all independent schools in Scotland offer a degree of fee assistance. Means tested bursaries are available so ensure this is part of your research. In fact, over 600 children received a free place, and one in four children received financial help with their fees, in the 2016-17 school year and this number is expected to increase year-on-year.

In order to apply for a bursary, you need to enquire a year before you hope to enrol your child. As these funds are based on your financial income, you’ll need to be prepared to complete detailed forms providing evidence of your income.

Each school will be different so check with your chosen school what their options are. Here are a few tips on applying for fee assistance:

  • If you are interested in financial assistance, make the school aware as soon as possible.
  • There will be deadlines at most schools for fee assistance so make sure you don’t miss it.
  • Prepare the documentation you need to prove your income in plenty of time and give yourself enough time to complete the application.


If you choose to send your child to an independent school, there is no denying that you will need to make some changes to your lifestyle. But with flexible payment structures and bursaries available, independent schools are much more accessible and affordable than you think.

At SCIS, we provide help and advice to all parents who are considering sending their child to an independent school in Scotland.  So, if you’re still asking yourself, can I afford to send my child to private school? Get in touch with us and we can discuss the options available to you.