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Like all schools, independent schools are held to account by official bodies and are dedicated to keeping the highest standards of both education and pastoral care.   

Scotland’s independent school standards are maintained through many channels and checks, and SCIS supports them through a range of guidelines, advice and professional learning events, as well as engagement with a range of Scottish Government and other public bodies, regulators and working groups.  

In this blog, we explain the standards that independent schools must adhere to in Scotland.  


School inspections   

Independent schools are subject to a range of inspections, depending on what kind of facilities and education they offer.   

All schools are assessed by Education Scotland in the same way that state schools are. Their inspection framework respects the varying nature of independent schools in Scotland, as well as the educational philosophy of each school.   

All Education Scotland school inspection reports can be viewed here.  


Boarding schools & nurseries   

Where there is an element of care or a residential aspect, such as in boarding schools or nurseries, schools are assessed by the Care Inspectorate. In conjunction with Education Scotland, they inspect the care and welfare of boarders as well as any school nursery day-care provision. 

Both local authority and independent sector schools are subject to the Scottish Health and Social Care Standards and the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.  



Providing a safe and nurturing learning environment is of course a central concern for all schools. The safety of the school environment is maintained across Scottish independent schools through several means.   

All SCIS schools have an Anti-Bullying Policy, which sets out protocols for how bullying should be dealt with.    

SCIS supports and recommends the advice set out within the ‘Respect for All: national approach to anti-bullying’ approach. SCIS also recommends that individual schools continue developing and improving their recording and monitoring systems.  

You can find out more about how Scotland’s independent schools safeguard pupils here.  


Staff requirements  

In addition to the school staff are also subject to stringent checks and registrations to be able to work in a school environment. 

All teachers must be registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). School or house staff of independent boarding schools, plus staff of daycare or children’s services (including nurseries), must be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council if not already registered with another regulatory body.  

Governors and Directors of any school which is registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator must comply with the general and specific duties of charity trustees. In addition, while not members of public bodies, there is the expectation that trustees also follow the Code of Conduct for ethical standards in public life promoted by the Standards Commission for Scotland. 


SCIS works closely with member schools to support the highest standards of care for independent school pupils across Scotland.  

If you are considering sending your child to a Scottish independent school, SCIS can help you with your search – use ourfind a schooltool orget in touch with us today.