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Today in Scotland there are 71 independent schools which educate more than 29,000 pupils, making up a remarkable 4.2% of the student population. And it is not just the Scots who see the value in independent education, the number of international students attending independent schools in Scotland has grown every year since 2020.

In this blog, we delve into the Scottish independent school sector, what sets it apart in the education system and the benefits of attending an independent school.  

A varied curriculum

Independent schools operate ‘independently’ from government interference. Unlike state schools that must adhere to the national curriculum, independent schools have the freedom to shape their prospectus and assessment methods. 

This freedom allows students to explore a wider array of subjects, from Latin to Drama, Mandarin and Advanced Higher Physics. Doing so enables pupils to expand their horizons and diversify their academic experiences. Students can even choose qualifications from different exam boards (such as the International Baccalaureate), tailoring their education to suit their interests and strengths.

Discover more about the Independent School curriculum here.

Co-curricular activities

This personalisation of education extends to co-curricular activities, which independent schools view as an integral part of the educational experience. With facilities that include state-of-the-art sports pitches and dedicated performance spaces, independent schools can offer a range of co-curricular subjects, providing students with ample opportunities to explore their interests, develop new passions and build key skills. 

By placing an emphasis on extra-curricular pastimes, the independent school sector encourages young people to become curious, well-rounded citizens, with a healthy balance between academic and personal development.  

Community involvement

Scotland’s independent schools go the extra mile when it comes to community engagement and social responsibility, actively collaborating with local charities and organisations to give students meaningful, rewarding experiences supporting the local community. 

With the ability to set their own curriculum, independent schools can identify local causes and charities to collaborate with and support. Through these experiences, students learn the value of altruism and recognise the impact they can have on their communities. It's a journey of personal growth and empowerment, shaping them into compassionate and engaged citizens.

An international community

Around 11% of independent school students in Scotland are boarders, with 40% of boarding pupils coming from 82 different countries. This unique experience provides students with the opportunity to develop independence, self-reliance, and time management skills from an early age. 

Boarding schools boast diverse student populations, fostering a multicultural environment where students can learn from their peers' diverse backgrounds and perspectives. This exposure prepares them for a globalised world and instils a sense of belonging and support within a close-knit community.

Discover the benefits of boarding here. 

A foundation for the future 

Nurturing students’ academic and personal growth, independent schools provide a strong foundation for further studies and future success. The vast majority of independent school leavers continue to higher education, with many receiving offers from exceptional universities and leading institutions.

Through tailored education and continuous student support, independent school leavers go on to thrive in careers of their choosing.

Scotland’s independent school sector offers an exceptional education experience, providing tailored curricula, enriching co-curricular activities, community involvement, boarding opportunities, and pathways to higher education.

Interested in sending your child to a Scottish independent school? Use our find a school tool or get in touch!