Independent schools

​Independent schools (sometimes called private or fee-paying schools) are privately owned and self-financing.

They are not part of the state-funded system and therefore do not receive financial support from the government.

Fees and financial help

In most cases a fee is charged to cover costs. Most schools have scholarships and bursaries available. Parents should ask for details from the school they are interested in.

Registration and inspection

All independent schools need to be registered with Scottish Ministers through the Registrar of Independent Schools. The Registrar’s office may be contacted by email (​). The Registrar:​

  • ensures that independent schools take due care over the health, welfare and education of children.
  • has responsibility for keeping the Register of Indepe​ndent Schools and for ensuring that it is open to the public.​ Also see guidance covering topics such as how to register a new independent school or apply to amend the registration of existing independent schools in Scotland.

Education Scotland publishes inspection reports giving information about the education in a school. Independent schools that have boarding facilities will also be inspected by the Care Inspectorate on a twice yearly basis.

More information on independent schools

The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) represents almost all Scotland’s independent schools. To help parents they:

  • publish a directory to provide information on choosing an independent school
  • have a detailed list of schools available on their website
  • can provide general advice to parents about choosing an independent school.