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Could your ideal school be independent and cost less than you think?

The independent school advantage; a platform for your child to flourish

We want to introduce our sons and daughters to the subjects, interests and experiences that could shape who they will become, and what they choose to do with their life. Finding the right educational environment for your child obviously has a big part to play and Scotland’s wide selection of independent schools can give you that freedom of choice and you may be surprised to learn how affordable an independent education can be.

What is a bursary?

Often called fee assistance a bursary is awarded on proven financial need and enables children from lower income families the opportunity of an independent education. Financial assistance is generally awarded from P7 through Senior School and up to 100% of the fees can be met by the school.

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is awarded as a result of a competitive scholarship selection process and can be awarded for academic ability, sport, arts or general excellence.

Scholarships vary widely between schools. Some offer fee remissions, whilst others hold funds in trust for pupils until they complete Sixth Form.

Applying for a bursary

Your child will have to meet the school's normal entry requirements. They do not have to be of the academic standard required to win a scholarship, but they may be assessed to ensure they have the ability to make solid academic progress.

Schools will want to know about all your financial circumstances, not just your take-home pay so be prepared to fill in detailed forms providing evidence of need. Each case will be looked at individually, and schools will take into account pensions, investments, the value of your property, rent or mortgage paid as well as assets and liabilities.

Applying for a scholarship

Scholarships are awarded for the most talented children and young people. Each school will have their own application procedures so visit the school’s website for more detailed information or speak to the bursar.”

How can you find out about a bursary or scholarship?

Most schools' websites and admissions materials will offer a comprehensive guide to their financial assistance process and be prepared to apply

What if your circumstances change?

Should your family circumstances change leaving you unable to meet your financial commitment to school fees the best course of action is to speak to the school Bursar. The Bursar is responsible for the financial management and business affairs of the school and they will be best placed to explain the fee assistance and help on offer.

Top tips for applying for a bursary or scholarship

  • Enquire about fee assistance about a year before you hope to enrol in the school.

  • Let the schools know as soon as possible that you are interested in financial assistance.

  • Most schools will have a deadline for applying for fee assistance so make sure you don’t miss it.

  • Make sure you leave plenty of time to complete the application and sort out any accompanying documents you may need to prove your income.

Unfortunately schools only have a finite amount of funding available and therefore not all applicants will be successful.

For more information, advice and guidance on fee assistance visit the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) website at


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