Independent schools in Scotland, also known as private schools, are not funded by taxpayer money or government agencies. Even though the country’s state-sponsored school system is commendable, many expat parents still prefer to send their children to these tuition-based schools because they are generally regarded as having even higher and more consistent academic standards. Furthermore, private schools usually have fewer students per class, have first-class facilities and offer an extensive range of extra-curricular activities.
Available space at these schools can fill up fast, but admission is not necessarily limited to a specific period of time, so expat parents can try to gain entrance for their child at various points in the school year. Sometimes students must pass an examination or undertake an interview to satisfy admission requirements.
It is always worth organising tours of the schools, ideally during a school day, so that one gets a feel for the school’s approach and ethos. Some topics worth addressing include the length of the school day, extracurricular activities, class sizes, assessments and possible summer school activities.
Many schools offer taster days where the prospective pupil can experience time in class with the other children. This is a worthwhile exercise, as the child can get an idea of where they feel most comfortable.
Whatever school one chooses for their child, it is important that it meets their needs and works well logistically for the whole family. In addition, the high cost of private schools means that substantial tuition fees must be worked into the family budget.