Pupil Numbers

Pupil numbers and demographic trends

SCIS Schools2010 201120122013
Total Number of Pupils 31,540 31,425 31,358 31,146
Total Number of Day Pupils 27,885 27,850 27,862 27,705
Total Number of Boarding Pupils 3,655 3,575 3,496 3,441

As at 2 September 2013 there were 31,146 pupils in independent schools in membership of SCIS. 1,722 children are in nurseries, 10,805 pupils are in primary schools and 18,619 are in senior schools. This means that the independent sector is equivalent in size to the 7th largest local authority in Scotland. 

Figures have remained stable over the past decade, which is remarkable, given the impact of the recession elsewhere, and this points to the high levels of confidence that parents have in independent schools.  Another factor is the means-tested financial assistance that independent schools distribute to widen access.

Around £35 million has been awarded consistently in recent years, to families unable to avoid the full fees – comparable to philanthropic giving in the much bigger higher education sector in Scotland.

Boarding schools have seen a recent rise in the number of enquiries, partly attributed to a new web portal at www.scotlandsboardingschools.org.uk launched by SCIS over the summer.  The site promotes Scotland as a destination for overseas students.

John Edward, SCIS Director, said, “Any parent who pays school fees will confirm the outlay is worthwhile if  their children are happy at school, and this is undoubtedly a key reason that pupil numbers in our sector have remained stable, alongside the financial assistance that schools allocate to widen access.”

See the full 2013 SCIS media release about pupil numbers, issued on 23 September 2013, here

Pupil numbers in the independent sector have remained stable over the last decade, despite recession and a decrease in Scotland's total pupil population