What are independent schools?

What are independent schools?

Freedom to innovate

Being responsible for their own management allows independent schools to adapt to changing circumstances and to develop expertise and resources to suit their needs. Each school has its own governing board and appoints its own staff. Teachers in the independent sector are well qualified and most are registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland. Although independent, schools in membership of SCIS benefit from collective expertise and they work together for the benefit of the sector and its pupils.

Development of each individual child's potential

Important to all independent schools is the development of each individual child’s potential. While each school has its own distinctive ethos, all work towards creating a positive learning environment that will enable children to learn without disruption. Although schools do not regard good examination results as an end in itself, pupils in the independent sector achieve a high and consistently good level of attainment. As most independent schools admit children of mixed abilities, this is a credit to the commitment of teachers and the quality of teaching. Participation in sport and co-curricular pursuits, that pupils can share with friends at school and continue to enjoy throughout their lives, is actively encouraged. As pupils grow into confident young adults, ready to make their way in the world, they learn respect for self and others and the value of service to the wider community.

Development and fundraising

Scotland’s independent schools are part of the rich tapestry[1] of the education system.  Some schools can trace their origins to the early centuries of the Scottish kingdom.  Others are the products of mercantile philanthropy in the 17th and 18th centuries, some of the classical and progressive thinking of the Enlightenment and Victorian times.  Yet more are the products of post-World War II changes in education.  All retain the same commitment to excellence, diversity and choice; whether single-sex or mixed, day or boarding, all-through or preparatory, urban or rural, comprehensive or selective.
Every school seeks to develop and maintain strong, lifelong links with their alumni and their families.  This helps sustain the life of, and engagement with, the school community but also provides a direct input into the education of current pupils, through careers advice, extra-curricular involvement or specific fundraising for large developments.  Fundraising is undertaken to support major facilities devlopments and to enhance the bursary provision of each school to enable access for pupils of all means.
See the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE) below for further details.

Independent schools in membership of SCIS are registered with the Scottish Government Schools Directorate (Registrar of Independent Schools) and are subject to inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Education (now part of Education Scotland) and the Care Inspectorate .

[1] Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell MSP - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/04/23095724