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Scottish Council of Independent Schools reveals annual CENSUS results

Alison Herbert 

The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) has shared its annual CENSUS results, reporting on the figures of 71 member schools across Scotland.  

Key among the findings was an uptake in independent school pupils, increasing by 1.3% from the previous year to include a total of 29,414 children and young people 

The number of boarding pupils is also up, with a total of 2,745 pupils now boarding at SCIS schools. International boarders have greatly contributed to this uplift, jumping from 963 in 2019 to 1087 in 2022. As a result, boarders now make up 9.4% of the average independent school population.  

The rise in pupil numbers is a welcome development for the independent school sector, following a dip due to the COVID-19 pandemic and global uncertainties.  

SCIS’ CENSUS results revealed that 24.2% of families received financial assistance to attend an independent school, amounting to over £55.6 million of financial support. Moreover, 3.2% of senior school children received 100% fee assistance. 

Commenting on the findings, Alison Herbert, Deputy Director of External Relations at SCIS, said:  

“The results of the CENSUS are incredibly reassuring, and go to show the confidence the independent school sector has inspired in families across Scotland.  

“4.2% of Scottish children now attend independent schools – up from 3.9% in 2021. Having withstood the challenges caused by Covid-19 we, and our member schools, are delighted to see the number of independent school pupils outstrip pre-pandemic levels.  

“International pupils play a central role in this and their return to Scotland’s independent schools is highly welcomed. We value diversity in our schools and want to continue to see international and Scottish students alike choose a SCIS school.” 

Key findings of the CENSUS include

  • 4.2% of Scottish school children attend independent schools. 
  • 29,414 children and young people attend SCIS independent schools. 
  • Independent pupil numbers across SCIS schools have increased by 1.3%
  • 40% of boarding pupils are from 82 different countries.
  • 2745 pupils board at SCIS member schools.
  • The number of international boarders has increased year on year since 2020.
  • 24.2% of pupils receive financial help.
  • 3.2% of senior pupils receive 100% fees assistance. 

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