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Headmaster's Blog


One of the many small pleasures of Headship is having the opportunity to get to know so many other Heads of schools both large and small.  Often this takes the form of visiting future schools for our pupils.  This helps to build links and forge alliances which undoubtedly is of benefit to us.  As a member of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) I also have the privilege of meeting once per term with the other Heads of IAPS member schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland; this allows a connection with Heads of very similar schools.  I also meet termly with the Heads of the network of Perthshire and Fife Independent Schools (PFIS) and share thoughts concerning more local matters affecting independent schools in our area.  However, it is the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) which probably has the biggest impact upon us.  

The annual SCIS conference was held in Edinburgh last week and, at this one day affair, there was a real sense of being amongst a very supportive group of colleagues who are facing similar challenges.  A huge part of what SCIS does, other than supporting us in our day to day business of educating young people by providing staff training and legal support and advice, is to promote the sector in general and, specifically, lobby government on our behalf.  This last part is truly worth its weight in gold.  We are not blessed with a government which is able to see the manifestly vast number of enormous benefits which the independent sector provides to Scotland as a whole.  Fortunately SCIS takes the opportunity to regularly bring these to the public and the politicians’ notice. It is worth repeating some of the facts here...did you know:

  • If the independent sector was a local authority, it would be the 8th largest in the country
  • The sector provides £156m in cost savings to the state education sector each year
  • SCIS schools generate £246.6m for the public exchequer each year
  • 4.1% of pupils in Scotland are independently educated
  • £200m in means-tested financial assistance has been provided to families since 2009
  • SCIS schools employ 6,669 support and teaching staff
  • 32% of boarding pupils are from overseas providing £30m in export earnings for Scotland
  • At the last count, 29,664 pupils were being educated at 74 member schools

So please join me in giving a big thank you to SCIS for all that they do for us as they continue to fight our corner and lobby on our behalf to show the benefits of the independent sector for Scotland.

John F Gilmour

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