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Tuition fees consistently lowermost

8th January, 2020


It is not often one is proud to come 35th. However, in a recent breakdown of tuition fees for 35 independent schools in Scotland by the The Scotsman, we are happy with our position.


There are over 100 independent schools in Scotland; yet with annual headlines such as ‘Private school fees 2020: the cost of sending your child to an independent school in Scotland‘ Edinburgh Steiner School is consistently included in the list of schools, with tuition fees that are the lowest in the country for a full year.


Steiner schools have always been rooted in ideals of social inclusion. With no public funding, we endeavour to set our fees so as to be financially viable. It has long been an ambition of the School that access to a Steiner education should not depend solely on the ability to pay. This ethos is supported by our Bursary and Hardship Funds.


Each year the Trustees distribute a percentage of the previous financial year’s net fee income for the forthcoming session. This is in the form of 5% for Bursaries, open to both new and current pupils; and 1% to support the Family Support Fund, providing financial support to families who have been in the school for a year or more.


We are a small but socially conscious school. Expenditure per secondary school pupil by the State in Edinburgh  – educating 4 in 5 secondary pupils – is £6,252 (£6,806 across Scotland, Biggar Economics Report, Dec 2018), compared to Edinburgh Steiner School fees for a child aged 14- to 18-years old at £8,336 in the same academic year (2017/18), educating 3% of the independent sector in Edinburgh.


According to SCIS figures for 2020, 4% of pupils in Scotland are educated by the 71 SCIS-member independent schools. The figure is significantly higher in Edinburgh. The Biggar Economics report (dated pre covid) noted the 11 independent schools in the Capital provide education for around 6% of all nursery pupils, 10% of primary school pupils, and 21% secondary pupils living in Edinburgh.


Edinburgh Steiner School offers an important alternative to the independent education sector, in the city with the highest proportion of pupils attending a parent-funded school in the UK. The curriculum is embedded in a child-development approach. Pupils here start formal learning at age 6 or 7; in a classroom that takes an analogue approach to media literacy.


From Kindergarten to the final year (Class 12) subject matter is linked to a child’s developmental stage, which both inspires and motivates the pupils. Teachers teach to the whole child – and each lesson is revealed in a three-fold manner: through the intellectual capacities (thinking), artistic and emotional capacities (feeling), and practical skill-building capacities (willing). All subjects are linked, and each lesson integrates academic work with fine arts and practical arts, so that a child is not only intellectually engaged, but emotionally and aesthetically invested in their learning.


This holistic approach to education, something which Curriculum for Excellence is striving to achieve, made Steiner an educational flagship in Scotland.