Registration of independent schools: guidance for applicants, proprietors, and parents

Guidance covering topics topics such as how to register a new independent school or apply to amend the registration of existing independent schools in Scotland.

2. Who can I contact about independent schools?

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, there are a number of people you may wish to contact.

The Registrar of Independent Schools

The Registrar of Independent Schools is responsible for administering the registration of independent schools; however, the Scottish Ministers determine whether a school should be registered or not.

The Registrar is also the point of contact for proprietors seeking to amend their registration. For example, the proprietor of a primary school may wish to extend their provision to include secondary years 1 2, 3 or beyond. In such cases, the proprietor should contact the Registrar at an early stage.

The Registrar also provides advice and information to the Scottish Ministers where appropriate. While the Registrar cannot investigate individual complaints about an independent school, individuals who have a concern about an independent school may wish to contact the Registrar.

The Registrar may be contacted by email at or by telephone: 0131 244 4898.

Education Scotland

Education Scotland is the scrutiny and improvement body for educational establishments in Scotland and is responsible for the inspection of independent schools. More can be found out about school inspections, and Education Scotland more generally, online. While the Registrar of Independent Schools is hosted by Education Scotland, the Registrar's remit is distinct from Education Scotland and HM Inspectors.

The Care Inspectorate

Where an independent school is also providing residential accommodation; a boarding or residential school, and/or provides early learning and childcare, it must apply to be registered with the Care Inspectorate under the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010. You can find out more about the Care Inspectorate and view inspection reports on their website.

Scottish Council of Independent Schools ('SCIS')

SCIS is a registered charity and its members include around three quarters of all independent schools in Scotland. SCIS represents the interests of the sector and provides training and information. More can be found out about SCIS on their website.

General Teaching Council for Scotland ('GTCS')

The Registration of Independent Schools (Prescribed Person) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 require that all teachers in independent schools be registered with the GTCS.

The GTCS maintains a register of teachers and sets the professional standards expected of all teachers in Scottish schools. More can be found out about the GTCS through their website.

Scottish Social Services Council ('SSSC')

The SSSC is the national body for registering and maintaining standards for care professionals. More can be found out about the SSSC on their website.



Back to top