Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Private schools enjoy ‘huge spike’ in interest from exam-age pupils as concerns grow over Scottish Government plans

Post Thumbnail

Private schools in Scotland have seen a “huge spike” in the number of applications from exam-age state pupils in the wake of concerns about the Scottish Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Independent learning hubs across the country have reported a surge in interest from the families of state-educated youngsters aged 14 to 17 amid growing anger over the handling of the return of pupils to council-run schools on August 11.

Thousands of parents signed up to grill education secretary John Swinney on Tuesday night after some local authorities set out plans to have children return to the classroom for just one or two days a week.

Those concerns were compounded when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was forced to row back on Mr Swinney’s suggestion that schools may not return to normal for the duration of the academic year.

However, concern over exams – which Mr Swinney said on Friday there was no “absolute certainty” would go ahead next year – has reportedly been the biggest reason for a surge of interest in private education.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney.

Dundee High School rector Lise Hudson confirmed there had been an increase in both junior and senior inquiries and applications to the school since the nationwide lockdown began in March.

Dundee High is preparing for a full return of all pupils on August 17, with staff in-service and induction taking place from August 11, and said it will be able to follow and respond to all government advice around social distancing.

Mrs Hudson said a number of pupils had even joined during the lockdown “to allow them to get a head start on next session”.

Meanwhile, Kilgraston School in Perth has seen more than treble the usual number of families attend online open days.

Since announcing its full return for both boarders and day pupils at the end of August, the school has seen a “huge spike” in interest for term places, particularly from pupils within the Scottish state system.

Dorothy MacGinty.

Headmistress Dorothy MacGinty said news of the school’s full timetable in spite of lockdown had spread quickly among parents, particularly from those with children in the 14-17 age group.

“Exam worry has been the major concern aired to us,” she said.

“We had a virtual open day with 50 families from all over the world taking part. It’s obviously not an ideal way to sell the school experience but, again and again, it’s the academic rigour that is quoted as being the biggest reason to move.”

The Times reported Gordonstoun in Moray and Glenalmond College in Perthshire are also reopening for all students to board.

Both have recorded an increase in admission inquiries since March, and Glenalmond scheduled a further two virtual open days after its first, in May, was fully booked.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith, who is a former teacher, said it was “not surprising” to hear there had been increased interest in the independent sector.

Liz Smith MSP.

“If parents see that the independent schools are more able to offer a full-time curriculum and additional support for SQA examination work, then the schools are bound to be more attractive,” she said.

“What is important, however, is that all schools can get back to work as quickly as possible not just because of the important educational needs of our young people but also because their parents are desperate to get back to work.

“An urgent review of the two-metre rule is essential but so too is a properly joined-up approach from the Scottish Government and local authorities. This has been sadly lacking to date, which is why so many parents are very angry.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We know parents are concerned but we want to assure them that we are doing all we can to make sure that when schools reopen in August, it will be done in a way that is safe and that seeks to maximise the time pupils have in the classroom.

“Councils are drawing up plans for their areas and we will be scrutinising those closely. Where there are genuine issues of resources, we will work with councils to address those.”