WHY do parents send their children to independent schools in ever-growing numbers? Parents choose to send their children to independent schools for many different reasons, including choice, diversity and excellence. Above all, they choose independent schools because they feel a particular school will best serve their child and his or her social and educational needs. All independent schools in Scotland have their own unique ethos and values, but they share a common goal of encouraging each individual pupil to be all that they can be, and to make the most of their time at school. Independent schools enjoy a reputation for excellence, providing a broad curriculum, consistently good exam results, a positive learning environment and a wealth of co-curricular activities. Being independent gives each school the freedom to provide the best possible education for the benefit of its pupils. Consequently, many schools have developed individual strengths that complement the excellence that is the hallmark of the sector. The choice of mainstream schools is wide and there are also special schools that provide care and education for children with additional support needs. The statistics are compelling – Scottish Council of Independent schools provide at least £47 million annually in fee assistance, with 26.4 per cent of all pupils receiving some form of assistance. Eighty-eight per cent of SCIS pupils go on to Higher Education, with 25 per cent continuing their studies outside Scotland. According to numbers from SCIS and the Scottish government, there is one teacher for every 8.7 pupils in SCIS schools, compared to one to 13.7 in state-funded schools. SCIS schools educate more than 31,000 children of mixed abilities from diverse backgrounds. The focus of independent schools has always been, and remains, delivering individual educational outcomes for pupils of all abilities.