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School Education (Ministerial Powers and Independent Schools) (Scotland) Act 2004

Section 3 – Meaning of “independent school”

20.Section 3 extends the existing definition of an independent school in section 135(1) of the 1980 Act by removing the words “five or more” where they appear before “pupils”. The definition of an independent school will now read: “a school at which full-time education is provided for pupils of school age (whether or not such education is also provided for pupils under or over that age), not being a public school, a grant-aided school or a self-governing school”. As a result, any establishment meeting these criteria is subject to the legislation governing independent schools, whatever the number of pupils on the school roll.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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