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【The Standard:Boarding Insider】Why Scottish schools are so special

School Guide

“I am keen on sending my daughter to a school in Scotland when she turns 13. What do you think about the idea and which co-ed or all-girls’ schools do you recommend?”

A handful of Hong Kong families are attracted to Scotland each year – mostly due to the country’s beautiful landscape, a rich and interesting cultural heritage and excellent schooling which incorporates the great outdoors into the co-curriculum.

From the perspective of character- building and self-fulfilment, Hong Kong families have little to lose in terms of applying to certain schools in Scotland.

Compared with England, of course, there is not such an expansive selection of schools in Scotland which have the capacity or will to embrace full- boarding. However, the following choices are still worthy of your consideration:


Situated some considerable distance away from Glasgow and Edinburgh, Gordonstoun may be lonely in terms of location, yet it is a school for the ultimate all-round educational experience.

Gordonstoun is not a leader in terms of academic results, though the school is working on this, but it is, as one inspectorate report put it, “sector leading” in outdoor pursuits. Through a respected service training program, in which pupils from the age of 16 can engage themselves as a mountain rescuer, coastguard or firefighter, to name but a few, school-leavers gain all the qualities and traits they need to survive and shine in the real world.

A rare full-boarding school with clear pastoral aims, Gordonstoun deserves your attention.


Located much closer to Edinburgh than Gordonstoun and not far from the city of Perth, the co-educational Strathallan School is a powerhouse in terms of exam results and clear achiever in the areas of Sport and Art and Design Technology.

Strathallan does revolve around boarding and pupils speak of being “won over” by the atmosphere of the school and the strong sense of community. Boarding houses are modern.

Sport tends to stand out at Strathallan with successful Tennis and Shooting Academies, while a clay pigeon shooting ranges and a nine-hole golf course are also part of the package.

Senior boarding fees at these two schools are high but pupils get a lot back from the schools in return.

Simply, Scotland has an air of magic about it which has to be seen to be believed. 


Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink.

Picture: Strathallan School

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