We are accepting applications for boarding and day places for Autumn 2020 entry. 

If you would like to find out more, including information about the Aided Places Scheme, please email admissions@st-marys-music-school.co.uk




Side Menu

Aided Places Scheme (Scotland) 2023-24

The Aided Places Scheme provides financial assistance with the cost of tuition and boarding fees and other expenses for pupils attending St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh. The provisions of the scheme are contained in the St Mary’s Music School (Aided Places) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/248) as amended by the St Mary’s Music School (Aided Places) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2022 (SSI 2022/377).

Who is eligible for an aided place?

The minimum age for an aided place is 7 years provided the pupil will attain 8 years of age on or before 31 July next following his or her taking up an aided place.

A child must have been resident in the British Islands for 2 years preceding 1 January of the year in which he or she would take up an aided place. Special rules apply to (1) children from European Economic Area countries or Switzerland who have protected rights under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements following the UK’s exit from the EU and children who are family members of persons with such protected rights, (2) Irish or UK nationals resident in the Republic of Ireland, (3) refugees or the children of refugees and (4) Ukrainian children who are displaced persons.

The selection of pupils for aided places is (subject to the rules of eligibility), a matter for decision by the school. The school will, on request, provide the necessary application forms and details of their arrangement for the selection and admission of pupils.

What assistance is available?

Tuition and Boarding fees:

The scheme provides financial assistance towards the cost of tuition fees for 55 pupils and to the cost of boarding for a maximum of 35 pupils (Instrumentalists). Assistance is determined by reference to a sliding scale linked to family income (“relevant income”). Relevant income will normally be the total of the income (before tax) from all sources of both parents or a parent and their partner (whether or not that partner has parental rights as long as they are the spouse, civil partner or cohabitee of the parent) and any unearned income of their dependent children (whether they hold an aided place or not) less an allowance (of £2,219 in 2023-24) for each dependent child or other relative residing in the same household as the applicants and aided pupil, other than the aided pupil. Sums received from the following social security benefits should not normally be included as relevant income:

- income-based child benefit
- income support
- housing benefit
- working tax credit
- child tax credit
- income related employment and support allowance   
- disability living allowance
- universal credit
- guardian’s allowance
- attendance allowance
- pension credit
- winter fuel payments and Christmas bonus
- free TV licence for over-75s
- lump-sum bereavement payments
- maternity allowance
- industrial injuries benefit
- severe disablement allowance
- war widow’s pension
- young person’s bridging allowance

Other expenses:

Aided day pupils whose parents are receiving income support, income based Jobseekers Allowance, Child Tax Credit (based on an annual income of no more than £17,005 and also not in receipt of Working Tax Credit except in certain limited circumstances) or Universal Credit are eligible for free school meals.

Grants of £75-£292 towards the cost of school clothing are available to aided pupils in their first year where relevant income is no more than £19,315. Grants of between £60-£115 are available to aided pupils in the second and subsequent years where relevant income does not exceed £18,506.

For aided day pupils living more than 4.8km from the school, assistance with the cost of travel will be available on a sliding scale linked to relevant income but will be met in full where the relevant income does not exceed £17,231.

How is my relevant income assessed?

Relevant income is normally assessed on income earned in the previous tax year (e.g. relevant income for the school year 2023-24 will be based on income in the tax year 2022-23). Applicants will be required to provide documentary evidence (e.g. Form P60, a completed self-assessment form or copy of accounts, as appropriate) as a condition of being granted an aided place for their child. Special rules apply where applicants are divorced or separated; where certain disability benefits are payable; and where income is derived from a business with a special accounting year.

What do I have to pay towards Tuition and Boarding fees?

For the school year 2023-24 parents do not have to pay anything if relevant income for the tax year 2022-23 is £18,635 or less (for an aided day pupil) or £14,789 or less (for an aided boarding pupil). If income exceeds that amount they will have to pay an increasing share up to the full fee. As a guide, the table below gives some examples of what parents will have to pay in the school year 2023-24. The school will calculate the actual amount that you will have to pay.

You will normally be asked to pay your share of the fees in equal instalments at the start of each term. If 2 or more children from the same family hold an aided place the contribution in respect of each child will be reduced according to the number of children holding such places.

The amount of assistance will be reviewed annually and applicants will be required to provide details of their income each year to enable their contributions to the fees to be reassessed.

What happens if my income falls?

In case of hardship –for example if income falls because a parent dies or is out of work –applicants’ share of the fees may be calculated on current income, rather than income a year earlier. This can be arranged in the first year your child holds an aided place or in later years if circumstances change.

How do I apply for an aided place?

An application for an aided place should be made to St Mary’s Music School normally when applying for admission to the school – but the scheme is also open to those already attending the school. The school will let you know as soon as possible whether your application has been successful.


Parents’ contribution to fees: 2023-24 school year (general guide)

Relevant Income up to Day Pupils Boarding Pupils
  One Aided Pupil Each of Two or More
Aided Pupils
One Aided Pupil Each of Two or More
Aided Pupils
£ £ £ £ £
17,219 NIL NIL 384 288
20,000 159 117 702 525
25,000 657 492 1,680 1,254
30,000 1,158 867 2,304 1,629
40,000 2,157 1,617 3,555 2,379
50,000 3,207 2,409 4,881 3,174
60,000 4,308 3,231 6,279 4,014
80,000 6,657 4,992 9,231 5,784
100,000 9,207 6,906 12,381 7,674
120,000 11,958 8,967 15,729 9,684
150,000 16,407 12,306 21,081 12,894
200,000 23,907 17,931 30,081 18,294
250,000 31,407 23,556 39,081 23,694
300,000 33,168* 29,181 45,530* 29,094
And so on        

* full senior instrumentalist tuition fees

Note: The relevant income scale is open ended but fee remission can be given only where the parental contribution is less than the tuition fees. Parental contribution is based on actual salary figures. The above table is a rough guide.

Further information is available from

The Scottish Government Learning Directorate
Area 2B (North)
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
Telephone: 0131 244 7205

St Mary’s Music School
Coates Hall
25 Grosvenor Crescent
Edinburgh EH12 5EL
Telephone: 0131 538 7766

  Download this Guide to the Aided Places Scheme,

Click below to view our Admissions Guide



Instrumental Learning

Choir School

Saturday Music Classes


St Mary’s Music School is one of the nine specialist Music and Dance Schools the UK (and the only one in Scotland)  funded by the UK Government and providing the finest training in Britain. It is a co-educational, non-denominational specialist music school, offering a world class standard of music and academic education to musically gifted children aged 9-19 years. It is also the Choir School of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh. It attracts day and boarding pupils from across Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe and internationally. 

Learn more > 

 Sign-up to hear about the latest news and events


St Mary's Music School Trust Ltd, Registered No: 54504
St Mary's Music School Trust Limited is a charity No. SC014611
Registered Office: Coates Hall, 25 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 5EL.