Aided Places Scheme (Scotland) 2018-19

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).

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 also apply to the children of workers from European Economic Area countries, refugees and the children of refugees.  Please contact the Bursar for further details.

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 51 pupils and to the cost of boarding for a maximum of 33 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 £1,908 in 2017-18) 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 £16,190 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 £62-£253 towards the cost of school clothing are available to aided pupils in their first year where relevant income is no more than £16,610. Grants of between £52-£98 may be available to aided pupils in the second and subsequent years where relevant income does not exceed £15,917.

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 £14,821.

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 2017-18 will be based on income in the tax year 2016-17). 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 2017-18 parents do not have to pay anything if relevant income for the tax year 2016-17 is £16,028 or less (for an aided day pupil) or £12,722 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 2017-18. 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: 2018-19 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
£ £ £ £ £
15,833 NIL NIL 330 246
16,028 NIL NIL 369 276
18,000 216 162 762 573
20,000 414 312 1,164 873
25,000 915 687 1,953 1,410
30,000 1,416 1,062 2,577 1,785
40,000 2,415 1,812 3,828 2,535
50,000 3,414 2,562 5,079 3,285
60,000 4,416 3,312 6,327 4,035
80,000 6,414 4,812 8,829 5,535
100,000 8,415 6,312 11,328 7,035
120,000 10,416 7,812 13,827 8,535
150,000 13,416 10,062 17,577 10,785
200,000 18,414 13,812 23,829 14,535
250,000 23,415 17,562 30,078 18,285
275,000 25,513* 19,437 33,204 20,160
And so on (*full 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