Fettes tops Gordonstoun for fees as super rich send kids to school in the capital


TONY Blair’s old college has overtaken Prince Charles’ alma mater to become Scotland’s most expensive school.

The fees charged by Fettes College, Edinburgh, now outstrip Gordonstoun, Moray, in three out of four categories, according to the schools’ websites.

Fettes now charges over £23,000 a year for senior day pupils – just ahead of Gordonstoun.

Fettes’ sky-high fees, say experts, are partly the result of super-rich parents from overseas picking the Scottish capital its combination of relative safety and cultural richness.




Some wealthy foreigners are shunning schools in New York, Moscow and London, where round-the-clock security is needed, for the “anonymity” to be found in Edinburgh.

Gordonstoun, situated on a 150-acre estate in rural Scotland, has long been known as “Scotland’s most expensive school”.

The Prince of Wales who boarded there in the 1960s described the institution, once infamous for cold showers and early-morning runs, as “a prison sentence” and the “Colditz with kilts”.

Fettes’ most notable former student is former Prime Minister Tony Blair who boarded at the city college in the 1960s.

Today’s parents have to find £21,825 a year to send junior pupils to board at Fettes – £918 more than Gordonston.

Junior day pupils at the city school will cost parents £13,965 a year – £1,110 more than Gordonstoun.

Senior day pupils at Fettes have to pay £23,190 a year to attended the prestigious school – £108 more than Gordonston.

The only category where Gordonston remains the most expensive in Scotland is for senior boarders currently priced at £30,885 a year – but only £235 a term more than Fettes.




Blair Stewart, partner with the Edinburgh branch of upmarket Estate Agency Strutt and Parker, said: “Fettes has the lion’s share [of foreign pupils]. There is a fair representation of Chinese, Russian, Arab and African nations whose parents put children into the school.

“Fettes is probably the pinnacle along with Gordonstoun but Gordonstoun is more remote,” he continued.

“I think parents are seeing recently that children are getting more balance – kids can go out in Edinburgh and socialise.”

Mr Stewart said he sold three properties in Edinburgh last year to Russian parents wanting place to stay while visiting children boarding in the city.

“I know a lot of really wealthy families are attracted because of the anonymity and perceived safely in comparison to London, New York and Moscow.

“I think parents from regions more troubled, where security is an issue, are looking at Edinburgh for anonymity and safety.

“You can go anywhere without bodyguards.”

Another expert, who asked not to be named, had a simpler theory about the fees at Fettes.

She said: “Edinburgh is attracting very wealthy parents and Russian oligarchs. They just look at a list of schools and pick the most expensive.”

Loretto in Musselburgh. East Lothian, is not far behind with fees of £29,460 a year for senior boarders. Merchiston, in Edinburgh, charges £28,560 for senior borders.

Dollar Academy, Clackmannanshire, charges £25,524 a year for senior borders and £11,034 for day pupils.

The High School, Glasgow, charges up to £10,500 a year for day pupils while in Aberdeen Albyn School charges £11,520 a year for senior day pupils.