Economists believe the financial security of many schools is under threat from the partial removal of business rates relief, rising teachers’ pay and spiralling pensions contributions.
A report by Penicuik-based independent economic consultancy BiGGAR Economics points to severe financial implications with a £9 million increase in costs for all schools.
Passing such rising costs onto parents would result in a hike in fees of seven per cent – or £900 per pupil on average.
One in four Edinburgh pupils are educated in the private sector compared to a national average of four per cent.
The report finds: “This is a significant sum of money for parents, and will be compounded for the parents who have more than one child studying at one of the independent schools.
“Based on discussions with the Edinburgh independent schools it is clear that many parents would not be able to bear this financial burden.
“For around 15 per cent of parents this would be completely unaffordable, leading to these pupils dropping out of independent schools. This equates to an estimated 1,750 pupils, which would be equivalent to a school the size of George Heriot’s closing.
“If this scenario were to occur it was estimated that income across the Edinburgh independent schools would fall from £143.4m currently to £130.4m.”