The charitable status of 40 private schools in Scotland will be reviewed, a watchdog has announced.
Fee-paying schools such as Glenalmond College in Perth and Kinross, Fettes College in Edinburgh and the High School of Glasgow will be assessed over the next two years.
The aim is to maintain public confidence in charitable status, according to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Each school will have to confirm the accuracy of information already held by OSCR and provide further evidence in order for a full assessment to be made.
OSCR staff will then consider whether the schools meet the charity test set out in the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. The review is part of the watchdog's overall programme of reviews of charitable status, focusing on "priority groups" whose status may be uncertain.
Loretto School in Musselburgh, Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, Wellington School in Ayr and Edinburgh Academy are also on the target list which can be found in the news section of OSCR's website.
David Robb, the watchdog's chief executive, said: "We have reviewed 13 schools so far, to reassure the public that the requirements of charitable status are protected. We look forward to engaging in dialogue with these charities so that they can demonstrate the benefit they provide and how they address any restrictions."
Of the 13 schools reviewed so far, four private schools were issued with directions in 2008 to take steps to meet the test. The schools were given a year to make changes such as widening their bursary schemes and improving the chances for pupils from poorer backgrounds to enrol.
They all ultimately met the test. Failing to do so risks being struck off the charitable register, meaning the schools would lose out on thousands of pounds-worth of tax breaks. Seven other independent schools, including Prince Charles's old school, Gordonstoun, passed the charity test.
John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said: "All 13 independent schools that have been reviewed to date have passed the charity test and demonstrated that they provide public benefit, and we're confident that the other schools are well placed to do so too.
"Today's announcement of the next 40 schools to be reviewed is simply part of OSCR's ongoing review of registered charities which has been in place since 2006, following the introduction of Scottish Parliament legislation."