Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

ISCA Scotland

Celebrate the New Year with old friends!

26 December 2024 – 4 January 2025

We are delighted to invite you to join us for Hogmanay 2024/2025. Staying in the historic capital of Edinburgh, ISCA Scotland allows you to explore Scottish history and culture during the iconic festival of Hogmanay (New Year)!

Who is this for?

Students who participated in ISCA 2023 are invited to join us for this very special trip. You will be able to reconnect with those who have experienced an ISCA Summer, whilst exploring the best of Scotland.

Explore Scottish History & Culture

ISCA Scotland will introduce our students to the wonders of Scottish history and culture. Several events in Scotland have influenced the history and culture which our students discovered during their three-week summer programme in England. ISCA Scotland is therefore a natural progression to allow students to gain an even greater understanding of Britain.

The programme will be focused around notable Scottish figures including William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots and King James VI of Scotland (who became King James I of England). In addition, we will visit many of the cultural sites that have defined Scottish identity such as Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Old and New Towns, the Highlands and Loch Lomond.

On visiting Scotland for the first time in 1842, Queen Victoria wrote in her diary,

The view of Edinburgh from the road is quite enchanting: it is, as Albert said, fairy-like and what you would only imagine as a thing to dream of, or see in a picture.

Our students will experience this enchantment, visiting:

  • Edinburgh – Holyroodhouse, the Old Town, Castle, the New Town, Calton Hill
  • Loch Lomond
  • Highland village of Luss
  • Edinburgh Christmas Markets
  • St Andrews – Castle, Cathedral, West Sands Beach, Golf Courses
  • Arthur’s Seat
  • Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Stirling – Castle, Battle of Bannockburn, The National Wallace Monument

Explore our full itinerary here.

Have a look at The ISCA Scotland Explorer for a detailed look at the history of the sites we visit.

Celebrate Hogmanay

We will take part in the world-famous Torchlight Procession in Edinburgh on 29 December. On 31 December students, ISCA staff and chaperones will dress up for a formal Hogmanay Gala Dinner, (don’t worry you don’t have to eat Haggis!), before taking part in a traditional Scottish Ceilidh dance – provided by a fantastic live Scottish band. As we approach midnight we will look to the sky for what is sure to be a magnificent firework display as we welcome in 2025!

Stay in the heart of Edinburgh

The Apex Waterloo Place Hotel is located in the heart of Edinburgh New Town and is just a short walk away from Princes Street, the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. All travel outside of Edinburgh will be on private buses and our furthest destination, Loch Lomond, is under two hours away.


Every student will have a twin room with private bathroom. During this programme we stay in the Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, giving a more luxurious feel to the Hogmanay experience. Male and female students will stay in separate areas of the hotel and ISCA staff will be resident on the same corridor at a ratio of 1 teacher for every 6 students. This breaks down to 1 staff room for every 3 student rooms.

In addition, the hotel has a 24/7 front desk and security team to ensure the safety of all residents. With such a low staff to student ratio we will be able to provide a high level of supervision and ensure that each of our students has a safe and secure stay in this very comfortable hotel.

Breakfast and dinner will be served in the hotel, with ISCA being granted sole use of the large function suite for the duration of our stay. For Hogmanay we will have a wonderful New Year’s Eve Gala dinner followed by Ceilidh dancing in our own private function room.

Evening Activities

The location of this hotel puts us within easy reach of numerous evening activities. Students will have the chance to go on guided walks of Edinburgh’s Old Town, explore Edinburgh’s Christmas Markets or even do something more adventurous like ice skating, bowling or even try the brand-new trampoline centre!

How ISCA Scotland Works

International Travel

ISCA Scotland is not a programme for individual schools but rather for everyone who participated in ISCA 2023. ISCA have put in place our most experienced international faculty to lead the group from the departure airports. There will be at least one chaperone for every eight students on the flight to and from the UK. All of our chosen chaperones participated with their school group in 2023, meaning the students will already know their airport leader(s). By following this approach, we can guarantee that every student who wants to join the programme can attend, even if there are only a small number attending from their own school.

Student-led Learning

Once in Scotland the group will be met by our Senior ISCA UK Faculty. Our ISCA team will lead the trip, with assistance from the international chaperones, ensuring that a ratio of one teacher for every six students is maintained at all times. Whilst everyone will follow the same itinerary for each day, students will be split into very small groups to explore the sights with one of our group leaders. This will allow ISCA Scotland to have a far more intimate feel than the summer programme. We believe this enables us to keep the key values of the ISCA experience, safely and securely exploring history and culture, whilst appreciating that the students are older and therefore able to take greater ownership of their experience.

The ISCA Team

Our ISCA staff are chosen based on their experience working with this specific age group and on residential programmes. We have 1 teacher for every 6 students throughout the programme. Naturally, all of our staff are background checked and are given Safeguarding Training before the beginning of the trip.

42 Years’ Experience

Since 1982, ISCA has run residential camps for students aged 12 to 15-years-old. ISCA works with 32 schools from around the world who join us every July for a three-week summer camp and also for a ten-day trip to Scotland over Hogmanay.


ISCA organise every part of the trip, including return flights from your home airport. Each flight will have a designated group leader. All communication for this trip will be directly with ISCA. To become part of ISCA you would typically follow this process:

  1. Attend a Zoom presentation in November.
  2. Confirm your attendance by 15 December 2023.
  3. Pay $500 deposit. Once you have confirmed your child’s attendance, you will be sent a payment letter. This will allow you to visit a secure link on the ISCA website and pay directly using a credit or debit card. A $500 deposit must be received by 31 December 2023.
  4. Before 31 March 2024. You will be sent a link to pay an additional $1,500.
  5. You will be sent a link to pay the remaining balance before 30 September 2024.
  6. ISCA will arrange Zoom sessions to allow the students to reconnect and get to know their flight chaperone before the trip.
  7. Thursday 26 December depart home country to travel to Scotland for your ISCA experience!
ISCA is All Inclusive

ISCA organise every part of the trip including flights, transfers, accommodation, meals, coach trips, site visits, entertainment and activities.

ISCA carries Public Liability and Employer’s Liability insurance. We are also a member of Protected Trust Services. PTS holds parent funds in a trust account to ensure their money is secure and completely protected against the failure of the company and/or any of its suppliers.

Parents are strongly advised to take out additional travel insurance to include trip cancellation, trip interruption, loss of baggage and emergency medical cover. This should be arranged independently.

ISCA Scotland Explorer Explore the Itinerary Places we visit