Furniture Design School

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can't find an answer to your question or require further clarification please contact us.

When was the school founded?

Anselm Fraser founded the school in 1985. After 34 years at the helm as Principal, he handed over the running of the school to his son, Tom, in 2019.

What qualification will I obtain?

  1. The Chippendale International School of Furniture Certificate, which is recognised worldwide.
  2. The Chippendale School of Furniture Award, which is accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority at SCQF Level 8 (NQF Level 5).

The School is a Scottish Qualifications Authority Approved Centre No. 3008002 and is accredited by Education Scotland.

Studying for the Chippendale School of Furniture Award is required by the UK Home Office for all students coming from outside the UK. The qualification is also available, but not compulsory, for any UK students.

What kind of career could I follow after the course?

Emphasis will be placed on preparing you to have the confidence to set up your own business on completion of the course in the true entrepreneurial spirit of Thomas Chippendale.

Although some students choose to enter the arts or museums world, those seeking a truly academic path are not suited to this course. The school has an excellent reputation and will, in some cases, assist students to gain employment in professional workshops.

Will I be able to complete the course if I have little woodworking experience?

People come to the School to learn, some with no previous experience and some with considerable skills.

The course is structured to give students the time and tuition needed to build up competence. Beginners work very hard and overcome any initial lack of experience.

I don’t think the course will be of any use to me as I have a lot of experience working with wood.

Those who have already completed full-time woodworking courses elsewhere, or have highly developed woodworking skills already, will not be encouraged to apply.

Too often we find that those who attend multiple courses are simply putting off the moment at which they must begin to take responsibility for their future and start earning a living.

However, those whose experience of woodwork has been gained through employment and who wish to change direction, for example away from mass-produced to custom-built furniture, will find plenty to stimulate them on this course.

What do the course fees cover?

The course fees cover all tuition, the use of hand and machine tools, materials (within reason) provided for course work and course projects, and all visits to museums, private collections and local businesses.

The cost of accommodation and personal expenses are not covered.

A ‘guideline’ overall budget for a single person, including fees, is estimated at £30,000 (approx US $35,000, €35,000 or Yen 5m (at Sep 2022 exchange rates).

Evidence of your ability to cover these costs is a pre-requisite of enrolment and indeed entry into the UK.

How are the fees paid?

A deposit of £3,000, payable on enrolment, secures your place on the course.

The balance (excluding any discounts) is payable in one lump sum four weeks before the start of the course.

How do these fees compare with those of other training providers in the same field?

From our research into comparable furniture courses, it would appear that 2-3 years minimum is required to cover the same range of subject matter that we have deliberately condensed down to a period of only 36 weeks (including Christmas and Easter breaks).

When taking into account loss of earnings while attending as a student, we believe our course fee represents excellent value for money, even when compared with highly-subsidised government training courses.

What about transport?

Although the school is on a bus route linking the village of Gifford to neighbouring towns, the service is infrequent and rather slow.

Some students choose to buy a second-hand car costing up to £5,000 (plus road tax and insurance) and then sell it on completion of the course. The school can help with this. As a rough guide, depreciation tends to be around 50% over the period.

Of course, those of a hardy disposition may choose to cycle, this is however not recommended during the winter months.

How many students are on the course and what is the student/teacher ratio?

Up to 30 places are offered. The maximum student to teacher ratio is 5:1.

What is the age range?

Anyone over the age of 18. The school attracts a wide age range of students from school-leavers to the early-retired.

Are there students of many nationalities?

Students at the school come from a wide variety of countries and cultures.

What level of English proficiency is required for the course?

For those who are not residents of the UK and whose first language is not English, documentary evidence of your English language ability at level B1 for Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing.

As you will be studying at below degree level, we can currently accept the following Test results:


LanguageCert Intnl ESOL SELT

Pearson PTE Academic UKVI

PSI Service Skills for English UKVI

I am a national of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Will I be able to gain entry to the UK to study at your school?

You will find useful information about student entry requirements on and

The school is on the “Register of Licensed Sponsors: Students” (Licence No  9K4C1UF57).  You are required to obtain a Student Visa under the Points Based System, which will allow you to arrive in the UK one month before the start of the course and remain in the UK for the full length of the course plus two months at the end.

We are categorised as a private Higher Education Provider with a Track Record of Compliance and the qualification you will receive is equivalent to RQF Level 5.

What is the weather like in Scotland?

There is a good reason why the vegetation in Scotland is so lush and green — it rains frequently, though less so in East Lothian than the rest of Scotland, where the area’s annual rainfall is amongst the lowest in the UK.

Winter temperatures are typically in the range of -2 to 10ºC, whilst in the summer 10 to 25ºC is the norm.

Do past students retain contact with the school?

Most certainly they do. Some students set up businesses in the Chippendale Incubation Centre at Myreside Studios.  Help is only a phone call or email away if any past students want advice or have specific questions.

In addition, we have introduced the Fine Furniture Guild providing our graduates with an opportunity to register their woodworking businesses on a platform that will promote its members and provide a quality introductory service for customers wanting trusted craftsmanship. All members of the Guild will be graduates of the Chippendale School.

The School has developed a very lively global network of past students who have opened their own workshops and some may be able to offer work placements to others. We have a thriving alumni community.

Where will I live?

You can rent self-catering accommodation nearby, which costs typically between £650 and £800 per month, plus food and utility bills. Alternatively, you can opt to live with a host family in a nearby village or town at a cost of around £500 per month inclusive of utility bills.

The school will help organise your accommodation if you wish.

For further information, view our accommodation section.

Get In Touch

If you are looking to embark on a career change or you have an interest in the art of woodworking and furniture design, get in touch and arrange in a visit.