Thanks for your reply Hermanmunster. I live in Edinburgh so there are quite a few independent schools I can apply to.
There are a couple I have been to see and the Heads have said some quite promising things like, "we don't offer a sinicle bursaries, you should definitely apply". Another divulged that his predecessor had not used up all the bursary available to him for the last two years.
I am aware that fee remissions through a scholarship and bursaries come from the schools themselves but does it look cheeky on my part if I don't put him through the scholarship ordeal
Academic scholarships and means tested bursaries are two quite different things. As a general rule, scholarships are normally gained by children from independent prep schools who have followed the Common Entrance 11+ or 13+ Scholarship syllabus. A child from an ordinary state school who hadn't had special coaching wouldn't stand of chance of one of these. Means tested bursaries, on the other hand, are mainly intended for bright children from homes with more modest incomes, and no special preparation beyond the usual primary school curriculum would be expected. Schools normally have a certain amount of income put aside for this, and parents who want assistance with the fees have to make a declaration of income each year and their child has to pass an entrance exam.
So, no, if the schools you are considering use Common Entrance as their normal route of admission for fee paying pupils then I would definitely not put your son through the Scholarship papers. The level of ability required for a bursary is usually much more modest than that needed for an academic scholarship in a high performing school.