Education in Scotland

Scotland offers a revolutionary curriculum and internationally renowned universities excelling in areas like science, technology and business. Even better - it's all on your doorstep.


Nursery and pre-school

Your children get off to a great start in Scotland with free early education for three and four-year-olds – totaling up to 475 hours each year. There are many nursery, pre-school and child care options in Scotland to suit your needs.

The Scottish Family Information Service (SFIS) identifies childcare providers and local childcare activities for your area.

Primary and secondary schools

Five to 18-year-olds also benefit from free state primary and secondary schools in 32 local authorities across the country. Although you can choose which school your child attends, spaces are normally given out in relation to where you live.

Throughout their learning, Scotland’s revolutionary Curriculum for Excellence encourages your child to develop their interest, build on their strengths, and learn in creative and encouraging settings.

Independent private schools

Scotland also has many notable private schools for pre-school, primary and secondary students. Independent schools are managed by a private trust and normally you have to pay for your child to attend. However, in certain circumstances, some independent schools offer scholarships or bursary awards to off-set fees.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools

These non-profit educational foundations work with schools in over 140 countries to offer four programmes for children aged three to 19. In addition to focusing on intellectual growth, they also focus developing children’s personal, emotional and social skills.

Other types of school

There are various other types of school in Scotland, including:

  • Denomination (faith) schools
  • Gaelic language schools
  • Centres of Excellence for gifted children
  • Schools catering to children with additional support needs

Enrolling your child in school

Once you've chosen a school for your child, you must contact the school to arrange a meeting with the Head Teacher to discuss options.

Universities and colleges

Yes it all began for Will and Kate at St Andrew’s University in Scotland - but our many colleges and universities are even more known internationally for excelling in areas like science, technology and business. Although we're a small country, we boast 13 universities and 55 colleges spread across the country.

Improving your English

If you or your family want to improve your English while living in Scotland, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provides information, resources and courses.

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