Scotland’s education system is separate from that of the rest of the UK. It always has been and, consequently, has developed in a different way from the systems used elsewhere on these islands.
Approximately 98% of Scottish schools are publicly funded and managed by Local Authorities. Each of the 32 Local Authorities has responsibility for schools within its boundaries. All schools in Scotland are regulated by the Scottish Government and inspected by Education Scotland on the government’s behalf. The other 2% are privately owned schools which operate a selection process and charge fees to parents. They are also subject to Education Scotland quality control. (For more information go to https://education.gov.scot/what-we-do/inspection-and-review)
Educational Provision can most easily be explained by dividing it into 4 categories according to the age of the pupils being taught:
1. 3-5 Provision
Children are provided with free nursery education from their 3rd birthday, for 2 ½ hours per day during the school year.
2. 5-12 Provision
Primary school education for pupils between the ages of 5 – 12 is based on a general curriculum teaching all pupils language, maths, environmental studies, science, art and PE in mixed ability classes.
3. 12 -16 Provision
Pupils move to Secondary education after 7 years in Primary school. In Secondary they have 2 further years of general education before choosing 8 subjects they wish to specialise in. In years 3 & 4 pupils work towards achieving exam qualifications at Standard Grade, although some schools or subjects choose to follow the Intermediate route instead. Compulsory education ends for pupils at 16 years of age.
4. 16-18 Provision
Pupils continue to work towards qualifications at either Intermediate or Higher level with many specialising in subjects they wish to continue at either Further Education in College or Higher Education in University. Many also accept additional responsibilities as Prefects, reading supporters or subject links, helping younger pupils. There is also an opportunity to become involved in Enterprise education during these two years although many schools also offer enterprise education to younger pupils.
Exams in Scottish schools are set, operated and verified by an independent body, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (for more information go to http://www.sqa.org.uk) . They set exams at 3 levels, Standard, Intermediate and Higher.
Qualification to Teach in Scotland
All teachers working in the state sector in Scotland must be registered with the GTC(S) General Teaching Council of Scotland. Teachers in training will be provisionally registered until they gain full registration. (for more information go to http://www.gtcs.org.uk).