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A World of opportunity - A Guide to Education and Training in Scotland


A Guide to Education and Training in Scotland

part one

All children should achieve their fullest potential and closing the opportunity gap is our single most important goal. The school education system must raise young people's ambitions and provide more opportunities for realising them.

We are working with schools to ensure we raise the achievement levels of all children regardless of their sex, ethnicity, or background. Children with disabilities and special educational needs are being supported to ensure they too reach their full potential and parents are being given a greater say in their children's education.

We are also investing in school buildings, staff and technology to further raise achievement levels, improve discipline and provide opportunities for the wider community. We are committed to establishing a solid framework for learning.

Cathy Jamieson, MSP
Minister for Education and Young People

Pre-school education

Through play children learn:

  • to explore their world from a safe and stimulating place
  • to understand other
  • to grow in confidence and self-esteem

A vital beginning

One of the most important expansions of Scottish education is the government's commitment to provide free nursery places for all children two years before they are due to start primary school.

Pre-school education

  • promotes children's development and a broad range of learning
  • encourages children to start school with confidence and enthusiasm

All children arrive at nursery school with varied experiences of learning at home and among friends. Painting, dancing singing - through different activities young children can gain the skills of communication, language, expression and physical movement which will prepare them to learn reading, writing and early mathematics. Pre-school education plays a vital part in helping children to develop these essential skills with confidence, enthusiasm and self-esteem.

Pre-school curriculum

Sound curriculum guidance is essential for quality and Scotland has published a curriculum framework for the pre-school stage. Pre-school education may be provided in the public, private and voluntary centres. The guidance contained in the curriculum framework helps these centres provide a sound basis for planning an effective programme for children. Although each centre has its own approach, the experiences offered to children and parental involvement make valuable contributions to supporting children's development.

These curriculum guidelines can be used by all pre-school organisations and anyone involved in the education and care of young children.

Statistics (2000-2001)

98,837 children in pre-school education

1,460 local authority centres

1,112 private and voluntary centres registered for pre-school education grants