Choosing a school: a guide for parents, revised November 2016

A guide for parents on choosing a school and the placing request system.


Parents have the right to express a preference for a particular school that they want their children to attend. This booklet gives information for parents in Scotland about choosing a local council school. It gives a general explanation of the law relating to these placing requests and sets out the procedures that parents and local councils have to follow.

If your child has additional support needs you will find advice including information about choosing a school and your appeal rights in The Parents' Guide to Additional Support for Learning published by Enquire ( Enquire details here).

This booklet cannot give a definitive interpretation of the law. That is a matter for the Courts.

Information in this booklet should answer most of your questions. If you want more information or have queries, you may wish to contact your local council (see addresses and telephone numbers in the back of the booklet), the headteacher of your local school or Parent Council.

This booklet is provided to assist parents who are choosing a school run by a local council. However, parents do not have to send their children to a council school. Some parents choose to send their children to an independent school and others choose to educate their children at home.

If you wish to send your child to an independent school please contact the Scottish Council for Independent Schools ( SCIS). SCIS represents almost all of Scotland's independent schools. Their Directory of Independent Schools gives useful information on all aspects of choosing an independent school and allows you to search for a school's details by specific categories or by location.

SCIS website:

Telephone 0131 556 2316

61 Dublin Street



If you would like information on home education, please see the relevant section on the Parentzone website.

Parentzone website:



Scottish Government Learning Directorate Victoria Quay Edinburgh EH6 6QQ

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