Schools in Scotland - summary statistics: 2020

Headline statistics from the annual pupil and school staff censuses and early learning and childcare provision.

This document is part of 2 collections

Chapter 1: Introduction

Primary schools

  • Children usually start school between 4½ and 5½ years old
  • There are seven stages from Primary 1 (P1) to Primary 7 (P7)
  • Pupils are not streamed by ability at primary school and automatically move up a stage each year

Secondary schools

  • Pupils attend for up to six years (S1-S6)
  • Qualifications are usually taken in S4 to S6 starting at age 15-16

Special schools

  • Most children with additional support needs are educated in mainstream schools but some with complex or specific needs are educated in special schools
  • Not all local authorities have special schools
  • In these statistics pupils attending special schools are not assigned to primary or secondary or to a stage

Early learning and childcare

  • Local authorities have a duty to secure a part-time funded place (currently 600 hours a year) for three and four year olds and eligible two year olds
  • Places are provided by local authority services, or secured through partnership arrangements with private or third sector services


  • Most teachers have a four year degree including or concurrent with a teaching qualification, or have completed a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) following a degree
  • Teaching graduates from a Scottish university are guaranteed a one year probationary teaching post and are referred to as induction scheme teachers in these statistics

This publication brings together information on pupils and teachers at publicly funded schools and early learning and childcare provision.



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