This publication brings together a wide range of information on school and pre-school education in Scotland and covers: pupils, teachers, pre-school children, school attendance, exclusions, and school buildings.
In Scotland, education typically starts with pre-school. Local authorities have a duty to secure a part-time funded place for every child starting from the beginning of the school term after the child's third birthday. 'Ante pre-school' typically refers to children who are three years old and 'pre-school' to children who are four years old. Pre-school education can be provided by local authority centres, or private and voluntary providers under a partnership arrangement.
Children whose 5th birthday falls between the start of March one year and the end of February the next year usually start school together in the August in the middle of that period (when they will be between 4½ and 5½ years old). Parents have the right to defer their child's entry to primary school provided that the child is still five years old when he or she starts school. Primary schools are organised in classes, by age, from primary 1 (P1) to primary 7 (P7). There is no streaming of pupils by ability and pupils are automatically promoted by age from one class to the next. Each class is normally the responsibility of a class teacher who teaches all or most of the curriculum. Education authorities frequently provide support by employing specialist teachers who help in such subjects as drama, art and physical education, who normally teach in several different schools.
Secondary education in Scotland runs for up to 6 years (S1-S6). After four years of Secondary School, pupils, now aged 15 or 16 take their first set of qualifications (currently Access 3, National 4, National 5, Intermediate 1 or Intermediate 2). Some young people leave school at this point, but many choose to stay on to complete S5 and S6 in order to attain Higher and Advanced Higher level qualifications or further qualifications at the other levels previously mentioned. Higher or Advanced Higher qualifications (or equivalent) are required for entry into Higher Education.
Email: Kieran Furness
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