Summary statistics for schools in Scotland no. 7: 2016 edition

Results of the annual pupil and teacher censuses, early learning and childcare data, school estates data, attendance and absence data and exclusions data.

1. Introduction

This publication brings together a wide range of information on school education and early learning and childcare provision in Scotland and covers: pupils, teachers, children in early learning and childcare, and school buildings.

Early learning and childcare

  • Local authorities have a duty to secure a part-time funded place (currently 600 hours pa) for 3 and 4 year olds; and, eligible 2 year olds.
  • Places are provided by local authority services, or secured through partnership arrangements with private or third sector services.

Primary school

  • Children whose 5th birthday falls between start of March one year and 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 at primary school and pupils are automatically promoted by age from one class to the next

Secondary school

  • Pupils attend for up to 6 years (S1-S6)
  • Pupils 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 end of S4
  • Many choose to stay on 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.

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.
  • Special schools cover both primary and secondary education.


  • Primary and secondary school teachers have either a 4 year degree including or concurrent with a teaching qualification, or have completed a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education ( PGDE) following a degree.
  • Students graduating with a teaching qualification from a Scottish university are guaranteed a one year probationary teaching post in a local authority school. Teachers in this first year after training are referred to as "probationers" in this publication.

School estates

  • Information is collected on the condition and suitability of the school estate. Information is used at both national and local level to inform targets, spending decisions, support monitoring and evaluation of progress over time and support assessments of value for money.


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