Summary statistics for schools in Scotland no. 8: 2017 edition

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

This document is part of 2 collections

Chapter 1: Introduction

This publication brings together a wide range of information on early learning and childcare provision, pupils, teachers, school buildings and attendance, absence and exclusions.

Early learning and childcare

  • Local authorities have a duty to secure a part-time funded place (currently 600 hours a year) 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 schools

  • Children usually start school between 4½ and 5½ years old
  • There are seven stages from primary 1 (P1) to primary 7 (P7)
  • There is no streaming of pupils by ability at primary school and pupils are automatically promoted from one class to the next each year

Secondary schools

  • Pupils attend for up to 6 years (S1-S6)
  • Qualifications are usually taken from age 15-16
  • In most circumstances young people may leave school at end of S4

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
  • Specials schools cover primary and secondary education
  • In these statistics pupils attending special schools are not assigned to primary or secondary or to a stage


  • 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 and are referred to as probationers in these statistics

School estates

  • The school estates core facts survey is conducted annually and covers schools open on 1 April
  • This collects information on schools newly built or substantially refurbished and local authorities’ assessment of the condition and suitability of their school estate

Attendance, absence and exclusion

  • Attendance, or reason for absence, is recorded by schools daily
  • Pupils may be excluded where their continued attendance would be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school or the educational wellbeing of the learners there
  • Information on attendance, absence and exclusions is collected biennially


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