Education in Scotland

Scotland offers a revolutionary curriculum and internationally-renowned universities. And it's all on your doorstep.

Nursery and pre-school

Your children get off to a great start in Scotland with free early education for three and four-year-olds – totalling up to 600 hours each year. There are many nursery, pre-school and childcare options in Scotland to suit your needs.

Find childcare services in Scotland with the Scotland Care Inspectorate

Primary and secondary schools

Five to 18-year-olds also benefit from free state primary and secondary schools in Scotland. Although you can choose which school your child attends, spaces are normally given out in relation to where you live.

Throughout their learning, Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence encourages your child to develop their interests, build on their strengths, and learn in creative and encouraging settings.

Independent private schools

Scotland also has many notable private schools for pre-school, primary and secondary students. Independent schools are managed by a private trust and normally you have to pay for your child to attend. However, in certain circumstances, some independent schools offer scholarships or bursary awards to offset fees.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools

These non-profit educational foundations work with schools in over 140 countries to offer four programmes for children aged three to 19. In addition to focusing on intellectual growth, they also focus developing children’s personal, emotional and social skills.

Other types of school

There are various other types of school in Scotland, including:

  • Denomination (faith) schools
  • Gaelic language schools
  • Centres of Excellence for gifted children
  • Schools catering to children with additional support needs
  • Enrolling your child in school

Once you've chosen a school for your child, you must contact the school to arrange a meeting with the head teacher to discuss options.

Universities and colleges

Yes, it all began for Will and Kate at St Andrew’s University in Scotland, but our many colleges and universities are even more well known internationally for excelling in areas like sciences, technology and business. Although we're a small country, we boast 19 universities and many colleges spread across the country.

Find out about Scotland’s universities on Universities Scotland

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If you have any questions or want to talk with one of our advisers, we’re always ready to help.