Unlike the rest of the UK, Scotland’s education system is led by a government department called Education Scotland. As a former communist country, Scotland has a long history of providing universal public education. In many ways, this difference makes the Scottish education system very different from other countries. The Scottish Government, however, is committed to improving education, particularly for children of disadvantaged backgrounds. Here are some things to know about Scottish education. To help you decide if it’s right for your child, consider a few things you may not have known.
Curriculum for Excellence
The Curriculum for Excellence in Scottish education is a set of principles and practices designed to equip young people for a dynamic, diverse world. It aims to develop essential life and learning skills, as well as the confidence and resilience needed to be effective citizens and contributing members of society. While some of the principles and practices are innovative, the main concern is to ensure that learners are prepared for life’s challenges. This is done by focusing on a wide range of topics and skills.
Those who don’t plan to go to university may find the Scottish Highers a suitable alternative. The way that these qualifications are assessed is similar to that of GCSEs. Higher level subjects are studied in units over the course of the year, each with its own assessment. Your final grade will be based on these assessments and your overall results. To learn more about studying for the Scots Highers, read on.
National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs)
The second academic year following the introduction of the SNSAs saw 577,385 assessments complete across the country, representing 93.4% of the maximum number. This is lower than the previous year, but still a substantial number of tests. SNSAs are designed to be as inclusive as possible, allowing children with additional support and those with lower levels of ability to take them. The SNSA results form a key part of the teacher’s overall assessment and will be mentioned in parent-teacher meetings.
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Schools run by local authorities
In Scotland, schools are run by local authorities. This means that the local authority is responsible for all aspects of schooling from special educational needs to community education and developing plans to improve education in the community. There are some local authority schools that parents can choose to send their children to, however, and parents may be able to join a parent council at these schools to voice their views. Here are some common issues facing education authorities in Scotland.
The abolition of tuition fees for EU and Scottish students is one of the greatest achievements of the SNP government, which is currently in power. Former first minister Alex Salmond has claimed that abolishing tuition fees was his proudest achievement. Nicola Sturgeon, the current first minister of Scotland, also declared in 2015 that education would be her priority for her time in office. Sadly, 14 years of SNP rule have resulted in a financial meltdown of the Scottish Higher Education sector, and the students are suffering as a result.
Qualifications available at post-secondary level
In Scotland, the term’school’ describes a state or private educational establishment, primary or secondary education, and higher education. The term’school’ ends when a student reaches the age of 16, but there are options to continue studying at a post-secondary institution, including university. Generally, these institutions offer courses in a variety of fields, such as the arts. For more information, see Qualifications available at post-secondary level in Scottish education.