The Scottish Education System

The Scottish education system is unique to Scotland.  As an Armed Forces family being posted here from elsewhere in the UK the curriculum, schools and exam system will be all different to those you are used to.

This guide has been produced to give parents an overview, help you understand how our schools work and some of the key features you need to be aware of.



In Scotland, children living in a catchment area usually go to the same local school.

Parents are offered the choice of sending their child to a denominational or a non-denominational school. This means that parents have a choice of four local schools in their catchment area:

  • 2 x primary (denominational and non-denominational)
  • 2 x secondary (denominational and non-denominational)



The process for applying to a school that isn’t in your catchment area is called making a placement request and it will vary across Local Authorities.

Further information and a link to the specific Local Authority’s policy is contained on each individual base’s page. If you don’t yet have an address use the base’s postcode (which we have provided on each individual base page) to search for schools.



The majority of denominational state schools are Roman Catholic. Denominational schools are run in the same way as other local authority schools and are open to pupils of all denominations, all faiths, and none.

As a parent, you can withdraw your children from instruction in religious education and from religious observance if you wish.

Denominational schools can have large catchment areas that overlap those of non-denominational schools.

This site only lists catchment schools, there may be other schools in your area and you have the right to request another if the catchment school is not the one you wish to send your child to.

To view all the schools in a particular area, not just the catchment ones, visit the Parentzone website.