I’ve lived in Scotland for ages but I still don’t understand the Scottish education system.
Most of the UK has GCSEs and A Levels but Scotland has Nationals (1-5), Highers and Advanced Highers.
Before that they had Standard Grade and Intermediate as well. Pretty confusing!
They study a broader range of subjects at each level. Whereas in the rest of the UK pupils specialise more as they go through school.
It means universities in Scotland offer four year undergraduate courses instead of three.
I suspect that’s because pupils aren’t at the same level as their counterparts in the rest of the UK. At least, that’s the experience I’ve had.
I studied a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Edinburgh in what feels like the Stone Age. Well, it was the early nineties in any case!
I spent my first year rehashing most of the stuff I’d already learnt at A Level.
It did mean it was a easy year although I’m not sure how sober I was for many parts of it.
We’re now lagging behind many other countries in maths, reading and science.
Scottish pupils’ performance has declined in the 15 years that they’ve taken part in assessments.
There are surprising dips in standards for Wales and Northern Ireland too though.
Only England is just about maintaining standards.
It’s good to see that the University of Edinburgh is in the world’s top 30 World University Rankings.
Assuming we’re still in Scotland by the time my kids leave school, I hope they could follow in my footsteps if they wanted to.
I wonder if the Scottish Government’s discriminatory stance in relation to university places will be around by then.
It means my kids might get a free university education in Scotland. Although it’s a bit of a lottery because those places have a quota.
If we move south of the border they’d have to pay tuition fees in Scottish universities even though they were born in Scotland.
And even EU students can get free tuition in Scotland so it seems unfair to charge those from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
I guess they think fewer people will come to Scotland to study from the EU.
But they could be flooded with applicants from the rest of the UK if they had to offer them free places too.
Best Of Both Worlds
To a certain extent we’re shielded from the Scottish education system.
That’s because my wife works at an independent school and my kids are lucky enough to attend the school.
It means they get to do GCSEs and A Levels which are more familiar to the outside world and better respected.
I know we will move back to England since my wife is ambitious and wants to move on in her career.
Independent schools in England are more desirable to us. Their boarding standards and systems are much more developed than in Scotland.
If that happens I would consider putting the kids through state run schools.
It would give us a healthier bank balance with me being at home.
I also think many states schools south of the border can give as good an education as independent schools can.
What Will Be Will Be
My wife and I didn’t go to an independent school and we turned out fine.
I’m grateful that we are able to send the kids to an independent school though.
Particularly because of the hearing and speech issues that my daughter experiences.
All I want is that my kids do their best in school. Although we’re giving them the best opportunity in life we can. But you never know what the future holds.
I brought us back up to Scotland in 2005 because I loved the place and wanted to move back ever since I left in 1997.
Now it’s me who most wants to leave again because of the threat of Scottish secession from the UK and Brexit.
Who knows what the future holds but I’m pretty certain it won’t be in Scotland for us.
Is The Scottish Education System Still Fit For Purpose?
What do you think about the education system in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK?
What are your thoughts on the difference in the systems offered?
If you’re somewhere else in the world, how does yours compare?