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Scotland's Education System

Scotland has a long history of universal public education. Its education system is distinctly different from other parts of the United Kingdom.

Traditionally, the Scottish system has emphasised breadth across a range of subjects, while the English, Welsh and Northern Irish systems have emphasised greater depth of education over a smaller range of subjects at secondary school level.

Scotland's teachers are part of an 'all graduate' profession with the General Teaching Council for Scotland regulating professional standards.

Qualifications at the secondary school and post-secondary (further education) level are provided by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, which is the national awarding and accrediting body in Scotland, and delivered through various schools, colleges and other learning centres.

Political responsibility for education at all levels is vested in the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government's Education and Lifelong Learning Department. State schools are owned and operated by local authorities which act as Education Authorities. There are also a number of independent privately run schools in Scotland, many of which come under the umbrella of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools.

Inspections and audits of educational standards are conducted by three bodies: the Care Inspectorate inspects care standards in pre-school provision; Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education within Education Scotland is responsible for the inspection of pre-school, primary, education, further and community education; with the Scottish office of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA Scotland) responsible for higher education.

The links below will take you to the website for each of the 32 local authorities. Alternatively, you can download the map below (published courtesy of the Scottish Executive).