April 30, 2006

Education, Education, Education


This is the main entrance of my school so I thought I'd spend today giving you a flavour of the Scottish education system. Children start primary school at the age of 5 (sometimes 4) and spend 7 years in primary education (P1 to P7). The first four years of secondary school (S1 to S4) are compulsory. Pupils can leave once they're 16 but can stay on to S5 and S6 if they wish. There is no graduation certificate or ceremony. Pupils sit national exams in S4 (Standard Grades), S5 and S6 (Highers and Advanced Highers). The results they achieve in S5 and S6 will determine what universities and courses they get into. The most able pupils will already have achieved what they need to get in to University by the end of S5, so S6 can be a year for deeper study into potential university courses, a chance to do new subjects or become more involved in the school and the community. For those with a conditional offer from University, this system allows a second chance to get what they need by re-sitting exams they missed out on first time around. The system is not perfect, but it's the best one we've got!

9 comments:

Nicola said...

Interesting description of your school system. It's a bit different from ours.

Denton said...

Great description of your school system. It is very similar to ours with the exception of S5 and S6. We have the equivalant of S5 but not S6.

Nerissa said...

The exams that they sit: Is the first called O-level and the second called A-level? Or something like that? Are they even called those anymore?

Eric said...

This photo reminds me of why I'm glad I'm out of school. Great lesson on Scottish education as well. Merci!

Grant F said...

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland they sit GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) and then A-levels. They used to sit O-levels.

In Scotland, Standard Grades took over from O-Grades. The Higher remains the same - more or less, and Advanced Higher replaced CSYS (Certificate of Sixth Year Studies).

There are lots more besides, but I don't want to complicate matters!!

Nerissa said...

Yikes! That all sounds very confusing. Thanks for refraining to explain more ;-)

Louise said...

Interesting- Thanks for this. Is it still true that most people prefer to send their students to govt schools rather than private schools in Scotland?

Grant F said...

Louise - for the most part you're right. Scotland has the lowest percentage of pupils in fee-paying schools in any part of the UK. Except Edinburgh! The City of Edinburgh Council area has the highest percentage! Edinburgh has a long tradition of merchant schools, going back long before the notion of education for all. These schools still exist today and attract pupils from a wide area. Also former pupils will almost always send their children to the same school!

Sam said...

I think the system sounds quite sensible to me!