by Kristinn Hermannsson

Key Facts

  • All 3 and 4 year olds, as well as vulnerable 2 year olds, are eligible for Early Learning and Childcare of 600 hours per annum. This amounts to approximately 3 hours a day during term time.

  • 96% of students attend state funded schools. Just over 15% of these are denominational (mostly Roman Catholic).

  • Overall 4% of students in Scotland attend independent schools. However, a quarter of students in Edinburgh go to the independent sector.

  • According to the OECD's PISA survey, secondary school students in Scotland are at the OECD average in maths, but above average in reading and science.

  • 10% of Scots aged 15ă24 are classified as not in employment, education or training (NEET). This is slightly below the UK average and just below the median of countries returning data to Eurostat, but double the lowest rate found in Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway.

  • Among EU and affiliated countries Scotland has the highest share of tertiary educated working age population, at 46.5%. When compared to European regions Scotland is superseded in this regard by a handful of NUTS-2 regions, including London and the Nordic capital cities of Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki.

  • In Eastern Scotland, 50% of the working age population has completed tertiary education and ranks fifth in this regard among European NUTS-2 regions.

  •  When looking at the share of low-skilled persons of working age, Scotland compares less favourably with Europe and comes in at the median, with 19.2% of the working age population having completed lower secondary education or less. 

  • Between 2009/10 and 2012/13 the number of students attending further education colleges in Scotland fell by 31%. Over the same time period the number of hours of teaching fell by 11%. This smaller reduction in hours occurred as the composition of the courses offered changed, with less emphasis on short courses.

  • Scottish universities obtain a disproportionate share of UK research council funding (14.7% compared to a population share of around 8.4%) and do even better in terms of research funding from industry, at around 17% of the UK total.

For the full chapter, please see: Hermannsson, K. (2017) The Education Sector in Scotland. In Gibb, K., Maclennan, D., McNulty, K., & Comerford, M. (eds) Scottish Economy - A Living Book. London: Routledge. Available via this link.