Scottish Education System - Please Explain!

(17 Posts)
prettybird Sat 11-May-13 12:55:22

Ds is a placing request at his secondary school, a whole 5 minutes further walk away than the one he should have gone to.

We thought we'd have to do a placing request to his primary school but found out at the last minute that due to a strange dog's leg in its catchment zone, we were actually in its catchment all along!grin

Last summer his primary school was apparently 2 kids away from not being able to accept even sibling placing requests (ie only two children who didn't already have a sibling at the school had their placing request accepted) - and even that involved shuffling classes all the way up the school as a class and a half were leaving but two classes were coming in.

His secondary school says that they usually get about 30 placing requests and although that technically takes them to capacity, they've never had to turn down placing requests as they can manipulate their capacity.

At least in Scotland we do have set catchments so you know which school is your catchment school. It seems in England the catchment can vary from year to year, depending on how popular the school is and how many children fulfil the admission criteria.

CecilyP Sat 11-May-13 09:01:44

But you get a choice in Scotland too. A placement request can be granted as long as a school has places over once all catchment pupils have been placed. If the request isn't granted, at least you have your catchment school to fall back on - not an unpopular school miles away for those in an educational black hole. It is also possible to appeal and people do do so - perhaps not in such large numbers as in England.

prettybird Sat 11-May-13 08:54:18

Because of the ability to (genuinely) defer, a child can be as old as nearly 6 when they start in P1. In practice, the oldest are likely to be November deferrals, so would be 5 and 10 months. You don't need to be assessed if you want to defer a November/December child, but you won't get continued funding for nursery unless you do.

I know of one February child who wasn't deferred 'cos his nursery didn't suggest it and who has really struggled 'cos he just wasn't ready for school. Unusually, he may end up repeating P2 - the school and the educational psychologist felt that P1 was too much of an introductory year for him to repeat. it was obvious he wasn't ready for school - I think the nursery really let his mum down sad.

Ds is a September birthday and he is definitely very much towards the young end of the year - despite technically being right in the middle.

lisson Thu 09-May-13 19:56:00

Its not really a choice janey223, it just seems that way.

Read all the threads about appeals (and failed appeals) and you will see that you can only get your school of choice if you meet the admission criteria or can somehow persuade the appeal panel that your child needs to be in this school for some reason other than they deserve a good education!

janey223 Thu 09-May-13 18:29:49

I think the Scottish system is better but do like that you have a choice of schools in England in theory, but seems a lottery in reality. In Scotland you go to your local school, occasionally people go to the next local.

Euphemia Thu 09-May-13 17:50:20

IME the Scots are better educated

smile

Margetts Thu 09-May-13 14:53:31

lisson: Living in Scotland, thats good to know!!
Personally I think the higher sysytem is better in Scotland because you get to study more subjects which gives you a broader educaution

lisson Thu 09-May-13 13:23:56

One of the differences is that in England the average starting age is 4 1/2 years old. (Some are 5 that week, some were 4 last week but the average is 4.6).
Whereas in Scotland the average age is 5 (youngest possible would be 4.5 and the oldest would be 5.5).
Then in England, they get 14 years of education before university but in Scotland its 12 or 13.
However, after working in both places, IME the Scots are better educated! (maybe I'll say that in AIBU one day when i am feeling brave!).

Weegiemum Thu 09-May-13 12:17:00

To give an actual example, my dd1 was born Feb 2000, started school in August 2005 age 5y6m, did 7 years then moved to High School (s1) in August 2012, age 12y6m.

Ds also feb so follows same path.

Dd2 born end November 2003, so started school in August 2008 age 4y9m.

You never get children starting before age 4 and a half.

Everyone is guaranteed a place at their catchment school, both primary and secondary. You can put in placing requests for other schools, either in a different catchment area, or for Catholic school, or for Gaelic language provision.

There's no 11 plus or grammars, the secondary state system is (but for a couple of very specific examples), all comprehensive.

If you are interested about secondary, then it's worth checking the SQA website as things a in mi change to Curriculum for Excellence at the moment.

janey223 Thu 09-May-13 12:08:37

Take standard grades in s4 at 15-16, anyone with a dec:jan/feb birthday must stay on into s5 doing highers until they turn 16

Dead easy - you start at your local school aged between 4.5 and 5.5, do seven years, then automatically go to your local secondary for five or six years, leaving school at 17 or 18.

lisson Thu 09-May-13 11:40:13

How many years do children do at schools in Scotland? It used to be 7 at primary and between 4 & 6 at secondary (called P1, P2, ..., P7 and S1, S2, etc). There is no such thing as "reception year" but often nurseries are linked to primary schools.

We did o'grades in year 4 (aged 15 or 16) and highers in year 5 and sixth year studies/ more highers in year 6. there aren't such things as sixth form colleges.

IME Children can be kept back to repeat a year or go into the year above if they are up to it.

Holidays are different too from the english system and what you get varies by area e.g. in September/ October.

Not hijacking OP, just thought you might be interested to know some of the other differences too. My info is almost definitely out of date though, so hopefully someone will correct what I've written.

both dd and ds have several undeferred children in their classes with Jan/Feb birthdays. They seem to do ok. DD has a Nov and ds has an Oct birthday so they are at the younger end of their classes.

Margetts Thu 09-May-13 11:09:04

You can also choose to defer of you child's birthday is between September and December but you need to get DC assessed. The majority of people send there child unless there are social or medical reasons.
In my limited experience most people's who's child's birthday is in February choose to defer.

the cut off point is the end of February for children starting school that year in August. If your child is born in Jan/Feb then you have automatic rights to defer your child starting school until the next school year. The march birthdays in the school year are the older children in the year (unless you have deferred) with the Jan/Feb children being the youngest in the year.

If you turn 4 before the 1st March then you would be due to start school in the August of that same year at a minimum age of 4½ years. If your birthday falls on or after 1st March then you will start school the year after at nearly 5½ years old.

DorisShutt Thu 09-May-13 10:14:20

School year runs late August to late June, but the dates for acceptance to years is from March to February.

So, if your child is born between March-August they'll be 5 when they start school, September-February then they'll be 4.

WhatsThisNoise Thu 09-May-13 10:07:07

I am trying to get my head around the scottish education system.

In England, the year runs September 1st to August 31st. From what I can gather, in Scotland it is March 1st to February 28th/29th. But they start school in August, right?

(these years are just example)
A child born between March 2012 & August 2012 will start school one year, but a child born between September 2012 and February 2013 will start the previous year - yet still be in the same year group?? How does that work??

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