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Relocating to Scotland, how do I find the best schools???

(68 Posts)
scottswede Fri 10-Aug-12 18:03:49

My family are moving to Scotland within the next 2 years. I have a 7 yr old and a 5 yr old. We haven't decided which area yet, so I am trying to find information on good schools. Not having much luck. Any websites I can check out. I would appreciate any help.

AgentProvocateur Fri 10-Aug-12 18:07:59

Children usually go to local school. You can find HMI reports online. They don't compare academic results like they do in England - no SATS etc. Most primary school are good, but without even a rough geographic area, it's hard to advise. Scotland is quite a big place!

mellen Fri 10-Aug-12 18:27:54

Parentzone is another website with infomation.
Most children in Scotland go to the local school. If you live within a school catchment area then you have a place at the school (in cities there will usually be a catholic school and a non catholic school that you will be in the catchment for).
Because schools are generally good and children tend to go to the local one if you do wish to make a placing request for another school you generally have a good chance of success.

LindyHemming Fri 10-Aug-12 22:43:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

indyandlara Sat 11-Aug-12 16:14:43

It will very much depend where you intend to move. Within Edinburgh for example, it is very difficult to get an out of catchment primary place.

Margerykemp Sat 11-Aug-12 17:14:10

Are you specifically trying to move to an area to get into a good school?

Are you thinking just of primary schools or looking forward to high schools?

Do you know that all Scottish state schools are comps based on catchments rather than grammars (even if they have academy/grammar) in their name?

scottswede Sun 12-Aug-12 16:33:43

Hi all.
Yes Margerykemp we are specifically looking at areas that have good schools, both primary and secondary. Or at the other end of the scale. If we are aware of areas that the schooling system isn't so good, would also help.
I don't know whether having the option of 'anywhere' in Scotland to move too is harder that having a specific destination in mind now. Too many options is possible not the easiest in this case.
I am not looking for a city location, more a mid-size town or large village.
I was hoping to find some kind of websites that have graded schools or areas in some way.
Thank you for all your advice ladies, and I think I will stay on this site as it feels like a good place for a lot of things.

LindyHemming Sun 12-Aug-12 18:20:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleLula Sun 12-Aug-12 18:28:08

East Renfrewshire (just outside Glasgow) have some of the best schools in Scotland, but they're not villages/towns - more affluent suburbs of the city.

Dunblane is good; some schools near Stirling also have an an excellent reputation.

Let me know when you have an idea of preferred areas - am a teacher, would be able to give you insider knowledge!

Margerykemp Sun 12-Aug-12 18:32:45

Yes east ren council loves to hate on about how they have the best schools in Scotland- they also have some of the nicest most expensive suburbs.

I've heard good things about gryffe high school near Houston and some of the high schools in mid fife.

JollyHockeyStick Sun 12-Aug-12 18:39:16

Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire have some excellent schools and very good quality of life.

LittleLula Sun 12-Aug-12 18:40:11

Second Gryffe - it's an excellent school. Houston/Bridge of Weir are also very lovely places to live - nice shops, cafes etc, not too far from Glasgow.

Margery - I agree lots of East Ren is super expensive but there are also some very reasonable parts like Busby and parts of Clarkston that are in the catchment for Williamwood.

scottishmummy Sun 12-Aug-12 18:40:17

council allocates you school, dependent upon your location. thats the catchment
eg Glasgow
Scotland is big where do you need to be?east eg Edinburgh, fife
west, eg Glasgow and lanarkshire
factor in travel, budget
look at property sites eg gspc gspc
house buying is Scotland completely different to system in england

LindyHemming Sun 12-Aug-12 18:43:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LindyHemming Sun 12-Aug-12 18:44:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LindyHemming Sun 12-Aug-12 18:44:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Margerykemp Sun 12-Aug-12 19:40:43

Angus, really? I've heard horror stories about some schools there.. And some of the stating on rates are truly shocking!

LindyHemming Sun 12-Aug-12 19:42:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scottishmummy Sun 12-Aug-12 19:45:37

you get good schools,bad schools
like everywhere else
chose an area then see what catchment that puts you in

TitWillow Sun 12-Aug-12 19:47:37

On the whole, there isn't the angst about school choices up here that I have witnessed down south. Children just go to the local school.

Would second the suggestion that Dunblane is good, and meets your criteria for mid sized town, but you will need a reasonable budget to get a house there!

scottishmummy Sun 12-Aug-12 19:52:12

not the angst or cheating that goes on down the road
catchment area sorts that out
but does inflate house price in certain catchment areas

LittleLula Sun 12-Aug-12 19:56:15

Margery - staying on rates are all relative to the type of children who attend the school. It's not always appropriate to force children through Highers who genuinely can't cope with them. Some need to leave school at the end of S4 to go to work/college/join the army...or give their teachers a break grin

OP - agree with a lot of what has been said about children going to the local school in Scotland. IMO, children thrive in most environments, and one thing that Scotland does do well are the 'proper comprehensives' - i.e. a broad spectrum of children from different backgrounds, different abilities etc.

I'd also say that a lot of info like exam results, staying on rates etc can be misleading (just like league tables in England - I taught there for many years too). A good school is much, much more than its results. One of the best feeder primaries for the secondary I teach in on paper doesn't look that promising, but it is a wonderful primary. I've never seen such fantastic teaching and engaged children.

If it helps, Scottish Schools online has collated info for all the primary and secondary schools in Scotland - easily found through google.

Hope this helps!

ProbablyJustGas Mon 13-Aug-12 14:15:34

@JollyHockeyStick That totally depends on where you are in Aberdeen City though! E.g. Torry =/= Cults. wink

scottswede, I am foreigner living in Scotland. If you move to one of the cities, you'll probably find there are a lot more family-oriented resources available to you than there would be in the tiny villages. However, the cities (IME only) tend to be very, very stratified. For instance, Glasgow and Aberdeen are both cities where two neighborhoods - located right next to each other - can have completely different house prices, family income levels, social issues, expectations and local school performance. If you have any contacts in Scotland, definitely ask them for advice on which neighborhoods to look for housing in.

If you are looking at Aberdeen City, keep in mind that it has some of the best and worst performing high schools in Scotland within its district, in terms of Higher exam pass rates anyway (exams which are required for university entrance). East Renfrewshire, which is on the west coast closer to Glasgow, is a district that seems to have a consistent reputation for the country's best Higher exam pass rates. But, there's more to a school than exams alone - there are opportunities for achievement outwith academics, there is behavior management, there's a lot to consider. Scotland is also moving towards a new national curriculum: CfE, which several schools are currently adjusting to.

If you need to make a decision soon, your best bet is to have a look at the high schools, see which ones appeal to you the most, and then look up their HMIE reports. From there, you should be able to find information on those schools' feeder primaries. When you finally select a few primaries, start asking the staff a lot of questions. My stepdaughter's primary has some lovely teachers, but has lately been acting as though it's beneath them to communicate with parents - e.g. my DH and I found out from the child herself last winter (age 5 at the time) that DSD gets no music lessons whatsoever anymore due to budget cuts. Keep in mind, if you expect specialist teachers to give your kids music, art and gym class, with a chance to join a school team or the kids' orchestra, you may need to go private. :-/

ProbablyJustGas Mon 13-Aug-12 14:27:37

It's a lot like anywhere else, really - if you pick a leafy, expensive suburb to live in, you're bound to get a leafy, expensive primary school to go with it. :-p

I'm not sure if you can PM me, but if you can and you need opinions on either Aberdeen or Glasgow, I'm happy to answer questions about those cities. I'm a lot more clued up on Aberdeen parentingwise - was a student in Glasgow so only knew what neighborhoods to avoid living in as a clueless foreigner having trouble with the local dialect.

jubilee10 Mon 13-Aug-12 21:25:34

The Highlands. Inverness and the Black Isle have good schools.

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