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  My ancestor was a school pupil

Scottish Schooling
The key date for researching schooling in Scotland is 1872. Before this schools were run by churches, charities and burghs. Many families, who could afford to do so, paid for the services of private tutors. Information about the schooling of the vast majority of Scottish children in this period does not exist. In 1872 a system of public schools, controlled by elected school boards and funded partly by local rates and partly by pupil fees, operated in Scotland. In most areas of Scotland the records produced by schools are still in the hands of the schools themselves, but some local authority archives hold school records for their areas. It can be a time-consuming process searching for school records relating to individual pupils, particularly if you do not know which school your ancestor attended. Pupil records for most schools prior to 1900 do not survive.

What to do now
The text above is a summary of longer articles on education and education records in the SCAN Knowledge Base. You can read these by clicking on 'Education', 'School Admission Records' or 'School Log Books'.

The Knowledge Base also contains answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Click on one of these for an answer compiled by Scotland's archivists, or click on the Knowledge Base for a wider selection.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where will I find records relating to a pupil who attended school prior to 1873?

2. Where will I find records relating to a pupil who attended a public school after 1872?

3. Where will I find records relating to a pupil who attended a private school after 1872?

4. How can I find out which schools operated in a particular place at a particular time?

5. Where will I find photographs of schools and old school class photographs?

To enter the Knowledge Base click here.