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Historical records relating to education in Scotland are held by a variety of different archives and by other public and private institutions in Scotland. The topic of education in Scotland is very wide. An important date in school education in Scotland was 1873, when public schools, funded by local taxation, were set up. Prior to this schooling had been carried out by church, burgh and private and charitable institutions. Scotland has had universities since medieval times. Technical colleges proliferated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For further details click on one of the topics below:

Schooling in Scotland before 1873
Schooling in Scotland after 1872
Scottish Universities and Colleges

For more information about school records go to the Knowledge Base entry on School Records.

Links and bibliography
You can also find information about education records relating to Scottish education at the following websites and published guides:

The National Archives of Scotlandís website includes a fuller history of Scottish education than the one given here, and has information about education sources, including school inspection reports, government records and the records of educational bodies.

For the records of a particular university look in the SCAN Directory under Contact Details for the website and inquiry address of the relevant university.

There are chapters on schools and education records in Cecil Sinclair, Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors (HMSO, 1997) and Tracing Scottish Local History (HMSO, 1994). For sources relating to the history of school education before 1872 you should refer to James Craigie, A Bibliography of Scottish Education before 1872 (Scottish Council for Research in Education, 1970) and the article in the journal, Scottish Archives, listed below.

For information on schools, universities and education within parliamentary papers see J A Haythornthwaite (ed.), Scotland in the Nineteenth Century: an analytical bibliography of material relating to Scotland in Parliamentary Papers, 1800-1900 (Aldershot, 1993).

Volume 3 of the Scottish Records Association journal, Scottish Archives, contains four articles on sources for education history in Scotland: 'Sources for Scottish schooling before 1872', 'Sources for the Study of Education in the Scottish Record Office' (now the National Archives of Scotland), 'Sources for the history of Scottish teacher education in the twentieth century', 'Researching the Education of Middle Class Girls'. A copy of this can be purchased from the Scottish Records Association via the SCAN Bookshop.

Alison Lindsay (National Register of Archives for Scotland); Robin Urquhart (SCAN).


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I obtain confirmation of my own school examination results?

2. Where can I obtain information about the examination results of another person (e.g. an ancestor, or the subject of a biography)?

3. Where can I obtain confirmation of University examination results?

4. Where can I find information about Scottish schools in parliamentary papers?

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

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

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

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

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

10. Will I be able to get hold of essays, artwork and other class work I did at school?