Childcare and Schools
Information about school, education and care for your children.
The University of Edinburgh offers a Workplace Nursery Scheme enabling employees a tax efficient salary sacrifice scheme to pay for childcare facilities. The Workplace Salary Exchange Scheme is offered at the Arcadia Nurseries situated on the Kings Building and Easter Bush Campuses.
Based at King's Buildings, Arcadia brings together the childcare experience of the long-established teams at the Uni-Tots Nursery and the Day Nursery.
For more information please visit Arcadia's website:
You are under no obligation to place your child in University's nursery. There are many other childcare options in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh council website provides information about childcare across the City. You will find information on childminders, playgroups, crèches, nursery schools and private day nurseries.
Childcare in the Private Sector can be expensive in Edinburgh, and in the UK as a whole. However, the government does offer a scheme of funded childcare places for 3 - 4 year olds up to a maximum of 600 hours per year. The Scottish Family Information Service website provides free and impartial advice on childcare and funded places. Please visit using the link below:
Once you have found a childcare provider you can visit the Education Scotland website which publishes inspection reports for all schools, nurseries and childminders in the area.
Education in Britain is compulsory for children between 5 and 16 years of age.
Children in Scotland usually start primary school between 4 and a half and 5 and a half years old.
The table below gives you an idea of the school years and average ages of children in that year.
There are two main types of school in the UK, state and independent schools. State Schools make up the majority of schools and are funded by the government. There is no fee for your children to attend these schools. Independent schools require a fee for your child to study there, although there are bursaries available.
|School Year||Child's Age at start of School year (August)|
|P1||4.5 - 5.5|
|P2||5.5 - 6.5|
|P3||6.5 - 7.5|
|P4||7.5 - 8.5|
|P5||8.5 - 9.5|
|P6||9.5 - 10.5|
|P7||10.5 - 11.5|
|S1||11.5 - 12.5|
|S2||12.5 - 13.5|
|S3||13.5 - 14.5|
|S4||14.5 - 15.5|
|S5||15.5 - 16.5|
|S6||16.5 - 17.5|
There are many good schools in and around Edinburgh, listed below are some links to the Council of Edinburgh and surrounding areas. Each site gives you more specific information on the schools in a particular area. The school your child can attend is usually dictated by the area in which you live. You cannot apply for a school place until you have an address in the area (this is not the case for fee paying/independent schools). The council has ‘catchment areas’ for each school. The council have a duty to provide schooling for your child, but if your first choice school has no places left, they may have to recommend a school further away. As Edinburgh is our capital city, many of the schools fill up quickly. Some families consider living a commutable distance from the city in order to have a larger choice of schools. East Lothian and West Lothian Councils cover school areas a commutable distance from Edinburgh.
Independent (fee-paying) Schools
Independent School, also known as fee paying schools, are responsible for their own management. The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) covers all of the fee paying schools in and around Edinburgh and Scotland. Please note that these schools are very popular, and it is common that they will have a waiting list, so early application is highly recommended.
Applications for entry at the start of a new school year should ideally be made during September/October of the previous year but deadlines should be checked with individual schools. Most schools have an entrance exam/assessment and will consider posting exams out to children whose families have yet to relocate to Scotland. Annual school fees for can vary considerably from school to school. Fees range from between £6,000 to £28,000 per year. However, all fee paying schools offer competitive bursaries, and scholarships in areas such as the arts and music, subject to specific criteria.
Schools for Children with Additional Support Needs
The City of Edinburgh currently has 11 Special Schools which provide education for children with a variety of additional support needs. All 11 schools are state schools and thus provide non-fee education. Places in these schools are funded through local authorities and are available after an evaluation process conducted by Educational Psychologists and/or Social Workers. For further information, please follow the link below.