Parentzone Scotland
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Primary school

Children in Scotland usually start primary school in the August term when they are aged between four-and-a-half and five-and-a-half years old. Your child will be at primary school for seven years before progressing to secondary school.

From age three (at an early learning and childcare setting), through primary school and until the end of S3, your child will receive a rounded education. This stage of Curriculum for Excellence (Scotland's 3-18 curriculum) is called the broad general education.

The broad general education is divided into five curriculum levels. Most children at primary school will be learning at the early, first or second level. However, this is a general guide: your child will progress at their own pace through the curriculum levels. The curriculum is designed to be flexible to permit careful planning for those with additional support needs, including those who have a learning difficulty and those who are particularly able or talented.

For more specific information about your child or their learning, you should contact their school.

Supporting your child's learning

By working closely with your child's school, you play an important role in helping your child achieve their potential. Find ideas and suggestions on how you can support your child's learning at home.

Preparing for changes

'Transitions' are what schools call the changes that your child experiences as they move from stage to stage or between schools.

Primary school staff should work with early learning and childcare staff and with secondary school staff in the run-up to transitions. Your child's school should also work closely with you and your child to ensure that transitions go smoothly. However, please speak to your local school if you have any particular questions or concerns.

Find further information and advice:

A searchable directory of all schools in Scotland (including independent schools) is available to help you find a school.

Additional support needs

All children and young people need support to help them learn. Some children require support that is in addition to, or different from, children or young people of the same age to ensure they benefit from education. 

If your child has a specific support need (LINK!), the school will plan together with you and other appropriate agencies (for example health services, social work) to meet your child's learning and support needs. Planning is particularly important at transition points, for example when moving from early learning and childcare settings (ELC) to primary school or from primary to secondary school. It is important that schools and local authorities start planning for these transitions early.

Further information

From the Parenting across Scotland website.

Learning resources for parents to support their child’s learning.

Information for parents with learning disabilities.

Our newsletters provide the latest information on education news and events, as well as details of resources and activities to help you support your child's learning