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Attending school

As a parent, you are legally responsible for making sure that your child is educated. This usually means going to school, although some parents choose to educate their child at home.

This Scottish Government parent guide to school attendance includes information on:

  • what to do if you child is ill and will be off school
  • holidays during term-time
  • truancy.

When will my child start 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. Local authorities can make arrangements for children to start in the August when they are four, if they will turn five by the end of February.

Deferring school

If you would like your child to start school later than the local authority would expect them to start, you should discuss this with your local authority as early as possible.

At what age will my child leave school?

In Scotland, if your child's 16th birthday falls within or between March and September, they can leave school in the May of that year. If their birthday falls between October and February, they can leave at the start of the winter holidays.

Useful documents

PDF file: School education in Scotland - A guide for refugees (271 KB) -  Information about the school system in Scotland, including when children start and finish school and what children study.

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