Expat parents will be glad to know that the standard of education in Aberdeen is generally high. With two universities that date back centuries and still rank among the best in Scotland, learning is part of the city’s fabric.
Schools in Aberdeen are either state-run or private. With only a small minority of children in Aberdeen attending private school, it's well worth considering state school as an option. Education Scotland does regular inspections of all schools, the results of which can be accessed on the Education Scotland website.
All of Aberdeen’s state schools (and all private schools but one) follow the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, which divides schooling into two main phases. The first phase is a broad general education, starting with nursery at age 3 and continuing through seven years of primary school (P1 to P7) and three years of secondary school (S1 to S3). The senior phase starts in S4 at age 16 and concludes in S6 at age 18.
Public schools in Aberdeen
Expats can choose from a variety of primary and secondary schools in the city, many of which have good reputations.
Pupils generally attend a school based on where they live. Those wanting to attend a school outside of their catchment area can submit an out-of-zone placing request. These requests are usually granted as long as the school in question has places available.
Private schools in Aberdeen
There aren't many options for private schools (known as independent schools) in Aberdeen. With few to choose from, parents may find it difficult to secure a spot for their child. Unlike public schools, private schools charge fees. Considering that there are also good public education options available in Aberdeen, many expats arriving in Aberdeen decide that private education is an unnecessary expense.
That said, there are a number of benefits associated with private schools, such as smaller class sizes, superior facilities and diverse extra-curricular programmes. If expats decide to go this route, it's best to enquire and apply early.
International schools in Aberdeen
There is just one international school in Aberdeen: the International School of Aberdeen, a school for children between 3 to 18. The school offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. The IB curriculum is standardised and taught at more than 5,000 schools around the globe, easing the process of transitioning between two schools, even in different countries.
Special-educational needs in Aberdeen
Aberdeen's special needs programme is based on three major facets: inclusivity, early intervention and participation, and effective targeting of resources. These facets define the city's approach to catering for special needs.
Different levels of care are allocated according to each child's needs. Milder cases may only require assistance from the child's class teacher (universal support), while slightly more severe cases might warrant assistance on a school-wide basis involving several staff members (targeted support). Children who require the highest level of care will receive specialised assistance from multiple parties, both internal and external to the school (multi-agency support).
Tutors in Aberdeen
Tutors can easily be found in Aberdeen, both online and in person. Expat children in particular can benefit from tutors in a number of ways, such as getting to grips with the Scottish curriculum, learning English or maintaining the family's mother tongue.
More general skills can also be taught by tutors, like study skills and essay writing. They can also help students brush up for major exams.
►Learn about the city's best neighbourhoods in Areas and Suburbs in Aberdeen
Are you an expat living in Aberdeen?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Aberdeen. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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