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The Scottish education system

Scotland has its own education system, which is very closely related to that operating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some of the main qualifications available are described below:

National Qualifications

National Qualifications cover a range of qualifications including Standard Grades, National Units, National Courses, and Scottish Group Awards.

Standard Grades: Instead of GCSEs, students in Scotland study for Standard Grades in a broad range of subjects. Like GCSEs, Standard Grade examinations are generally taken by pupils aged 16.

Highers: After Standard Grades, students often study for Highers, which are offered in a broad range of subjects, academic and vocational. Highers and Advanced Highers are recognised for entrance to universities throughout the UK.

Scottish Group Awards: Scottish Group Awards are made up of National Courses and Units. These qualifications are designed to prepare people for entry to further and higher education, training or employment.)

Scottish Vocational Qualifications

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are work-related programmes that are available in five levels from SVQ1 to SQV5, with SQV5 being the highest.

Higher Nationals

Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNC and HND) in Scotland are awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Agency. These cover the knowledge and skills needed for training towards technical jobs at a middle-management level.

Find out more about Scotland’s education system by visiting the
Scottish Qualifications Agency and the Education UK Scotland websites.

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