Arfa__
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Posting on behalf of my teenage kids, as we are planning to relocate from London up to Scotland (West Lothian area), but I'd like to understand how best they can fit into the Scottish education system and when such a move would facilitate the smoothest transition for them.

Oldest is 14 (Oct birthday), in year 9, just chosen GCSEs for next Sept. She is very academic and self-motivated, keen to get into Computer Science and got her eye on Edinburgh Uni!
Youngest is 11 (April birthday), in year 7. Too early to say where he's going to go, but he's obsessed with computer games...

Initial thoughts are to hold off move 2 years, let oldest complete GCSEs at age 16 and just before youngest starts them at age 14. In this case, where would they slot in?
Would oldest go into S5 or S6 to do highers/adv highers? Would she be too old for S5? Would an FE college suit better and be academic enough? An independent school offering A-levels or IB is not likely to be affordable to us.
Would youngest go into S2 as he has a later birthday and chance to prep for Nationals? Or S3 and if so, would that be a struggle to be ready for Nationals?

Or would a move sooner/later likely suit them better and smooth the transition? If so when?

I'm not familiar with the Scottish system, so any advice is much appreciated. Thanks!
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Tiel2003
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(Original post by Arfa__)
Posting on behalf of my teenage kids, as we are planning to relocate from London up to Scotland (West Lothian area), but I'd like to understand how best they can fit into the Scottish education system and when such a move would facilitate the smoothest transition for them.

Oldest is 14 (Oct birthday), in year 9, just chosen GCSEs for next Sept. She is very academic and self-motivated, keen to get into Computer Science and got her eye on Edinburgh Uni!
Youngest is 11 (April birthday), in year 7. Too early to say where he's going to go, but he's obsessed with computer games...

Initial thoughts are to hold off move 2 years, let oldest complete GCSEs at age 16 and just before youngest starts them at age 14. In this case, where would they slot in?
Would oldest go into S5 or S6 to do highers/adv highers? Would she be too old for S5? Would an FE college suit better and be academic enough? An independent school offering A-levels or IB is not likely to be affordable to us.
Would youngest go into S2 as he has a later birthday and chance to prep for Nationals? Or S3 and if so, would that be a struggle to be ready for Nationals?

Or would a move sooner/later likely suit them better and smooth the transition? If so when?

I'm not familiar with the Scottish system, so any advice is much appreciated. Thanks!
Hello, there is someone in my year who moved up from England after completing their GCSEs with an October birthday, they joined in S5 and sat their highers, even though they are older than the rest of the year and some of the year above. They fit in fine though, so it’s no problem.

I’m not sure what an FE college is? Oh wait do you mean further education college? I don’t think that’s necessary, I’m sure there will be some good state schools in the area, although I’m unfamiliar with West Lothian. Maybe a school could offer more support regarding university applications, but I’m not sure. But unless, your daughter wants to do A-levels then I’m not sure any state schools in Scotland do that curriculum.

Your youngest would go into S3 if you waited 2 years. My school started studying for national 5s in s3 but I know some even start in s4 so I wouldn’t worry about it being too late.

I’m not entirely sure tbh on what would best suit, I don’t think leaving it later would disadvantage them. Hope this helps with answering the easier questions!!
Last edited by Tiel2003; 1 week ago
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cchloepx
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Neither choices would disadvantage your kids, I don’t think.

If you waited two years and your youngest moved into S3, they wouldn’t struggle preparing for nationals. Because in Scotland National 5s (as well as highers and advanced highers) only take a year to complete. You’ll learn all of the course content in S4. Some subjects will teach the stuff in depth in 3rd year, but you’ll still receive that teaching in 4th year.

In modern studies we learned one of our nat5 topics in S3. We went over it again in 4th year, but the two people who moved from other schools (that hadn’t taught that topic in 3rd year) did fine.

The only thought I have is that if you moved in two years, would your eldest go into 5th or 6th year? Because moving into 6th year could possibly disadvantage her, especially in applying to Edinburgh, because by that time most people will already have 3/4 maybe 5 highers, and in 6th year will be taking on both advanced highers and other highers. But if she hasn’t done any highers in the past, she won’t be able to take advanced highers.
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thepunmaster.e
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Good thoughts from other posters and I won't repeat what has been said. Something to think of though, if you wait 2 years to move your daughter will not be eligible for government aid tuition at a Scottish uni, as you have to live in Scotland for 3 years before you are eligible. I don't like the idea of people moving simply to get tuition fees but that is clearly not the case with your situation, so I think it's something to be aware of. Your son will be eligible either way, but your daughter won't be if you wait 2 years.

Also as someone who is a S6, I don't think your daughter would be too old to join S5, (though she would almost certainly be the oldest in her year), but keep in mind if she does this she will turn 19 almost as soon as she starts uni. I personally wouldn't care about this but I know some people do and she could potentially be 2 years older than other people in first year, as some Scottish students go at 17.

Best of luck!
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macrophage
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(Original post by Arfa__)
Posting on behalf of my teenage kids, as we are planning to relocate from London up to Scotland (West Lothian area), but I'd like to understand how best they can fit into the Scottish education system and when such a move would facilitate the smoothest transition for them.

Oldest is 14 (Oct birthday), in year 9, just chosen GCSEs for next Sept. She is very academic and self-motivated, keen to get into Computer Science and got her eye on Edinburgh Uni!
Youngest is 11 (April birthday), in year 7. Too early to say where he's going to go, but he's obsessed with computer games...

Initial thoughts are to hold off move 2 years, let oldest complete GCSEs at age 16 and just before youngest starts them at age 14. In this case, where would they slot in?
Would oldest go into S5 or S6 to do highers/adv highers? Would she be too old for S5? Would an FE college suit better and be academic enough? An independent school offering A-levels or IB is not likely to be affordable to us.
Would youngest go into S2 as he has a later birthday and chance to prep for Nationals? Or S3 and if so, would that be a struggle to be ready for Nationals?

Or would a move sooner/later likely suit them better and smooth the transition? If so when?

I'm not familiar with the Scottish system, so any advice is much appreciated. Thanks!
Don’t really know what a FE college is, but your daughter could probably join S5 after doing her GCSEs without being too old. However I would say that Highers might be a big jump from GCSEs since Advanced Highers are more equivalent to first year university material, that’s something to maybe bear in mind.

if you move sooner she could start in S3 where her age places her and have pretty much no troubles doing nationals. At my school we split the National 5 content pretty evenly over 2 years but it might be worth contacting some schools to see what they do as this varies, it might help you decide when to move.

Oh, and by the way your daughter has good taste in unis (may be a little biased here lol)
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StriderHort
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(Original post by macrophage)
Don’t really know what a FE college is.
Further Education (As opposed to Uni/Graduate = Higher Education), tends to deal in more vocational courses, also generally offers Highers ect.
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macrophage
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(Original post by StriderHort)
Further Education (As opposed to Uni/Graduate = Higher Education), tends to deal in more vocational courses, also generally offers Highers ect.
Ahhhh I see (sorry my brain has died during lockdown)

In that case from personal experience most doing Highers at FE colleges seem to take 1 or 2 opposed to the 4/5 usually done at school. Our school takes people to the local college to do subjects not offered by the school itself but I don’t think many school age people go there full time to do Highers
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StriderHort
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(Original post by macrophage)
Ahhhh I see (sorry my brain has died during lockdown)

In that case from personal experience most doing Highers at FE colleges seem to take 1 or 2 opposed to the 4/5 usually done at school. Our school takes people to the local college to do subjects not offered by the school itself but I don’t think many school age people go there full time to do Highers
I couldn't guess the stats tbh but you're probably right. I did highers waaay back at college in the 90s and took 2 plus a handful of modules to bulk the timetable out to 'bursary' level. This is was mostly as i really didn't get on with my school and wanted away.

I suspect a lot more adult learners used to come back and do highers ect at FE colleges as a gateway to a University, but i've seen access courses more and more take over that exact role and edge many colleges out of the picture. and likewise i'm seeing colleges adapt their own access programs for their higher education programs bypassing highers.

(I just had a wee look at my college from a few years ago and they do seem to offer a full range of Nat 4/5/Highers if you want them, apparently doing 3 is the fulltime norm)
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Arfa__
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Cool, thanks for the info, all very useful.

It does sound like the best plan is for my eldest to do GCSE's in England, then do S5 Highers and S6 Adv Highers at a Scottish school. She was a little concerned about the age difference and the thought that it would be akin to dropping back a year.
I can see leaving England earlier also working, but leaving this year before she starts year 10 will be a tough timescale considering current lockdown restrictions. Moving a bit later seems counter-intuitive for her to do half her GCSE's then ditch them.

Definitely sounds more straight forward for my youngest, who could at the latest, slot into S3 and in plenty of time for Nationals.

I only mentioned the FE college option, as it's pretty common for kids in England to leave school at 16 after GCSE's to then do 2 years of A-Levels at a '6th Form' FE college, as an alternative to staying on at school to do A-Levels. I did things this way myself back in the '90s and loved this separation.
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Tiel2003
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(Original post by Arfa__)
Cool, thanks for the info, all very useful.

It does sound like the best plan is for my eldest to do GCSE's in England, then do S5 Highers and S6 Adv Highers at a Scottish school. She was a little concerned about the age difference and the thought that it would be akin to dropping back a year.
I can see leaving England earlier also working, but leaving this year before she starts year 10 will be a tough timescale considering current lockdown restrictions. Moving a bit later seems counter-intuitive for her to do half her GCSE's then ditch them.

Definitely sounds more straight forward for my youngest, who could at the latest, slot into S3 and in plenty of time for Nationals.

I only mentioned the FE college option, as it's pretty common for kids in England to leave school at 16 after GCSE's to then do 2 years of A-Levels at a '6th Form' FE college, as an alternative to staying on at school to do A-Levels. I did things this way myself back in the '90s and loved this separation.
No problem! Good luck!!
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