Published: 17 Nov 2021  |  Category: Education  |  Stage: We have welcomed a family

Education in Scotland

Find more information to support young refugees going to school in Scotland


All of the children in the family you welcome are entitled to access education when they arrive in Scotland. They are automatically entitled to the same provision as a Scottish child. The Local Authority will determine how to assess the support required for children who need language support and are 16 and over. There will be options for support open to the family you welcome, and you should feel able to support them to make the right decisions for themselves. 

English as an Additional Language

For children where English is not their first language, there is support available and this will vary across Local Authorities. For more information look at Scottish Refugee Council’s factsheet on Education, which discusses additional support.

16+ Education

Refugee children sometimes face barriers to secondary education, where they need support because of their English language levels. Legislation is clear; local authorities must support children who have English as an additional language; however, local authorities will meet this obligation differently. Sometimes a local authority will provide support through secondary schools, or through colleges and ESOL courses.  This will have to be agreed between families and the local authority and as a group, you may be able to assist parents in navigating this process.

Further Education and Higher Education

People who arrive through Community Sponsorship can access further and/or higher education on the same basis as Scottish residents. For more information look at Scottish Refugee Council’s factsheet on Education.  You may also find it useful to read the guide produced for Community Sponsorship Groups by Refugee Support Network

Failte Edinburgh, a Community Sponsorship group who have welcomed a family, kindly shared with us the below attached document. The document is a simplified guide to the Scottish education system, which they used to help the welcomed family better understand the school system in their nation. The group are happy for other groups in Scotland to share the guide with families they welcome. Many thanks to Failte Edinburgh for sharing this with us!


A Guide to School in Scotland - by Failte Edinburgh [123.3KB] Download .PDF