Education in the North of Scotland

World Class Education in Moray

Moray boasts a long tradition of providing top class education. 

From private schools such as the world renowned Gordonstoun – the alma matter of King Charles, three excellent local Universities in close, to more than 50 local authority schools.

Yes, there are differences to education in Scotland but many of them might be quite attractive (free early years education and no college/university tuition fees anyone?)

Read on to find out about some of the key differences in education.

Schooling and Nursery

Moray Council have a great online guide that helps parents understand their options – A parents guide to early years in Moray  (pdf)

If you want to learn a little more or apply for early learning and childcare funding please check out  Early Learning & Childcare (ELC) – Moray Council.  It has all the information you need including details of all local providers and childminders.  This is also a great source of advice if you want to learn more about career in early years or childcare.

Nursery & Early Learning/Childcare:

The Scottish Government funds 1,140 hours of early learning and childcare a year for all three, four and eligible two year olds.

Entitlement starts at the commencement of the school term immediately following their 3rd birthday and it continues until they reach school age. 

You can use these hours with a maximum of two providers up to 50 weeks a year so you have flexibility of choice. You may choose to compress the entitled hours to term time only or spread out across the year. 

And as the funding goes direct to the provider, the funding follows wherever your child is being looked after.  You just need to register your new provider.

Primary School

Primary schools in Moray are gathered in groupings known as Associated School Groups around a designated secondary school. 

They share specialist resources, events and work collectively as a team to ensure a child’s journey through primary and into secondary school is as seamless as possible. 

Each school, primary and secondary, is assigned a catchment area which dictates where you will receive a priority place. 

The Moray Council website details the different catchment zones and how to apply at a different school known as a placing request.

Starting age

Children start full time education at a slightly later age than the rest of the UK  – usually the term after their 5th birthday or if they will turn 5 during the 1st term. 

Registrations for the new school year take place in January & February each year with registrations being taken online via Admissions Procedure – Primary School – Moray Council. 

This is also the link to use for applying for a place in an older year group if arrive in Moray at any point in the school year.

There are some nuances to starting primary school in Scotland that give you more choice as a parent.

If your child’s 5th birthday falls between the first day of the school term in August and the last day of the following February, you may choose to defer entry until the following year.  There’s also an option to request early entry if your child is born after the cut-off date for enrolment.

Secondary Education

All P7 children in Moray are automatically allocated a place in the secondary school within their Associated School Group.  If you wish to apply for a secondary school outside your catchment area you must complete a placing request.  If your child is already in secondary school when you move to Moray prior educational experience will be taken into account in allocating a year group – there would be no expectation that having progressed to secondary school that a young person will be sent back to primary.

(Education information via Moray Council)

Continuing Education:

Moray boasts close proximity to three different universities with The University of the Highlands and Islands: Moray is in Elgin and Robert Gordon and Aberdeen University within easy striking distance.

If you live in Scotland and choose to study full-time at a Scottish university or college, you will not have to pay tuition fees.

Read more on tution fees in Scotland. 


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Moray Facts

Moray has 45 primary schools and 8 secondary schools and in 2017 Moray Council had responsibility for educating just over 11,900 pupils. In 2016/17 the eight secondary schools produced 928 school leavers. Some 90.7% went on to further or higher education or to gain employment.