and a map.
We have an extensive printed collection of Scottish school exam papers, which covers:
- Leavers certificates
- Scottish Certificate of Education
- Ordinary grade
- Standard grade
- Intermediates one and two
- Higher grade and Advanced Highers
- Certificate of Sixth Year Studies
- National five and six.
We have started a programme to digitise all Scottish exam papers from 1888 to 2005. You can access over 80 years of papers via our Scottish exam papers resource.
Scottish School Certificate papers
from past and present.
The digitised papers contain examination papers for the School Leaving Certificate 1888-1961 and the Scottish Certificate of Education 1962-1963.
Produced by the Scotch (later 'Scottish') Education Department, these exam papers show how education developed in Scotland over this period, with a growing choice of subjects. Comparing them with current exam papers, there are obvious differences in the content and standards of the questions, and also in the layout and use of language.
The 1872 Education (Scotland) Act
The Education (Scotland) Act 1872 laid the basis for the modern non-sectarian system of public schooling. It made education compulsory for all children aged 5 to 13, except for children who achieved a certificate in the 'three "R"s' — reading, writing and arithmetic.
Locally elected school boards took over existing parish and burgh schools, and the churches handed their schools to the school boards without charge.
Scotland's independent committee of council on education was formed in 1885, and was known as the Scotch Education Department. The first permanent secretary of this department was Henry Craik (1846-1927).
Scottish Leaving Certificate
in the Library's collections.
In 1888, the Scottish Leaving Certificate was introduced for secondary pupils. This was examined by university professors.
In 1897, just under five percent of pupils attended a secondary school in Scotland. The real priority for children from working class backgrounds was to find work and begin earning a wage.
Scottish Certificate of Education
The early 20th century saw increased state intervention in education, as schools came to be seen as an important agency for social welfare.
In 1959, the Association of Directors of Education proposed an Examination Board, and four years later the Scottish Certificate of Education was established.