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TOP-10 prestigious schools in Scotland where international students can get high-quality secondary education

Education information

Studying in one of TOP-10 secondary schools in Scotland has many advantages: deep knowledge and practical skills, flexible approach to curriculum, high-qualified teachers. Due to the list of TOP-10 secondary schools in Ireland, you will definitely make the right choice. 

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Educational system in Scotland

Students begin primary education in 5 years old, it takes 7 years. At the age of 12 years, students start secondary education.

At the age of 15 students pass exams and receive the Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE Standard Grade) - this document corresponds to the English one known as GCSE. Then, students continue education in colleges or schools (to get Higher Grade, a higher certificate of complete secondary education). Higher Grade is issued to students who have additionally completed a course of study from 16 to 18 years old and have successfully passed 5-6 subject examinations.

In addition, students can study for one additional year and get the Scottish Certificate of Sixth Year Studies (SCSYS) - also instead of it, there is Advanced Higher certificate. This is an analogue of prestigious A-level programme. In some schools it is possible to take exams and get English A-level - the choice remains only at the discretion of the student, both certificates are prestigious and highly listed on admission to universities.

Studying in Scotland for international students

In total, there are 43 colleges in Scotland that provide special or post-secondary education services. This is an opportunity to get the chosen qualification (academic or professional) - from the elementary level to the equivalent of a diploma of higher education. The list of specialties, subjects and directions is quite extensive:

  • media
  • basics of business
  • design
  • internal and external design
  • information technology
  • finance
  • health
  • electronics
  • tourism
  • sports.

The year of full-time study entitles you to a Higher National Certificate, and two Year of full-time education - Higher Education Diploma.

If the student does not plan to enter college, he can continue studying Foundation programme or prefer SIFP: this is a single preparatory programme that meets highest international standards. When students complete one of these programs, they have really high chances to enter prestigious Scottish high schools.

Bachelor's degree studies (undergraduate) usually last 4 years: the first two involve studying a large number of basic specialties, and the next two are devoted to studying the specialty and the chosen profile and direction.

A distinctive feature of Scottish high schools is flexible combined curriculum: students can choose several subjects, even if they are taught in different faculties, and attend classes of their own choice. Such combination of courses makes it possible to obtain a useful double degree (joint degree) - for example, a diploma in economics and accounting. Also, the famous "sandwich courses" are very attractive for foreign students: they provide an opportunity, in addition to academic preparation, to get valuable practical experience and internships in companies based on the chosen profile.

Top 5 best schools in Scotland 2021

1 Fettes College
2   Glenalmond College Perth
3 Strathallan School
4 St. Leonards School
5 Dollar Academy

Learning programs-summary information

Name Meaning Equivalent Min. age Duration, 
Next stage Cost
GCSE General certificate of secondary education secondary education (non-accomplished) 14 1–2 A-Levels 15,000 USD+
A-Levels Advanced level secondary education (accomplished) 16 2 University 15,000 USD+
BTEC Business and Technology Education Board secondary special education 14 2–3 University/ work 15,000 USD+
Oxbridge Preparation Preparing for Oxford and Cambridge secondary education (accomplished) 17 1 University 15,000 USD+
International Baccalaureate International baccalaureate secondary education (accomplished) 16 2 University 18,000 USD+
Foundation/ Pathway Year Preparatory year admission to the 1st year of university 17 1 University 14,000 USD+
NCUK The Northern consortium 2 year university 17,5 1 2 year University of NCUK 13,000 USD+
Special Preparation (Medics/Math/Business) Specialized training - 14 optional optional 4,000 USD+
Academic English Academic English Language school 8 + 6–12 months School or University 8,000 USD+

Advantages and disadvantages of English schools

Advantages Disadvantages
The opportunity to enter the best universities in England, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Europe, the world Expensive
High quality of education and academic standards Strong workload
Perfect English after graduation The need to change the social environment; it takes time to adapt
Useful contacts The difficulty of choosing the most suitable school for the child, requires a qualified specialist

Top 21 best boarding colleges in England 2021

Top 35 best schools in the USA - 2020 Smapse rankings

1      North Broward Preparatory School
2 Phillips Academy Andover
3 The Storm King School New York
4 Red Bank Catholic High School
5 Windermere Preparatory School
6 Shattuck St Mary's School
7 Cheshire Academy
8 Cate School
9 Ross School
10 Deerfield Academy
11 The Village School
12 Amerigo Los Angeles – Bishop Montgomery High School
13 Webb Schools
14 Kent School USA
15 The Winchendon School
16 Darlington School
17 Marian Catholic High School Amerigo Education
18 Grier School
19 The MacDuffie School
20 CATS Academy Boston
21 The Cambridge School of Weston
22 Milton Academy
23 Amerigo Education Napa Valley
24 American Hebrew Academy
25 Northfield Mount Hermon School

Mater Dei Catholic High School San Diego Amerigo Education


American University Preparatory School Los Angeles

28 Webb Schools
29 Kent School USA
30 Groton School
31 Maine Central Institute
32 The Lawrenceville School
33 Grand River Academy Оhio
34 Saint John Paul II Academy
35 Chicago North Shore

Top 14 best schools in Switzerland 2021

Top 12 best schools in Canada 2021

Best boarding schools in England - 2021 Smapse rankings

1 Cardiff Sixth Form College
2 Sevenoaks School
3 Queen Ethelburga's College
4 Brighton College

The National Mathematics and Science College NMSC

6 Concord College
7 Westbourne School
8 Wellington College
9 Rossall School
10 d'Overbroeck's College
11 Dulwich College
12 Fettes College
13 Stonar School
14 Wycliffe College
15 Lucton School
16 King's School Canterbury
17 ACS School Cobham
18 Hurtwood House
19 Uppingham School
20 Scarborough College
21 King's College St Michael’s
22 Mill Hill School
23 Windermere School
24 Clifton College
25 Badminton School
26 Oakham School
27 Oundle School
28 Stowe School
29 Cheltenham College
30 Bromsgrove School
31 Sidcot School
32 Prior Park College
33 Millfield School
34 Oswestry School
35 Caterham School
36 City of London Freemen’s School
37 Buckswood School
38 Brooke House College
39 Taunton School
40                   St Clare's Oxford
41 Repton School
42 Royal Russell School
43 King's Ely
44 Leys Cambridge
45 Leighton Park
46 Bedford School
47 Fyling Hall
48 Royal Hospital School
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