Highland Life logo
A great place to live, work and play


Children in Scotland

Children in Scotland

Library services for children

It is a parent’s responsibility to look after their children, protect them from harm, ensure that they are properly cared for, and ensure that they receive education. In Scotland, a child is anyone under the age of 16.

Pre-School Children

Eligible children can have some free education, usually 12 1/2 hours per week for 38 weeks. The funding is paid directly to the pre-school centre for your child's registered number of sessions. There is no direct payment to parents. It is paid directly to the nursery/playgroups.

Parents / carers are responsible for their children travelling to and from nursery provision.

The link below gives details of birth dates when children will become eligible:

Pre-school Enrolment Leaflet 2024-13

More information and a list of Playgroups, Day Nurseries and other groups can be found at The Highland Council Childcare Information Service:

Highland Childcare Information Service
Tel: 0845 601 1345

School-Age Children

Children in Scotland have a right to a free place in school. Parents are legally responsible for ensuring that their children are educated and usually do this by sending their children to school. Some parents choose to educate their children at home or in private schools. Children normally start school in the August when they are aged between 4 ½ and 5 ½ years, and transfer to secondary school in the August when they are aged 11 ½ to 12 ½ years. Children must continue in education until they are aged 16. The majority of young people stay on at secondary school for up to a further 2 years until they are aged 18.

To enrol children at a school in the area where you live you must contact the school’s head teacher. If you wish to enrol a child outside the area where you live you should contact the Area Education Manager:

Caithness ECS Office

Rhind House

West Banks Avenue


Telephone 01955 602 362

CSER Area ECS Office,

Council Offices,



KW10 6TA

Telephone 01408 635338 ( ECS Area Manager – Open Plan Office )

Ross & Cromarty Area Education Office

The Education Centre

Castle Street


Telephone 01349 863441

INBS Area ECS Office

Highland Council Headquarters,

Glenurquhart Road


Telephone 01463 702811

Skye & Lochalsh Area Education Office

Elgin Hostel


Isle of Skye, IV51 9EE

Telephone 01478 613697

Lochaber Area Education Office

Camaghael Hostel



Telephone 01397 707350

Help for families on a low income

Families who have a very low income may be able to claim free lunches for their child at school and some assistance with school clothing. You will find more information here.

This form is available in Polish .

Or your Area Education Manager can tell you where you claim these.

Help with English language

Schools can help pupils develop their English language skills.

You can download and explanatory leaflet.

Details of this Service can be found on the


Help with additional support needs

Some children and young people require additional support to help them to learn in school. If you think that your child needs additional support you should discuss this with the head teacher of your child’s school. Pupils with additional support needs have a right to full-time education, usually in the child’s local school. A few children and young people attend specialist schools so that they can get the expert help they require.

More information can be found on the Highland Council website at:



If you need care for your child while you are at work, there are ‘Registered Childminders’, Nurseries and ‘Out of school services’ . For more information visit the Highland Childcare Information Service online or call the service on 01463 711 176. Their address is:

High Street

Library services for children

Pre-school children

All young children get special free Bookbug packs at six weeks old, 18 months old, three years old and in their first year at primary school. This is to encourage all parents / carers to enjoy books with children from as early an age as possible.

Many libraries also hold Bookbug Rhyme time sessions which are fun for babies and their parents. You can also meet other parents in your neighbourhood. Contact your local library about the sessions.


School age children

Nearly all secondary schools have libraries and librarians to support school work. Branch libraries can also provide books and information to help with school homework and projects. These services are free, and there are many other activities for children. Just ask at your local library.

Highland Libraries / in Polish

© 2024 Highland Wellbeing Alliance.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme.