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The Education (Scotland) Act 1872: 150 Years of Learning

Few pieces of legislation can have had such an impact on Scotland’s children as the Education (Scotland) Act 1872.  Following on from the 1870 Education Act in England & Wales, it would revolutionise the education system in Scotland, making provision for a Board of Education for Scotland and the establishment of local school boards across the country.

This was the moment that education became compulsory for children aged 5-13, the training of teachers went into overdrive, hundreds of new school buildings were erected, and thousands of admission registers and school log books were generated as record-keeping was standardised. 

St Kilda Schoolchildren, date unknown. Highland Archive Centre GB0232/D29/1
Teachers at Fort William Higher Grade School, 1911. Lochaber Archive Centre GB3218/CI/L/53/138c

To mark the 150th anniversary of this transformative act, join us to learn why it was needed, what it meant for our young people, and what the records it generated can tell us about teachers, subjects, holidays, discipline, and other subjects.  Delve into the Highland Archive Service collections to learn about the benefits the Education (Scotland) Act brought, the problems it created, and the legacy we’re all still living with.

Click on the images below to explore the exhibition. 

Before the Act
The Act
Games, Sport and Play
High Days and Holidays
Impact on Gaelic