National Anthem – Flower of Scotland (audio)
Official Country name: Scotland (Part of the United Kingdom)
Alba (Scottish Gaelic Name) pronounced [ˈal̪ˠapə]
The Scottish Government is the devolved parliamentary legislature of Scotland within a constitutional monarchy, within a Sovereign State Legal jurisdiction – United Kingdom – Scotland. Scotland has the UK Monarch – Elizabeth II.
The government is led by the First Minister who selects the Cabinet Secretaries, Cabinet Ministers attend the Cabinet, and the Ministers with the approval of Parliament. All Government ministers to sit in parliament, and are accountable to it. The government is dependent on parliament to pass primary legislation.
- First Minister – Nicola Sturgeon
- Deputy First Minister – John Swinney
- Cabinet Secretaries (12 – Includes First Minister and Deputy)
- Junior Ministers (14)
- Total members (26)
- Political Party (SNP)
Total Land: 30,981 Square Miles; 80,240 Square Km
Water: 3 (%)
Scotland has a coastline of 7,330 miles (11,800 Km) and a land border with England 96 Miles (154 Km) long.
5,463,000 as at June 2019
The population increased by 25,200 people from mid-2018, a growth of 0.5% on the past 2 years.
White Scottish make the largest Ethnic Group (approximately 80%), Other White British (12%), White Irish (1.5%), White Polish (2%), Asian (3%), Other Minority Groups (1.5%)
The climate of Scotland is mostly temperate and tends to be very changeable, but rarely has extreme temperatures. Scotland occupies the cooler northern section of Great Britain, so temperatures are generally lower than in the rest of the British Isles, with the coldest ever temperature of −27.2 °C (−17.0 °F) recorded at Braemar on 10 January 1982. Winters in Scotland have an average low of around 0 °C (32 °F) with summer maximum temperatures averaging 15–24 °C. In general, the western coastal areas are warmer than the east and inland areas, due to the influence of the Atlantic currents. The highest official temperature recorded was 32.9 °C (91.2 °F). Rainfall totals vary widely across Scotland— the western highlands of Scotland tents to be one of the wettest places in Europe with annual rainfall up to 4,577 mm (180.2 inches).
Glasgow (largest), Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Inverness, Stirling, and 44 Towns.
Official and National Language
Scottish English, Scottish Gaelic
Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic
Other Christian, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism.
Education literacy rate
The overall literacy rate in Scotland is estimated to be about 98% in 2020. In the age 15–24 the literacy rate is 99%.
In 2018, the infant mortality rate in Scotland was almost at its lowest with about 8 deaths per 1,000 live births in the first year of life (Figure include all death from first week of life to the end of the first year).
Currency: GBP (Pounds)
International telephone area code
Scotland’s HDI value for 2018 is 0.913 — which put the country in the high human development category— positioning it at 4 out of all of the regions of the UK, and the UK 15 in the world ranking.
3166 code – GB-SCT
in Scotland around 12,800 years ago it was covered in forests, had more bog-land, and the main form of transport was by water. Settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago. The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD, but by 86 AD the Roman armies had withdrawn and erected Hadrian’s wall in northern England, separating Scotland and England.
In the sixth century, the area that is now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, small lordships in central Scotland; Northumbria, and Dal Riata founded by settlers from Ireland, bringing Gaelic language and culture. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, much of Scotland was under the control of a single ruler and united by the Gaelic language.
The Scotland Act 1998 was passed by the UK Parliament, which established a devolved Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government with responsibility for most laws specific to Scotland. The Scottish Parliament was reconvened in Edinburgh on 4 July 1999. The first to hold the office of first minister of Scotland was Donald Dewar, who served until his sudden death in 2000.
The Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood opened on October 2004. The Scottish Parliament has an additional member system, which normally results in no one party having an overall majority. However, the Scottish National Party achieved this in the 2011 election, winning 69 of the 129 seats available. The success of the SNP in achieving a majority paved the way for the September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. The majority voted against the proposition, with 55% voting no to independence, however, more powers were devolved to the Scottish Parliament after the referendum.
The mainland of Scotland comprises the northern third of the land of the island of Great Britain, which lies off the north-west coast of Europe. The total area is 8,772 km2 (30,414 Sq. Miles). Scotland’s only land border is with England, and runs for 154 kilometres (96 mi) between the River Tweed on the east coast and the Solway Firth in the west. The Atlantic Ocean borders the west coast and the North Sea is to the east.
The territorial extent of Scotland is generally that established by the 1237 Treaty of York between Scotland and the Kingdom of England and the 1266 Treaty of Perth between Scotland and Norway. Outside of the United Kingdom lie the Scottish island groups Orkney and Shetland.
Politics and Government
Scotland has a devolved government and makes most of the decisions relating to domestic matters e.g. Health, Education, Law, Sport, Tourism, Transport etc. However, a number of matters e.g. the constitution, foreign affairs, defence, social security, pensions, issues of medical ethics, and fiscal, economic and monetary policy still remain with the Westminster Government. Scottish voters are represented in both Parliaments. For Scotland they elect 129 MSPs and for their British representation they elect 59 MPs.
Elections in Scotland normally take place every 4 years unless they conflict with other elections when a 5-year period is adopted. Every Scottish voter has two votes. One is for the local constituency and this is a straight “first past the post” system with the person elected getting the most votes. The other vote is for the larger region in which their constituency is located. Here a system of proportional representation operates. Voters cast a vote for their preferred political party. Each party has a list of candidates in an order of preference. When the votes are counted each party is allocated a number of seats in relation to the percentage of votes cast for their party. These MSPs are taken from the party lists.
The Present Situation
The parties at represented in the Scottish Parliament are as follows:
Scottish National Party (SNP) 64
Scottish Labour 38
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party 15
Scottish Liberal Democrats 5
Scottish Green Party 2
No party affiliation 1
The SNP has a majority government in the Scottish Parliament where the First Minister is Nicola Sturgeon. Because of the majority government, the SNP was able to introduce the referendum on its main policy – independence for Scotland. This took place in September 2014 and was defeated by 55% to 45%.
However, in the 2015 General Election, for the UK parliament, the SNP gained 56 of the 59 Scottish seats and are presently the 3rd largest party in the Westminster Parliament which has a majority Conservative government with Boris Johnston as Prime Minister.
Scotland’s GDP grew by 0.6% in real terms during the first quarter of 2019 compared to the previous quarter, revised up from the first estimate of 0.5%. The equivalent growth rate for the UK as a whole was 0.5%. Compared to the same quarter last year, Scotland’s GDP grow by 1.5%, revised up from the first estimate of 1.4%.
The largest single contribution to growth this quarter was the manufacturing sector (+2.3%), with particularly strong performances in the Pharmaceuticals and Drink industries. This strength is also seen in the estimates for manufactured exports to the rest of the world, which increased by a total of 1.4%.
However, due to the current econonic sitiuation Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by -2.5% in real terms during the first quarter of 2020, following growth of 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2019. The equivalent growth rate for the UK as a whole during the first quarter was -2.0%.
Scotland’s culture can be traced back almost a thousand years and it’s just as alive today as it has ever been. From the ancient clans of the 12th century, each generation has added their own cultural thumbprint, creating a unique and vibrant country.
Arts and humanities
The earliest examples of art from what is now Scotland are highly decorated carved stone balls from the Neolithic period. From the Bronze Age there are examples of carvings, including the first representations of objects, and cup and ring marks. More extensive Scottish examples of patterned objects and gold work are found the Iron Age. Elaborately carved Pictish stones and impressive metalwork emerged in Scotland the early Middle Ages. Scotland possess significant collections of art, such as the National Gallery of Scotland and National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Burrell Collection and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. Significant schools of art include the Edinburgh College of Art and the Glasgow School of Art. The major funding body with responsibility for the arts in Scotland is Creative Scotland. The Scottish Government fully support Art and Humanity programmes through national, local funding and independent foundations.
Early Scots was the emerging literary language of the Northern Middle English speaking parts of Scotland in the period before 1450. The northern forms of Middle English descended from Northumbrian Old English. During this period, speakers referred to the language as “English”. The first surviving major text in Scots literature is John Barbour’s Brus (1375), composed under the patronage of Robert II and telling the story in epic poetry of Robert I’s actions before the English invasion till the end of the war of independence. The first Scottish press was established in Southgait in Edinburgh (1473).
BBC Scotland runs two national television stations. Much of the output of BBC Scotland Television, such as local news, current affairs and sport programmes are intended for broadcast within Scotland, whilst others, for example many drama and comedy programmes, aim at audiences throughout the United Kingdom and worldwide markets. Three other ITV stations also broadcast in Scotland. STVbroadcasts to the majority of the Scottish population.
Holidays and Festivals (Calendar in 2020)
Scottish Bank holidays are set by Scottish Ministers and are the same across the whole of Scotland. Public or local holidays, on the other hand, are determined by local authorities and can differ between areas. Other local Authority holidays also take place, however, are not listed below.
01.01. New Year – UK
02.01. New Year – Scotland
10.04. Good Friday
08.05. Early May bank holiday
25.05. Spring bank holiday
03.08. Summer bank holiday
30.10. St Andrew’s Day
25.12. Christmas Day
26.12. Boxing Day (substitute day)
Cinema and Theatre
Scotland hosts a number of annual film festivals, the most widely recognised being the Edinburgh International Film Festival – the longest continually-running film festival in the world! From world-renowned festivals to grassroots endeavours, Scotland has a proud tradition of celebrating cinema and the arts throughout the country. the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Attracting around 200,000 visitors every year, the festival draws Hollywood A-listers and high profile movie premieres to the Scottish capital. Our smaller festivals are no less exciting; the Glasgow Film Festival brings big personality to the traditional festival format, while the grassroots style of the Loch Ness Film Festival celebrates filmmaking of all kinds and encourages offbeat submissions.
Theatre in Scotland has a long and storied history that can be traced back many centuries to the middle ages. As early as 1440 the city of Aberdeen is known to have put on its own set of ‘mystery plays’ which were performed by the city’s own craft guilds. Scottish opera can be traced back to the early 18th century with the first ever Scottish opera, The Gentle Shepherd published by poet Allan Ramsay in 1725.
Recipes (Scottish cuisine)
Traditional Scottish dishes like haggis and porridge are well known and have a long history. But modern Scottish food is all about fresh flavours, quality ingredients and mixing the old with the new. We’ve chosen a selection of Scottish recipes for you to try, many of them created by famous Scottish chefs. Traditional Scottish Foods; Haggis (Scotland’s iconic national dish), Neeps and tatties (‘Neeps’ are turnips and ‘tatties’ are potatoes.), Scottish Salmon (Scotland is a prime breeding ground for salmon); Porridge (hearty taste of good old Scottish porridge is made with salt); Full Scottish Breakfast (like a full English breakfast, except it comes with black pudding, Lorne sausage, and tattie scones. Haggis is sometimes included); Banger and Mash (Sausages and Potato’s); fish Supper (Fish and Potato Chips); Grouse (A tasty wee fowl); Scottish Tablet (sugar, condensed milk and butter that have been cooked together until crystalised), Shortbread (a sweet Scottish Biscuit), etc. the list of Scottish cuisine is endless.
The Scottish Parliament is part of a process known as devolution. A devolution government allows decisions to be made at a more local level. In the UK there are several examples of devolved government including: the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Greater London Authority (Mayor of London and London Assembly). Education fall within the powers of the Scottish Government, which basically means that Scotland is responsible for its Education and Training Systems, these areas being devolved under the Scotland Act 1998. Therefore, the education system in Scotland is completely different from the rest of the UK. Scotland provides free education to all children living in Scotland (and have done so as early as the 17th century). Scotland’s schools operate a Curriculum for Excellence which provides knowledge, skills and attributes for learning and life to all nursery, primary and secondary schooling between the ages of 3 – 18. Qualifications are taken in the final three years of secondary school which qualify students for further or higher education.
The term ‘school’ is normally used in Scotland to describe state or private education, both primary and secondary, which concludes at age sixteen. After which students have the opportunity to continue their education by attending college or university. Children start primary school aged between 4½ and 5½ depending on when the child’s birthday falls. Scottish school policy places all those born between March of a given year and February of the following year in the same year group. Children born between March and August start school in August at between 5 and 5½ years old. The term ‘school’ is normally used in Scotland to describe state or private education, both primary and secondary, which concludes at age sixteen. After which students have the opportunity to continue their education by attending college or university.
College courses are considered to be more vocational, with studies predominantly leading straight into employment within a specific industry. There are a number of course levels such as a Higher National Certificate (one year to complete) or a Higher National Diploma (two years to complete). Each level offers a certified qualification. This means college students have something to show for each year of work. Colleges work in partnership with local authorities and employers to deliver high quality Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programmes – over 12,000 college students are currently in MA programmes.
Not only do colleges work in partnership with employers to prepare students for work, some also have arrangements with universities to allow fast track degree entry. So if you are thinking about continuing to study in Scotland, college can provide further options.
At this level, students undertake degree-level education that usually requires four years to complete. Students only gain qualification at the end of this period. Degree courses at Scottish universities cover academic subjects, while some can be vocational. Universities in Scotland encourage a greater level of independence, with the student primarily responsible for their own learning. Today, Scottish universities are leading the way in innovations in areas such as life sciences, medical research, biotechnology, and environmental sciences.
Structure of Scottish school system
Age 3 – 5
Length: 3 years (compulsory)
Elementary Education (compulsory)
Age: 6 – 11
Length: 5 years
Secondary Education (compulsory)
Age: 11 – 16 (compulsory)
Age: 16 – 18 (additional)
Length: 5 years – 7 years
Length Varies: 1, 2, 3 or 4 years
Depends upon qualifications (National or Higher National)
Higher Education (College or university)
Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC)
Length: 2 years to 6 years.
Depends upon qualifications and sector.
Scotland has its own Qualification Authority (SQA), the SQA’s functions are set out in the Education (Scotland) Act 1996 as amended by the Scottish Qualifications Act 2002 and are a Private Body who report to the Scottish Government. They have BOM approved by the Scottish Government and work along the Government to shape the Education future for Scotland. SQA’s remit and function is outlined in the Education (Scotland) Act 1996. This is the primary legislation that provides SQA with a statutory basis for our operational activity. Our role is also shaped by a number of other pieces of legislation.
The organisation has two main roles: accreditation, and awarding qualifications; accredits qualifications other than degrees and approves, and quality assures awarding bodies that plan to enter people for these qualifications.
Qualifications – SCQF
https://www.Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework