Primary school

Our family will probably move to Edinburgh this autumn. We have so many questions to ask, but the main is how to choose and apply for a primary school. My son will be 5 years old in December and the problem is that he dont`n know English at all.
So, we have several doubts:
1) is it possible to enter state school in this case?
2) do we need to enter school, or may be try nursery at first?
3) what are the average fees in private schools? (we`ll be lack of finance during the first period)
Thank you for your attention :)

Dear Julia,
As your child has a birthday in December you can defer (delay) entry to P1 until August 2012. However according to this: … ducation/6 you may not get a free place.

Since your child doesn't speak any English and is a boy (many boys are not ready for formal school till they are a bit older) I would consider this option as it'll give him a year to settle in and learn some English. Nursery is only 2.5 hours a day.

Whether you wish him to start in nursery or in P1 you need to contact the schools in the area you will be living in NOW to tell them your plans and ask to be put on the waiting list for a place.
Catchment area maps here: … l_places/2
Alternatively you could enrol him in a private nursery for more hours.
I've no idea what the fees for private schools are here.
Good luck

Antonia, thank you very much for your quick reply!!! It seems, nursery is the best choice for us now!
So, the next step is to find the area. We now choose between Balerno, Juniper Green, Currie and Kirknewton. My husband will work near this side of Edinburgh. And I didn`t find any information about Oxgangs. Which of this areas is the best choice for a family with the child?

I´m not sure as I don´t live near any of those areas. I suggest you post here  and some other people who live in Edinburgh will hopefully be able to give you the info.
Good luck

In fact there's a thread about Kirknewton on there!

Oh, thanks a lot for such a useful link! That`s what I`ve been looking for!

I don't recommend Kirknewton. Too much in the country and poor bus services, if any.

Currie, Balerno and Juniper Green are fantastic places to live. Good housing, and excellent schools, both Currie High School and Balerno High. All of the primary schools in those areas are pretty good. A really good bus service - the number 44. Check out Lothian buses online if you want to see the timetable anr route it takes.

One thing to keep in mind though - that whole area is well above the snowline. So in winter you can get snowed in. The main roads and bus routes are kept clear, but both footpaths and sdie strets tend not to get cleared by the council. This last winter, on some days, the bus didn't go as far as those suburbs.

Imho, your son will be too old for nursery. Children who turn five in December usually start school in the August/September of the same year, i.e. when they are 4.

What language does your son speak? There are plenty of children who start school here knowing very little English, including those who come over with their parents when they are in the middle of their schooling. Most schools have intensive English classes for those children. There are plenty of children in Edinburgh who only speak english at school, but in their home communities speak Urdu/Hindi/Arabic/Polish/French etc. It's not an unusal situation here.

Private school fees here are quite expensive and not subsidised by the state. So Fettes, for example ( private school on the North side) costs £19,000 a year for day pupils. There aren't any private schools in Balerno/Currie/Juniper green, which is probably why the state schools there are so good, i.e. nearly everyone based in that area of school age goes to them.

Thank you very much for your advice. My son speaks only Russian. He knows only a few words in English. We`ll be in Edinburgh already next week. Currie, Balerno and Juniper Green are very attractive for us, but there is lack of offers in these areas. We arrange a few meetings. I hope that we`ll find something there.

But if you already have a house in the area then he automatically goes to the school he is in the catchment zone for, especially for P1.

If you check out the Edinburgh city council policy it states:

"Allocation of places
Placement in a primary school is based on home address and pupils who attend the local nursery school or class are not guaranteed a place if they do not live within the school's catchment area".

So if you just call them and ask for a place, whilever you don't have a Currie/Balerno/Juniper green address, those schools don't have to offer you a place.

Usually if your birthday is in December, you can still stay at nursery school, but it wouldn't be a place funded by the local authority - you'ld usually have to pay for it. Nurseries are pretty low key/fun/non learning environments here. My son said school is more interesting/more full on.

Do you know yet where you will be living in Edinburgh, i.e. do you have a place arranged, or are you waiting to look around when you come up here?

how is your son now? he must be speaking perfect english now, the plasticity of childrens brains! l have questions as in a similar situation. did your child start the school when term had already started, so your son started in January (?) did the edinburgh council allocate a high school for your son, and you never had to do anything? unless of course you wanted another high school? please update. thanks

Hello mumsfan,

Welcome to :)

The original poster is no longer active and it is very unlikely that you will get any updates from her.

If you want to gather some info related to schooling in Edinburgh, I would advise you to start your own thread on the Edinburgh forum.

All the best,


sorry for late reply Diksha, hope original poster is doing well. thanks

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