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Going To An English School Vs. Going To A Scottish School

Highers are just harder than A-levels, OK?

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1. In English schools, everyone had to wear a uniform. It was most probably navy or maroon.

You got it from BHS or M&S, and your main concerns were shortening your tie and rolling up your skirt.

You also had to wear a uniform in Scotland, but you could usually get away with wearing one of these under your sweatshirt.

Or a Celtic shirt based on where your Old Firm loyalties lay. But the heady soon caught on and you were pulled up in assembly.

2. In England, exams started early. You sat your first lot of SATs in year 2, and then again in year 6.

In year 2, you took exams in Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing, Maths, and Science. In year 6, you took them in English and Maths. They were super stressful and everyone got really competitive about them.


In Scotland, you didn’t take any proper tests until your Standard Grades in 4th year of secondary school. The hardest thing you had to do was your Cycling Proficiency test.

But, hey, at least you got a cool certificate and a badge out of it!

In Scotland, you didn't really care what was on the lunch menu, as long as there was still some of this bad boy left by the time you got to the till.

Trying not to lose or rip your dinner ticket in the queue was so much harder than it sounds.

4. In England, the best assemblies were the ones where you got to sing "Puff The Magic Dragon".

Or the one that went, "I was cold, I was naked.. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA."


In Scotland, you sang the "Jeely Piece Song" every goddamn day.

You even knew all five verses at one point.

5. In England, you took between 9 and 12 GCSEs at the end of of year 11.

Maths, English Language and Literature, and Science were compulsory, and most schools made you take at least a half GCSE in Religious Education too.

In Scotland, you did around eight standard grade subjects across 3rd and 4th year.

Along with English and Maths, core subjects included a science (Chemistry, Physics or Biology), a social (Modern Studies, History or Geography), a language (usually French or Spanish), PE and RE (or RMPS if you want to get all PC about it). In some cases you also had to sit two exam papers for the same subject, Foundation/General or General/Credit. Nightmare!

6. Kids in England were forced to study the AQA Poetry Anthology.

Which means you can still recite Seamus Heaney, Gillian Clarke, Carol Ann Duffy, and Simon Armitage's poetry by heart. And you'll always have a soft spot for "Presents From My Aunts In Pakistan".


Liz Lochhead was your teacher’s go-to poet in Scotland.

"Revelation" and "Box Room" were meant to teach you all about female fragility, but really you just wondered why she was so obsessed with eggs.

7. Every English student read Of Mice And Men and To Kill A Mockingbird.

You probably also studied Death Of A Salesman, 1984, The Great Gatesby, Lord Of The Flies, and Catcher In The Rye.

In Scotland it was all about Dubliners.

In Scotland, you analysed the crap out of "Counterparts".

8. In England, you were forced to take Critical Thinking or General Studies alongside your 3 A levels.

Your school decided which exam board's examination you sat, and it was probably AQA, OCR, or Edexcel. Or WJEC if you didn't fancy trying that hard.


In Scotland, you could sit up to 5 Highers in 5th year and more in 6th year.

And if you sat any Advanced Highers, you were immediately considered a pure geek.

9. In England, your AS levels didn't really matter that much, because you could always resit them.

But sometimes, when you were doing resits, your exams clashed. And then you had to be put into ~isolation~ so you couldn't ask your mates what was in the exam.

There were no resits in Scotland, only deferred if you missed it first time.

You just had to send off some of your assessed classwork to the exam board and hope for the best.

10. In England, the best day of the school year was muck up day.

When the year 13s came to school in fancy dress, squirted a bit of soap on the bannisters, and cleaned up at the end of the day.


In Scotland it was all about Burns Supper, where one lucky pupil was picked to read "Address to a Haggis" and hold the fancy knife.

"Miss, it's sheep's whit??"

11. In England, you got everyone to sign your school shirt on the last day of school.

And you ~freaked out~ if you forgot to get even one caretaker to sign it.

You also did this in Scotland, only your shirt would look more like this.

Your best pal would write something like, “Yer a wee wanker but ah love ye!”