Education became mandatory in Scotland in 1872, under the reign of Queen Victoria, with many state-sponsored free schools being set up and independently governed by school boards. It was compulsory for 4-13 year olds. In 1888 the newly formed Scotch(later Scottish) Education Department, based in London, introduced a Leaving Certificate Examination that, for the first time, set national standards for education. In 1890 public school fees were abolished entirely, creating state-funded basic education with common examinations. It was only in 1892 that Scottish universities would admit women.
The minimum school leaving age was raised to 14 in 1901. In 1918 Roman Catholic schools were brought into the system but retained their distinct characteristics such as: to schools by priests and the requirement that school staff be acceptable to the Church. The school system was left relatively unchanged until the Leaving Certificate was replaced by the Scottish Certificate of Education Ordinary Grade ('O-Grade') and Higher Grade ('Higher') qualifications in 1962, which became the basic entry qualification for university study1973 when, after many people began staying on in school for higher education, the minimum age for leaving was raised to it's current state, at 16.
After Devolution in 1999 one of the major diversions from practice in England was the abolition of student tuition fees in 1999, iretaining a system of means-tested student grants. By the mid-1990's the 'O-Grade' had been replaced by the current system of Standard Grades.
In short, in the past 150...