Access to world-class education

Scotland is famous for its first-class education system and highly qualified graduates and school leavers. It is one of the most highly educated countries in Europe and among the most well-educated in the world in terms of tertiary education attainment.

In Edinburgh, 80,700 students were enrolled in further or higher education in 2016, one of the UK's highest student concentrations. Compared to other UK cities, Edinburgh has the highest proportion of non-UK students and the highest proportion of EU students. 

Approximately 55% of Edinburgh's working age population are educated to degree level or equivalent, while 93% of Edinburgh school leavers entered positive destinations (education or employment) in 2016.

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582, is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Edinburgh's Universities

Edinburgh’s universities attract high-calibre students from around the world. They are reputed internationally for their research excellence in disciplines such as life sciences, medicine and informatics. 

There are four universities in and around the city; The University of EdinburghEdinburgh Napier UniversityHeriot-Watt University; and Queen Margaret University. There are over 60,000 students enrolled in Edinburgh’s universities, which collectively produce over 15,000 graduates each year.

The city’s largest university, the University of Edinburgh, is regularly ranked one of the top higher education institutions in the world in prestigious indices such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. 

Further and Higher Education Colleges

Further education colleges deliver school-level qualifications such as Higher Grade exams, as well as work-based learning courses for people over the age of sixteen. Higher education colleges offer degree-level courses, such as diplomas. There are six further and higher education colleges across the Edinburgh city region. These include the newly formed Edinburgh College (Scotland's largest college, with four main campuses in Edinburgh and the Lothians), Fife College, Forth Valley College, Leith School of Art, Newbattle Abbey College and Scotland's Rural College. 

Independent and State Schools

Edinburgh has a rich variety of prestigious schools catering for a full range of educational needs, spanning the state and independent sectors. Edinburgh has a high proportion of prestigious independent schools, with 23% of Scotland’s privately run schools located within the city and one out of every thirteen primary and secondary students go to an independent school in Edinburgh.

Pre-school early learning and childcare

Pre-school early learning and childcare aims to encourage children aged between two and five years old to learn and develop in a caring and nurturing setting. All children can get a free part-time place at a council nursery, or funding towards a place at a private one. Find local nurseries and read about alternative childcare options for two to five year olds on the City of Edinburgh Council's website


If you would like to discover more about education opportunities for yourself, a family member or your employees, living and working in Edinburgh and the city region, get in touch today.




Get in touch

Investor Support Team

City of Edinburgh Council


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