|Activity||The Earl of Dunmore's School, Airth was an Episcopalian school in Stirlingshire.|
Schools in Scotland certainly existed from the later middle ages at least, and there were various enactments of the pre-Union Scottish Parliament which attempted to lay down the conditions on which schooling was to be made generally available. The foundation for the current Scottish school system is the Education (Scotland) Act 1872 (35 & 36 Vict., c.62) which set up school boards to administer local schools and provide elementary education which was to be compulsory between the ages of 5 and 13. School boards were usually set up for each parish and burgh (royal and parliamentary). Many new schools were constructed as a result, and in some cases these buildings are still in use. The Act also established the Scotch Board of Education as a central government authority. The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 (52 & 53 Vict., c.50), supplemented by the Education and Local Taxation Account (Scotland) Act 1892 (55 & 56 Vict., c.51), established free elementary education. Provision for secondary education was not compulsory but many authorities set up secondary education committees to provide for it. The Education (Scotland) Act 1901 (64 Vict. and 1 Edw. VII, c.9) established mandatory secondary education committees to improve provision and raised the school leaving age to 14.
School boards were abolished in 1919 and replaced by education authorities on a county basis, although there were separate ones for the burghs of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and (briefly) Leith (Education (Scotland) Act 1918, 8 & 9 Geo. V, c.48). The functions of the education authority were transferred to county councils and to the four counties of cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (19 & 20 Geo. V, c.25). There was a division sometimes made into junior and senior secondary schools after 1936, but the introduction of the comprehensive secondary school after 1964 ended that practice. The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c.65) transferred the education function to regional and islands councils in 1975.