Education Education

Education in Orkney

Orkney has around three thousand pupils across its seventeen primary schools, three junior highs and two secondary schools. There's a halls of residence for pupils from the islands to attend school in Kirkwall and further and higher education is available at Orkney College UHI and at the Heriot Watt University campus in Stromness.

Orkney schools are run by Orkney Islands Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Department and a child’s whole school life, from pre-school right through to further and higher education, may be undertaken in the county. Orkney’s secondary schools frequently feature in the top 100 Best State School lists and individual schools have also achieved top marks through HM Inspectorate of Education reports.

For the early days there are two nurseries in Kirkwall offering education for children from the age of two, and most of the county’s primary schools offer nursery and pre-school provision. Childcare and baby and toddler groups are also available. There are two senior secondary schools: Kirkwall Grammar School and Stromness Academy; and three junior high schools: Westray, Stronsay and Sanday, which cater from nursery up to 4th year of secondary. After that the North Isles pupils stay in halls of residence in Kirkwall and attend Kirkwall Grammar School, both of which can boast brand new state-of-the-art premises opened at the beginning of 2014, and fantastic new facilities for the area.

To enrol your child in any of Orkney's schools, contact the head teacher in your catchment area, listed on the Orkney Islands Council website. You can also request a place at an alternative school. School transport is available for pupils living a distance away from school within their catchment area.

Orkney College offers further and higher education and degree and post graduate learning. It is a constituent college of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). Courses include Scottish Vocational Qualifications, Scottish Group Awards, the Higher National Certificate and Diploma, degrees and post graduate courses and Ph.D supervision. There are also evening classes and short courses. Subjects include agriculture, archaeology, art and design, business studies, care, carpentry and joinery, cultural studies, hospitality, IT, marine and Nordic studies. Learning centres are scattered throughout Orkney with the core centre at Orkney College. Learning can be accessed through video conferencing and online by people living in remote areas.

Heriot Watt University's Orkney campus, the International Centre for Island Technology, is located in Stromness, and provides post graduate level education in a range of renewable energy subjects.