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The standard of education in Aberdeen is high, as the city has a long history, with two universities dating back centuries and still ranking among the best in Scotland.

Most schools in Aberdeen are public, state-operated schools, with only a small minority of children attending private schools. Private schools are known as independent schools in Scotland. All of the city's state schools and most of its independent schools follow the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, which is a two-phase system. The first phase is a broad, general education, beginning with nursery school and continuing through seven years of primary school and three years of secondary school, while the second phase begins in S4 at the age of sixteen, concluding in S6 at eighteen years of age.

While all of its public schools and most of its independent schools are tested according to the Scottish Qualifications Authority, some follow the English curriculum or the International Baccalaureate curriculum, while others adhere to the International Baccalaureate as well as either the Scottish or English curriculums.

Most Scottish children attend a school near where they live, although those wishing to attend a school outside of their area can submit an out-of-zone placement request, which is usually granted.

Among the higher-ranking public schools are Cults Academy, Oldmachar Academy, and Aberdeen Grammar School, which is one of the oldest grammar schools in the United Kingdom, being founded in 1257.

While education is compulsory in Scotland, homeschooling is an acceptable option for parents who choose it. However, once a student is enrolled in a public school, the consent of the education authority is required for withdrawal. No consent is required if the child has never attended a public school in that authority's area if the withdrawal is from an independent school, if the child has completed primary school but has not yet started secondary school, or if the school the child had attended has been closed.

Headquartered at Gallowgate in Aberdeen, North East Scotland College has two other campuses in Aberdeen and another in Fraserburgh. It replaced Aberdeen College, which was the largest higher-education institution in Scotland.

Founded in 1886, Gray's School of Art is one of the oldest colleges of art in the United Kingdom. It s now part of Robert Gordon University, which also includes the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and The Built Environment, and is adjacent to the Gray's School.

Aberdeen has two universities. King's College and Marischal College were combined to form the University of Aberdeen in 1860. The city's other university is Robert Gordon University, which began as Robert Gordon Institute of Technology, an offshoot of Robert Gordon's College, and became Robert Gordon University in 1992.

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