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Welcome to Scottish Archives for Schools (SAfS), the education service of the National Records of Scotland.

Our service sets out to connect and engage teachers and pupils with Scotland’s history, heritage and culture.

Archives tell stories and our fascinating collections of documents, dating from the 12th to the 21st centuries, provide insights into the growth of a nation through good times and bad. We draw on these written records, created by people from every walk of life, from kings and queens, lawyers, businessmen and ministers to teachers and children, to reveal Scotland's history.

Our resources support a Broad General Education, Nationals 3, 4 and 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications. Join us in Edinburgh or, if your school is too far away to visit us, we can deliver sessions directly into your classroom by web conference.

Image of St Kildans leaving the island


Schools Programme, 2015-16

We are delighted to launch our 2015-16 Schools Programme. Our workshops and Glow Meets are designed to enable pupils to travel back in time to meet historical characters and investigate real events from the past. Our time-machine is the primary source material preserved in the national archives of Scotland - interpreted, illustrated and brought to life.

We aim to make our sessions interactive and enjoyable, using our resources to spark pupils' interest and imagination across the curriculum.

Use one of our learning sessions to provide an inspirational starting point for citizenship or literacy; investigate well-known stories from a new perspective; and introduce pupils to research and analytical skills.

Images shows a variety of archival documents Please contribute to this survey into the use of archives by teachers in Scotland.

An AHRC/Clore Leadership Programme funded research project, is investigating the use of archives in teaching. The aim of the research is to analyse the current audience for archives and to identify any ‘barriers’ to access. The findings will enable archivists to improve access and support more teachers in their use of archives. Please take the time to complete this survey and also promote it to colleagues as widely as possible. An electronic version can be completed online by clicking here. Please submit your responses by 30 November 2015.

Image of logo for a new archive exhibition, 'Safe Delivery: A History of Scottish Midwives'An archive exhibition, 'Safe Delivery: A History of Scottish Midwives', opened on 12 October 2015 at National Records of Scotland to commemorate the centenary year of the Midwives (Scotland) Act, 1915.

Midwives have performed a vital role for centuries, and in 'Safe Delivery', you can view primary source material and learn more about midwives before and after the 1915 Act, which established professional registration. Why not also book a free workshop looking in more detail at some of the stories featured in the exhibition? Email for more information. The exhibition will be on show in the Adam Dome at General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh, from 12 October until 20 November 2015, Monday - Friday 9:00-4:30. Entry to the exhibition is free of charge.

Image shows Daisy Webster, one of the subjects of the 'Our Glen' workshop. National Records of Scotland reference GD1/1208/1 Image shows a group of friends from the 19th century Copyright National Museum of Scotland, reference IL.2003.44.3.85

Are you studying Victorians this term?

Why not immerse your class in Victorian photography for a whole day: book the free NRS workshop 'Our Glen', a Snapshot in Time, in which pupils investigate a Victorian photograph album to find out a wealth of detail about the Webster family, their servants and the estate workers who lived in Glen Creran in Argyll in 1866.

On the same day you could also visit the exhibition Photography: A Victorian Sensation. Open until 22 November 2015 at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, £3 per pupil (Free adults on a 1:5 ratio)
To request a visit, go to the National Museum of Scotland's schools' programme workshops.

Visit Photography: A Victorian Sensation with your pupils (P2-P5 or S1-S6) to meet the pioneers of photography and discover how the Victorian craze for the photograph transformed the way we capture images today. Self-led teacher resources are available for both age groups, plus additional handling boxes. Find out more about school visits to the National Museum of Scotland.

Image shows a detail from the Exemplification of the Act of Union, National Records of Scotland reference SP13/210

The Union of the Parliaments of England and Scotland, 1707

The Union of the Parliaments of Scotland and England in 1707 was a pivotal moment in Scottish history.

This new online resource was originally created as part of the A Union for a' That schools education project in 2007. This was a joint project between the National Archives of Scotland (now the National Records of Scotland), the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Historic Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, The Scottish Government, the Law Society of Scotland and Learning and Teaching Scotland (now Education Scotland). Originally issued to all schools in Scotland as a DVD, it is now available online and we would like to thank all the former project partners for their support in making this resource available online.

Image shows a detail from a soldier's will, National Records of Scotland reference, SC70/8

Scottish Soldiers’ Wills from two World Wars go online

National Records of Scotland (NRS) recently made the Soldiers’ Wills series available online through ScotlandsPeople as part of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Among the 31,000 wills of Scottish soldiers are 26,000 of men who died in the Great War, which form part of the records of the Commissary Office in Edinburgh, held in NRS. The wills will also continue to be available in the Historical Search Room at General Register House.

Image shows the logo of the National Records of Scotland.



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