Online Learning Resources
Our archives, records and statistics can tell us fascinating stories about the past and the present while offering a glimpse into the future.
Although we’re unable to deliver our usual talks and workshops at present, our online resources can assist with teaching all ages, from primary and secondary pupils to college/university students and adults who want to learn a new skill.
Whether you’re interested in finding out about how people in Scotland used to live, how we live now or how our lives might change in future, you can access many of our resources online, for free.
Introducing archives and historical resources
National Records of Scotland (NRS) holds millions of records from the 12th to 21st centuries. These touch on virtually all aspects of Scotland’s collective memory from the church, law and government to records of everyday life.
Teachers, parents, pupils and learners of all ages and stages can access and engage with our unique primary sources via the Learning section of the NRS website.
The resources available at Scottish Archives for Schools and Services for Schools are designed to support the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications for Scottish primary and secondary schools.
These can help teachers and pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of the records, and provide them with the skills and confidence to access, read and interpret their content in order to connect with Scottish history, heritage and culture.
The online resources explore a diverse range of themes and topics across Scottish history, including:
- Women’s suffrage in Scotland and the suffragettes’ fight to gain votes for women in the early 20th century.
- The Scottish Wars of Independence covering Scotland’s emergence as a sovereign kingdom in the 1300s.
- Letters and diaries of Scots from the past, including a letter from the young Mary, Queen of Scots.
- The Declaration of Arbroath. You can download an illustrated activity booklet about the Declaration produced to mark the 700th anniversary of this unique document. Primary school pupils and other young learners can use their imaginations to draw, design, create, and colour in the illustrations.
- The Go Forth! Digital learning resources have been designed to raise awareness and knowledge of the three Forth Bridges and their place in Scotland’s history. They use 3D digital documentation of the bridges and incorporate lesson packs, practical resources and games.
Our features page provides a wealth of primary sources for teaching and learning about Scotland’s history:
- Scotland and the First World War, featuring terrible battles on land and at sea, Zeppelin air raids and stories from the home front.
- The Declaration of Arbroath, an iconic document from our archives that marked a key moment in the development of the Kingdom of Scotland.
- The construction of the Forth Bridge.
- The devastating Clydebank Blitz of 1941.
- Life on the lonely and now-deserted island of St. Kilda.
- The trial of Oscar Slater, wrongly convicted of murder in 1909.
The Hall of Fame provides images of birth, death, marriage and census records and wills and testaments of over 230 notable people.
We also provide practical online tuition in palaeography for historians, genealogists and other researchers who need help reading and interpreting historical documents written before the 19th century.
Our Baby Names App shows you how the popularity of any name has changed since 1974. Children and adults tend to find it fascinating! It is a good way of teaching children about simple charts, social trends, and spelling.
See how the population of your neighbourhood is changing. How many older or younger people are there in your neighbourhood, and your council area? What do the projected figures for the future look like?
You can investigate your council area to see how it compares with others using our Council Area Profiles. How many people were born or got married in your area recently? Has migration and life expectancy changed over time?
And investigate our full range of Infographics and Visualisations, including data on life expectancy, households, migration and much more.
© Crown copyright and database right . Ordnance Survey (OS Licence number 100020542)
Explore data from Scotland’s Census 2011 using these easy-to-use interactive maps. There is plenty of data to explore, including health, housing, education, employment, languages, religion and ethnicity.
You could look at:
- How people travel to school or work in your area.
- In what areas do more people live alone?
- Make comparisons between urban and rural areas, and much more.
Census data is useful for teaching about geography, social sciences and numeracy and you can find more resources for using census data to support statistical literacy in this blog by one of our former statisticians.
If you’d like to know more about our archives and learning resources, please contact our Outreach and Learning team.
If you have a query about our statistical and census data, please contact our Statistics Customer Services team.
Head of Outreach and Learning
Statistical Promotion and Analysis