The Scottish Education Department (SED) came into being as the body responsible for schooling in Scotland when it was formed from the Church of Scotland's Board of Education for Scotland in 1872.
The Education (Scotland) Act 1872 made education compulsory and took over the running of schools from the Church of Scotland. Burgh as well as parish schools now came under School Boards run by local committees. It was originally called the Scotch Education Department, was a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, and had its offices in London. In 1885 the department became a responsibility of the new ministerial post of Secretary for Scotland, under whom the Scottish Office was set up in Dover House, Whitehall, London.
In 1918 the department was moved to Edinburgh and the name was changed to the Scottish Education Department, in accordance with Scottish usage. The Secretary for Scotland became the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1926. The department was renamed the Scottish Office Education Department (SOED) in 1991, and the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department (SOEID) in 1995.
With devolution in 1999 the new Scottish Executive set up the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) to oversee school education whilst the Scottish Executive Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Department – now Enterprise Transport and Lifelong Learning Department (ETLLD) – took over responsibility from the former SED for further and higher education.