This article explores the purposes of citizenship education and the forms it has taken in Scotland in the closing decades of the twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first. Education has played a key role in defining Scottish identity. It is argued that there was, and continues to be in Scotland, a 'Scottish myth' about the purpose of education. The politics surrounding education reform in Scotland shaped the forms and approaches to citizenship education. The important role played by the schooling system in maintaining Scotland's political, cultural and social distinctiveness has shaped the forms of citizenship education and also how it has been implemented. Education for citizenship was seen as a key overarching purpose of the curriculum. Greater professional input into the development of citizenship education, including teachers being able to adopt a flexible approach in interpreting the policy, has resulted in distinctive policy developments in Scotland.