The Schools of Ambition programme was a political education initiative for secondary schools in Scotland run by the Education and Lifelong Learning Directorate. The first schools were selected in 2005 but the scheme was discontinued after three years.
In September 2004, Jack McConnell was pressed for details on the Schools of Ambition programme, having mentioned that this would be among a range of plans he had for secondary education in Scotland. By November 2004, the Scottish Executive was developing a programme to provide around twenty schools with additional funding. In February 2005, details were provided around how twenty schools could receive an extra £100,000 of funding per year for up to three years. According to the previous Scottish Executive, it aimed to "raise the ambitions of schools, instill belief and ambition in pupils, extend their opportunities and transform their life chances". The idea is that the schools selected will raise aspirations for their pupils by introducing exciting new initiatives. 
Schools had to bid to be chosen to take part. Forty three schools made applications for the initial programme. In June 2005, twenty schools were selected to become the first schools of ambition. A further seven schools were announced in April 2006. In February 2007, a further 21 schools were selected to join the project. In total 52 schools were selected.
On 5 March 2008 it was announced that the Scottish Government would be discontinuing the programme after 2010. The Education Secretary, Fiona Hyslop had previously said in opposition that "the SNP welcome any additional support for schools across Scotland, but this proposal will benefit only a small proportion of Scotland's children..... the executive should be bringing forward plans to benefit the educational provision of all schools in Scotland".