The Scottish public holiday system

Having lived exclusively in England for the first 29 years of my life, I was quite au fait with the concept of bank holidays. The banks were shut, and everyone got a day off work. But now I've moved to Scotland I've found these rules no longer apply. It appears that, some of the time, bank holidays are just that - days when the banks are closed. But they aren't always public holidays. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. And to make up for this discrepancy, there are local holidays instead, although they vary from town to town.

So, in Aberdeen, where I live, there are 5 statutory bank (and public) holidays, plus 3 local holidays. 8 days when one doesn't have to go to work, at least theoretically. But since I work at the University of Aberdeen, two of the local holidays coincide with teaching days at the start of different terms - April 16th and September 24th - so if you have teaching to do you have to come in to work. Thus far, in the year I've been working here, I've failed to turn up on a day which I later discovered was only a bank holiday, then found myself in my office on a day that I could/should have had off. Surely a simpler system can be arranged?