UK Education System

Mainly, the education system in the uk is divided into four major parts, primary education, secondary education, further education and higher education. Children in the UK have to legally attend primary and secondary education in the mandatory base and this education runs from about 5 years old until the student is 16 years old.

The education system in the UK is also split into “stages” which breaks down as follows:

  • Stage 1: 5 to 7 years old
  • Stage 2: 7 to 11 years old
  • Stage 3: 11 to 14 years old
  • Stage 4: 14 to 16 years old

Generally stages 1 and 2 will be undertaken at primary school until the age of 10 and afterwards, at 11 years old a student will move into the secondary school and finish the stages 3 and 4.

Students are assessed at the end of each stage. The most important assessment occurs at age 16 when students pursue their gcse’s or general certificate of secondary education. Once students complete their gcse’s they have the choice to go onto further education and then potential higher education, or finish school and go into the working world.

Our overview of the education system in the UK is divided into five main sections:

Primary education

Primary education begins in the UK at age 5 and continues until age 11, comprising key stages one and two under the UK educational system. Please visit the British council page for more information on primary education.

Secondary education

From age 11 to 16, students will enter secondary school for key stages three and four and to start their move towards taking the gcse’s – learn more about secondary education in the UK and what it will involve. Primary and secondary education is mandatory in the UK; after age 16, education is optional.

Further education

Once a student finishes secondary education they have the option to extend into further education to take their a-levels, gnvq’s, btec’s or other such qualifications. UK students planning to go to college or university must complete further education.

Higher education

Probably the most important subject area on this site, this explains more about the higher education system in the UK and how it works for international students. Most international students will enter directly into the UK higher education system, after completing their home country’s equivalent to the UK’s “further education.”

Apart from this 4 major parts, uk has a system of vocational education system which are described as follows;

Vocational education

Non-university post-secondary education takes place at a variety of technical schools, colleges of higher education and accredited independent colleges offering a wide variety of courses leading to formal vocational qualifications. Through these, those united kingdom youths who do not go on the university are assured the opportunities of groundings in successful lifetime careers.

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