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Education UK, School, College and University Study

Education UK, School, College and University StudyEducation UK School College and University Study within the United Kingdom education UK, is widely diverse for age groups, subjects, providers and curriculum studied from the public and private education learning sector.

Education has a number of age levels from compulsory and optional attendance.


Education UK

In the UK children from the age of 4 in Northern Ireland must attend primary school; Wales England & Scotland children start at 5 to 16 year’s old, children compulsory attend school for 5 days a week. Although in England any pupils that are not in training or work must continue at school until the age of 18, this was introduced in 1997.

Each education authority decides which school a pupil attends until 16 years old.

As a pupil, you could end up at one of the many good schools with effective teaching or at one of the hundreds of failing schools in special measures.


Devolved education

As the UK is made of 4 separate nations education in the UK is devolved to individual parliaments and education departments in each of the 4 home nations:

  • Scottish parliament
  • Welsh government
  • Northern Ireland Executive
  • UK Government for England


For example Scotland implemented Curriculum for Excellence, although this education system is not used in the rest of the UK.

England & Wales introduced The National Curriculum, 5 key stages that are used throughout a child’s life from nursery foundation year 1 to 18 years old key stage 5.

All four governments vote on and agree to adopt there own rules and education format according to how they perceive is the best policy for the children in their part of the UK.


Qualifications less transparent

Just because you trained and qualified in a job does not even mean you can practice anywhere is the UK.

Qualifications, awards and training experience are not uniform between all four government areas of the United Kingdom.

For example; a university student completing a law undergraduate degree (LLB) in England & Wales will not have their degree counted towards becoming a solicitor in Scotland, as it does not cover many parts of the Scottish legal system which is also different to England & Wales.

Teaching and college lecturer qualifications are also different and separate regulatory bodies that govern teaching standard in the UK.


Courses to study

Education courses range from school, college, and university, work-based learning education work-based learning education full time, part time, distance learning and open learning education in the UK. England & Wales have their own curriculum, with education in Scotland as separate education system, although very similar.


Basic stages British education

Stages of education are from 3 years old upwards from nursery school to higher education and professional study.


Nursery school

Children can attend a nursery school or known as preschool foundation studies learning where children at the age of 3-5 years old go before compulsory primary school education.

Emphasis on education learning are towards developing speech, reading activates with others and social skills.

There are free places for all young British children, although some parents that can afford the extra cost choose private fee-paying nurseries.


Primary school

A vast majority of children start their real education at the primary school stage, with grounding in literacy, numeracy, building on reading, social and moral skills. Children attend a primary school and follow a set curriculum from 5-12 years old.


There are fee paying public schools that some pupils go although for the vast majority of parents in the UK this is not affordable option.

Compulsory from 4 years old in Northern Ireland the rest of the UK children start at 5 years old primary school in the state or private fee paying sector.


  • In England & Wales key stage one is years 1, 2, and key stage 2 pupils age 8-11 years in year 3 to 6.
  • Scotland’s primary school children start at P1 (Primary one) up to P7 spending 7 compulsory years at primary school level.
  • Northern Ireland primary school children have a similar paths to the rest of the UK education system, although they are grouped into the first and second form infants and the first to the forth form juniors.


There are junior and infant schools within this age range in the public and private sector delivering a UK curriculum. Formal learning in subjects such as mathematics, English, history and sciences are all part of the education curriculum.


Yes, what a carry on in one country of the UK that is in fact four separate countries.

How do people think about moving to the United Kingdom and work out the education system in the UK?

The year before going of to secondary school at the age of 11 school pupils sit tests in all core subjects of mathematics, science, English to gauge how well they have done compared to national standards.

These grades are then used to place students in academic ability groups from the brightest students in the top set to the bottom set for the so-called dumb people.  Well, that is what I was called or maybe the teachers were no good.

Pupils then go on to comprehensive school or bright students take the tests for a grammar school place in England.  Children that go to grammar school are no better than other pupils, it is just they are more academically gifted at that stage in life.


More able students take the 11+ examinations to see if they can gain a place in a grammar school in England.


English grammar school

Attendance from 11-18 years old at a boy’s or girl’s grammar school is firstly through selective testing, and a competitive application process.

What is grammar school; not all counties in England have a boy’s or girl’s grammar school in each city or town as many grammar school places have been transferred into comprehensive schools.

Grammar schools provide an education framework for a pupil’s educational requirements, including ruby, football as well as a range of academic subjects.

Only a few grammar schools keep formal school systems along the lines of the Tripartite System.

Eleven plus examination is used solely to identify and select children suitable for grammar school education.

As all grammar school places are competitive other selection criteria are used to allocate places, such as siblings, distance or on faith grounds.


Counties that have a number of grammar schools include Buckinghamshire, Rugby and Stratford districts of Warwickshire, the Salisbury district of Wiltshire, Stroud in Gloucestershire and most of Lincolnshire, Kent and Medway which have highly competitive boy’s and girl’s grammar school places.


What is grammar school pupil performance?

The performance of children attending a grammar school in academic subjects tends to be higher in examination due to the selective nature of students at 11 years old.

In addition, fees are not payable, although sending children to a grammar school is more expensive for a visit, equipment and a boy’s grammar school uniform of that school.

A grammar school provides benefits for students attending the school in relation to academic, sporting and club activities. Studies show that boys learn better in a single sex class from the age of 12-16 years old.

Less distractions at a certain age at a grammar school helps students concentrate on their academic work. The competitive nature and higher ability level required in each subject means a grammar school is suitable for gifted children, although a boy’s grammar school does not match every child’s way of learning and environment.


Middle school

An education curriculum can be studied at a middle school from 11 up to 13/14 years old. In between a primary and the first 2 years of a secondary school a middle school provides a balanced UK curriculum and examination testing for independent and state schools.

Schools in this sector can be single-sex schools for boys or girls delivering an education UK curriculum.  Once again this is just an England school system in some counties like Bedfordshire, but not all.


Secondary school

A school delivering lessons at this level is for students from 11-18 years old. 16 years old is the leaving age for students in the UK, although students can stay on and gain education qualifications through sitting examinations at 16, 17 and 18 years.  As mentioned before pupils must stay in school in England if they are not in work or on a training program until 18 years old.

Children can attend a fee Children can attend a fee paying public school if the parents have the money, most parents do not have the funds to

send their children to have a private education at an independent school in the UK.

There are many independent schools, grammar schools and other secondary schools delivering similar curriculum’s.

From the age of 14 to 16 pupils must study core subjects of mathematics, sciences, English and other subjects that include history, languages, religious education, home economics, physical education and music.

Pupils also choose option subjects from a list that the school offers that can also be business & economics, computing or other languages.


At the age of 16 pupils take

GCSE examinations in England & Wales, and Northern Ireland

Scottish Qualification Authority qualifications at “Higher” level in Scottish schools

They are school leaving qualifications that can be used to help secure a job, training place or go onto further study.

For the pupils that stay on at school they choose subjects to study towards Advanced Subsidiary (AS) or A level awards or in Scotland Higher or Advanced Higher in Scotland.  Theses are the main awards pupils study towards, although schools can if they choose provide other options as well.


Sixth form college

Students can attend a college to learn and sit examinations for entry to higher education or for work, education UK courses studied are vocational or academics education examination based.  A good number of counties in England only have colleges for pupils go to take GCSE and A level qualifications, from the age of 16-18 years.



Further education colleges provide a range of school, university and work-based education courses. Traditionally they were set up as vocational community colleges providing school levers and adult s the option to study for a trade.

Colleges in the UK provide the option to gain nationally recognised qualification by part and full time study and are popular with British students and people from other countries.

Popular course qualifications include: National Certificate, Higher national certificate, Higher National Diplomas, GCSE, A Level’s. Plumber, electrician and healthcare industry qualifications.


Adult education centre

Education courses for learning development run in the community play a vital education UK role to develop adult learning.  Access courses in literacy and numeracy, reading as well and writing are offered to adults mainly free.



An education at UK University is available in all major towns and cities that provide a good range of courses at all levels of higher education UK qualifications.

Scottish Universities offer 4 year degree at undergraduate level where students start at 17 years old after completing Higher qualifications at school or college.

All other university students start their course at 18 years old in the other 3 home nations.

Universities in the UK a provide a vast amount of subjects to choose from that can be studies at full or part time, open & distance learning or by blended learning.

Students can study for an undergraduate degree that progress onto a masters taught degree or a master or doctorate qualification by conducting research.


Not all students gain a place on a university UK course as some do not have the right qualification grades or experiences required to be offered a place.

Also courses are very popular in some subjects including: Medicine, veterinary studies and media and not all students can be offered a place.

You would find yourself sitting next to local, national and international students as UK universities are a popular choice as they are recognised as providing a very good class of higher education.


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