The Education System

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Compulsory education within England ranges from the ages of 5 to 16, with most children beginning their education in the year of their 5th birthday.

However, please note, the system has recently changed and mandatory education until the age of 18 is being phased in under the Education and Skills Act 2008, this means that by 2013 it will be compulsory for young people to participate in education or training up to the age of 17, and by 2015 up to the age of 18.

Currently the main tiers contained within the UK Education System are:

  • Pre-School and Foundation (EYFS): 3 to 5 years old
  • Primary: (Key Stage 1 and 2) 5 to 11 years old
  • Secondary: (Key Stage 3 and 4) 11 to 16 years old
  • Further and Higher: 16 years and over

Assessment and Examinations

The first three stages of assessment are taken at the ages of 7 (Key Stage 1), 11 (Key Stage 2) and 14 (Key Stage 3). Key Stage 4 typically covers pupils aged between 14 and 16, at this stage your child will be studying a mixture of compulsory and optional subjects (their options). At the end of this stage your child will normally sit national examinations, usually GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education), but with the recent reforms in the education system they will also be able to choose from a growing range of diplomas and vocational qualifications.

Within in these reforms if you were born on or after 1st September 1997 you will be required to continue with some form of education until after your 18th Birthday.

Your options are:

  • full-time education - e.g. at a school or college
  • an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • part-time education or training - as well as being employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week

If they choose to continue into Further or Higher Education there are a range of Advanced Level qualifications (A Levels) or further education courses that they can select, visit the website for further information.

Further Reading