What is the UK education system

School system in the UK


The UK school system is different for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The following figures are approximate average values.

In Great Britain, school attendance is compulsory from 5 to 16 years of age. Before that, parents have the choice of keeping their children at home, going with them to a toddler group, or sending their offspring to a playgroup (such as kindergarten) or a nursery school.

At the age of 5, compulsory schooling begins for all children at the “Primary School”, which lasts for 6 years. The primary school in Great Britain is often divided into “Infant School” (the first two years) and “Junior School” (the following 4 years).

After primary school, the students switch to "secondary school". This corresponds roughly to our middle schools (secondary school) or grammar schools (secondary school with 6th form).

The school year is not divided into 2 half-years, as is the case with us, but there are 3 school phases (three terms). The students have about 12-13 weeks of vacation per year.

<>nursery school
5-11primary school
or5-7infant school
7-11junior school
11-18secondary school with 6th form
or11-16secondary school
16-186th form college

When talking about the school year, the UK usually uses the basic number e.g. B. 'year ten'. (In the USA, on the other hand, the ordinal number is usually used, e.g. 'tenth grade'.)


At the primary school, students have lessons Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. There are usually between 25 and 35 students in a class. In primary school, the children mainly learn arithmetic, reading and writing. They also learn about their country and religion. They also have sport and are already learning their first foreign language.

At the Secondary School, too, the students have classes from Monday to Friday, but the class day is a little longer - usually from 8.45 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. The main subjects taught are English, math, natural sciences (biology, physics, chemistry), modern foreign languages ​​(French, German, Spanish), religion, social studies, sports, IT, geography and history. In addition to the compulsory subjects, the schools also offer other subjects that students can choose from. At around 16 years of age, students take exams in various subjects and decide whether they want to leave school or continue with the 6th form, which leads to the A-level (Abitur).

Incidentally, gifted students have the opportunity to take some exams earlier and then take a further course in this or another subject.


The grades in Great Britain (as in other English-speaking countries) are not numbers but letters.

  • A> 80% (very good)
  • B> 70% (good)
  • C> 60% (satisfactory)
  • D> 50% (just failed)
  • E> 40% (failed)
  • F. < 40%="" (nicht="">

All grades lower than C usually mean 'failed'. Still, there is no sitting down in the UK - all students are automatically promoted to the next higher class. There are special tutoring programs in the school for students with learning difficulties.

School types

Most students in the UK attend state schools. These are financed through taxpayers' money so that parents do not have to pay school fees. There are also numerous private schools (independent schools), for which an annual fee must be paid.

The pupils can choose between mixed and pure boys 'or girls' schools.

school uniform

Students in the UK usually wear a school uniform. This consists z. B. from:

  • Blazer or sweatshirt with the school logo
  • Shirt with tie or polo or T-shirt
  • dark pants or dark skirt
  • black shoes

In some schools, students have to wear a shirt with a tie and blazer; in other schools, t-shirts and sweatshirts are more common. The colors for the clothes are also given by the school, usually a dark blue, gray, green or brown.