In the UK 93% of the children in England and Wales go to “state schools”. State schools are non fee-paying, funded from taxes and most are organised by Local Authorities (LA). Parents are expected to make sure that their child has a pen, pencil, ruler etc. but the cost of other more specialised equipment, books, examination fees are covered by the school. Parents are, however, expected to pay for their child’s school uniform and items of sports-wear.
Primary schools (5 – 11 year olds):
In the UK, the first level of education is known as primary education. Parents are strongly encouraged to help their children, particularly with reading and writing, and small amounts of homework are set to all children, even during the early years at school.
Secondary schools (11 – 16 year olds):
Most children transfer at the age of 11 – usually to their nearest secondary school, though the law allows parents in England and Wales to express preferences for other schools too. A place has to be offered at the parents’ preferred school unless the school has more applicants than places; in that case it will admit the children who have the highest priority under its published admission arrangements which can vary a little in different places.
Nearly 88 per cent of secondary school pupils in England go to comprehensive schools, as do all pupils in Wales. These take children of all abilities and provide a wide range of secondary education for all or most of the children in a district from 11 to 16 or 18. All children in Scotland go to non-selective schools.
Grammar Schools are selective, they offer academically oriented general education. Entrance is based on a test of ability, usually at 11 (11+). Grammar schools are single sexed schools i.e. Children either go to a boys Grammar School or a Girls Grammar School. There are grammar schools in Northern Ireland and some parts of England.
Fee Paying Schools:
7% of the children in England go to independent schools. Independent schools are known as private schools and public schools. Parents pay for their children to attend these schools.
Nursery/Kindergarten (2 to 4 years)
Pre-preparatory (3 or 4 to 7 years)
Preparatory (7 to 11 or 13 years)
Public (11 or 13 to 18 years)
A preparatory school is a school to prepare pupils to go to a public school.
A public school is an independent secondary school. Public schools in England are not run by the government. The entrance exams used by most public schools are known as Common Entrance exams and are taken at the age of 11 (girls) or 13 (boys).
Around 30% of the 18 to 19 year olds enter full-time higher education. The formal entry requirements to most degree courses are two A-levels at grade E or above. In practice, most offers of places require qualifications in excess of this.