Relocating your family to the UK can seem a bit daunting. Ensuring your kids find a school that is the right fit for them is important, but the UK school system is complex, and can be tricky to navigate as a first-timer. Luckily, we have a handy breakdown of the UK school system below. Read on so you can be fully prepared to make the best decision for your children.
How UK schools are structured
The UK school system is divided into three phases:
- Primary: Children aged 5 to 11
- Secondary: Children aged 11 to 16
- Further: Children aged 16+ taking A-Levels, GNVQs, BTECs and other qualifications
It is compulsory for all children in the UK to attend school in the primary and secondary phases, while further education is optional. Students who wish to attend a college or university to further their studies after school will need to complete their further education.
*See our comprehensive infographics on how South African schools compare to UK schools.
State-funded vs fee-paying schools
Schools in the UK are divided into state-funded and fee-paying.
State-funded schools are mostly free of charge and are usually called primary or secondary schools. Grammar schools are state-funded secondary schools with specific admission criteria. They usually require all applicants to take a common entrance exam. Fee-paying private schools are generally called preparatory or senior schools.
Types of schools in the UK
Below is a comprehensive breakdown of the most common types of schools in the UK:
|State boarding schools||
|Special needs schools||
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