Secondary Schools in UK


Education in the England is compulsory for everyone between the ages of five and sixteen. Most England children enter the state education system when they go to primary school at the age of five and generally move to secondary school at the age of eleven.

Pupils must take national Standard Assessment Tests (SATs). These tests give an independent measure of how pupils and schools are doing compared with national standards in these subjects

The main exam is the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) which pupils take at about 16 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a similar but separate system in Scotland.

Any maintained secondary school in England can become a ‘specialist school’ in areas such as technology, languages, sports or arts. The schools meet full national curriculum requirements, but have a special focus on the chosen speciality.

In England and Wales secondary school is for children from the ages of 11 to 18. Secondary school incorporates Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 of the National Curriculum (Year Seven to Year Eleven) and can also include sixth form. After 16 compulsory education ends, and young people can decide whether to continue their studies further at school or sixth form college, or leave the education system.

There are six main types of state secondary school in England:

  • Academies
  • City Technology Colleges
  • Comprehensive schools
  • Free schools
  • Grammar schools
  • Secondary modern schools

There are a variety of independent fee-paying schools in the private sector, many of which are highly selective. Private schools in England are often referred to as public schools. Many private schools are boarding schools.