British education system

Britain has a unique education system with a totally different structure than the more plain Norwegian education system. There are some characteristics in British school that are equivalent to Norwegian school, though, such as compulsory education till age 16 and the fact that all education, except education offered at independent schools, is state-funded through government taxation. This article has the intention of explaining and hopefully even visualizing the complex structure of the British education system.

Age
Year
Curriculum stage
Type of school
3
Nursery
Foundation Stage
Nursery school
4
Reception
5
Year 1
Key Stage 1
Primary school
6
Year 2
7
Year 3
Key Stage 2
8
Year 4
9
Year 5
10
Year 6
11
Year 7
Key Stage 3
Secondary school
12
Year 8
13
Year 9
14
Year 10
Key Stage 4/GCSE
15
Year 11
16
Year 12 (Lower Sixth form)
Sixth form or A level
17
Year 13 (Upper Sixth form)

Nursery school (from age three to five)
Nursery school is the first education institution in the education pyramid, and nursery is introduced to the children as early as at age three. This type of education is not compulsory, but it is very commonly attended. The schools have certain learning goals, which are:
  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Language, literacy and communication
  • Mathematical development
  • Knowledge and understanding of the world
  • Physical development
  • Creative development
Primary school (from age four to ten)
Primary school is the first compulsory learning institution in Britain, and the primary level is often divided into infant schools and junior schools. Infant school is for children ranging from four to seven years old, while junior school is for children ranging from seven to eleven years old.
Secondary school and sixth form (from age eleven to sixteen or eighteen)
Secondary school is intended for children from eleven to eighteen, or if desired, to sixteen, since education in Britain only is compulsory till age sixteen. The last two years at secondary school is called sixth form, and this period of time is used to prepare for A-levels exams, which is required for university entrance. In later years, there has been set up separate colleges for the purpose of tutoring A-levels students.