Your guide to education in England

England is a fantastic place to study! Home to high-quality schools and a highly-respected education system, students have a wonderful experience studying in England.

Some people find the education system a little bit confusing – so let us explain it to you!

Primary education

Students in England attend primary school from the age of 5-11. At the end of primary school, students sit the SAT (Standard Assessment Tests) exams, and the results of these exams show the progress made at primary school and help set pupils up for secondary school.

Secondary education

Students in England attend secondary school – or high school – from the ages of 11-16. Most students study 9-11 subjects during this time, including a combination of compulsory subjects (including English, Maths and Science) and optional subjects (such as Religious Education or Art).

During the final two years of high school, students work towards their GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exams.

Students aged 16+ may go on to study A Levels at school or college, or undertake vocational training. When studying for A Levels, students usually study 3-4 subjects of their choosing – there are no compulsory subjects. If students are studying vocational subjects, they may take BTEC (the Business and Technology Education Council) qualifications.

Colleges are essentially the same as high schools, specifically for students aged 16-18, and offer a slightly more relaxed and independent experience.

Tertiary education

Students aged 18+ may choose to go on to university, or further vocational studies. The most famous, historic and well-respected universities in England include Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Durham and King’s College London, though there are many excellent universities across the country.

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