Schools in the UK are free, efficient, organized and therefore accessible to the whole population. Those costs are only for food and uniforms. For this reason, some people choose to put their children in public schools, but there are also options for private schools, called Independents schools.

In today’s post, we will explain how the public education system works in England. Check out!

Academic Year and Holidays

The school year starts at the beginning of September and ends at the end of July. The days may vary according to the school council. Remembering that the teaching schedule is complete beginning in the morning and ending only in the afternoon.

The holidays are a little different than in Brazil, for example. There are several breaks during the year, the longest holidays will be between a school year and another, lasting around 1 month and a half. Divided periods are called terms. Each term has a 1-week break during the period and between one and the other is 2-weeks.


Nurseries are equivalent to daycare centers in another countries and children from 3 years old are empowered to 15 hours a week free of charge. If you choose to put before that age you will probably have to shell out a figure.


At age 4 the child starts in the class called Reception, which is not part of the necessary curriculum but many primary schools already offer. Only after the age of 5 does schooling become required and the child must be registered in a school.

Primary School

Primary schools correspond to elementary education and run from year 1 to year 6, meaning the ages of 5 to 11 years. Primary education is split into:

Key Stage 1 – years 1 and 2

Key Stage 2 – year 3 through year 6

Secondary School

Secondary schools are equivalent to elementary education II and high school and it runs from year 7 to year 11. At this stage, it is likely that the child will have to change schools. There are also schools called Grammar schools, these are secondary public schools considered to be differentiated and consequently popular. During the year 6 students can take a test to be called to study in these schools depending on the score reached.

The secondary education comprises the ages of 11 to 16 years and is divided into:

Key Stage 3 – years 7 to 9

Key Stage 4 – 10 and 11 years

It is also during this period that students take the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exam that is important for university education and the professional future, as some job openings require it.

Sixth Form

Some secondary schools do not have Sixth Form which is the last years year 12 and year 13 attended between the ages of 16 and 18 as they are not required. At this age, the teenager can decide to work. The Sixth Form is divided into year 12 also called Lower Sixth and year 13 calling Upper Sixth.

This point can be considered preparatory to the university teaching and a direction for the student for the future career.

If you have recently moved to UK and still do not know how to register your children in the schools, it is quite simple, just go to the council of your area and they will guide you the best option based on your address and available positions.


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