Channing Senior School Students

The UK Education System

In the UK, children must attend full-time education from the ages of 4+ to 16.

Schools are either state schools funded by the government and free for their pupils, or they are independent or ‘private’ (also sometimes described as ‘public’), and charge fees.

Channing is an independent school for girls aged 4-18.

Schools are split into age groups:

Ages 0-4

Children can attend nurseries which are either stand-alone or part of a larger school. Some nurseries operate as ‘day-care’ and others are educational, preparing the children for starting school.

Ages 4-11

Children attend junior (also known as primary) school (Years Reception to 6).

Ages 11-16

Children attend secondary school (Years 7 to 11).
At age 16, students take GCSE exams covering Maths, English Language, English Literature and Sciences, and other chosen subjects.

Ages 16-18

Students attend sixth form or college.
They can choose to take A levels, a type of further education qualification, if they want to go to university. Some independent schools also teach the IB and other qualifications

The National Curriculum was introduced by the government in 1988. It sets out a programme of study and attainment for all subjects, organised in block of years called ‘Key Stages’.

The five Key Stages are:
Early Years: Nursery and Reception for pupils aged between 3 and 5 years old
Key Stage 1: Years 1 and 2 for pupils aged between 5 and 7 years old
Key Stage 2: Years 3 to 6 – for pupils aged between 7 and 11 years old
Key Stage 3 – Years 7 to 9 – for pupils aged between 11 and 14 years old,
Key Stage 4 – Years 10 to 11 – for pupils aged between 14 and 16 years old
Key Stage 5 – Years 12 to 13 – for pupils aged between 16 and 18 years old.

All UK state schools are required to follow the National Curriculum.
Independent schools are not required to follow the National Curriculum in the same detail as state schools, but they must show that they provide a good all-round education and they are inspected regularly every few years.

In independent schools, most pupils stay at school until the age of 18 and nearly all pupils go on to university after they leave school.

Higher education:

Ages 18+
After Sixth Form, students may choose to study a bachelor’s (or ‘undergraduate’) degree.
Bachelor’s degrees in England usually last 3–4 years. They focus on writing and analytical thinking, helping students to develop academic and work-related skills.

University graduates can then study a master’s (or ‘postgraduate’) degree.
A master’s degree in England usually lasts 1 year. It requires extensive research, in-depth analysis and a demonstration of critical thinking.