Choice in Education

All parents have a choice in which school their child goes to, both at primary and secondary.

There are a variety of schools that you can choose from. Factors you will want to take into account when choosing a school are:

  • Its OFSTED report – this gives you a lot of information
  • Its academic results and where it is in the league tables
  • Transport – how easy it is to get there and how much time it will take

All of these reports you can find online and are published by your Local Authority.

You should also attend an open day at the school. Most people say that the quality of the headteacher is everything so try and meet them.

Secondary schools teach the full curriculum but will have specialities. Some might be known for the Performing Arts, others for Science. You will want to look at what your child’s talents are and therefore which school you want to apply for.

Beware, there will be competition for places at the best schools and you may not get your first choice so make sure you have checked out the schools that look good and have put in a good application.

There are lots of resources to help you make the right choice, start here:

Most importantly, make sure you know the closing dates for application and that you have done all your research a long time before the closing dates.


You have a lot of choice of universities but it is now expensive. It costs £9200 a year for tuition plus you have to live. You will want to choose a course that you enjoy, will do well in and will help you into the career of your choice.

You will want to know:

  • What your course includes and whether there is a work placement as part of it
  • University ranking
  • Student reviews
  • Rate of graduate employment

The top two universities in the country are Oxford and Cambridge which are very hard to get a place in. There is also a group of 24 universities known as the Russell Group which describe themselves as world-class.

You might want to study a vocational course in which case there are a variety of places to choose from.

Check out this advice before you start:

After you have checked this advice, you might want to look at sites like:

Accrediting your overseas qualifications
The UK has lots of openings for qualified professionals and in many areas, a skill shortage. So, to work as professional, you need to make sure that your qualifications are recognised in the UK as equivalent to the UK standard.
Most professions have their own professional body known as Institutes so you will need to find the right institute for your profession.

However, they are not all called the Institute, sometimes they will start with Royal or Chartered, e.g. the Chartered Institute of Surveyors or the Royal College of Midwives so in your google search try all 3 words. Your professional body should be able to provide guidance on how to have your qualifications accredited so that you can practice in the UK.

For some professions, membership of your institute is mandatory in order to practice and if you are found to be incompetent they can revoke your membership. For other professions such as Human Resources, it is advisable to join but not mandatory. It’s a really good idea to join though. Institutes give you access to a specialist library, networking opportunities and often support such as a helpline.
If you come from outside the European Union, you need to know about Naric provides a service that accredits your qualifications. You will need them translated by an official translator.
Go to facebook to tell us your story of how you joined a UK profession.

An overview of education in the UK
Across the UK there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE). Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 (4 in Northern Ireland) and 18.

FE is not compulsory and covers non-advanced education which can be taken at further (including tertiary) education colleges and HE institutions (HEIs). The fifth stage, HE, is study beyond GCE A levels and their equivalent and, for most full-time students, takes place in universities and other HEIs and colleges.
Education in England may differ from the system used elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Basically, there are two systems: one covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland and one covering Scotland. The two education systems have different emphases. Traditionally the English, Welsh and Northern Irish system has emphasised depth of education whereas the Scottish system has emphasised breadth.

Thus English, Welsh and Northern Irish students tend to sit a small number of more advanced examinations and Scottish students tend to sit a larger number of less advanced examinations. It should be noted that local English practice can vary from this general picture although Scottish practice is well nigh universal.

In general, the cut-off point for ages is the end of August, so all children must be of a particular age on the 1st of September in order to begin class that month.

•Primary Education
•Infant School or Primary School
• Reception, age 4 to 5
• Year 1, age 5 to 6
• Year 2, age 6 to 7 (KS1 National Curriculum Tests – England only)
• Junior School or Primary School
• Year 3, age 7 to 8
• Year 4, age 8 to 9
• Year 5, age 9 to 10
• Year 6, age 10 to 11 (Eleven plus exams in some areas of England, Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Tests)

Secondary Education
• Middle School, High School or Secondary School
• Year 7, old First Form, age 11 to 12
• Year 8, old Second Form, age 12 to 13
• Year 9, old Third Form, age 13 to 14 (Key Stage 3 National Curriculum Tests, known as SATs (Standard Assessment Tests))
• Upper School or Secondary School
• Year 10, old Fourth Form, age 14 to 15
• Year 11, old Fifth Form, age 15 to 16 (old O Level examinations, modern GCSE examinations)
• Upper School, Secondary School, or Sixth Form College
• Year 12 or Lower Sixth, age 16 to 17 (AS-level examinations)
• Year 13 or Upper Sixth, age 17 to 18 (A2-level examinations. Both AS-levels and A2-levels count towards A-levels.)
In some regions of England, pupils attend a Lower (Primary) School before going to a Middle School between 8 and 12 or, more commonly 9 and 13, and then a High School or Upper School. Other, more vocational qualifications offered include GNVQs and BTECs.

In general, the cut-off point for ages is the end of August, so all children must be of a particular age on the 1st of September in order to begin class that month.

• Nursery School
• Year 1, age 3 to 5
• Primary School
• Primary 1, age range 4 to 6
• Primary 2, age range 5 to 7
• Primary 3, age range 6 to 8
• Primary 4, age range 7 to 9
• Primary 5, age range 8 to 10
• Primary 6, age range 9 to 11
• Primary 7, age range 10 to 12

•Secondary School
• Year 8, age range 11 to 13
• Year 9, age range 12 to 14
• Year 10, age range 13 to 15
• Year 11, age range 14 to 16
• Year 12 or lower sixth, age range 15 to 17
• Year 13 or upper sixth 16 to 18
Note that the age ranges specify the youngest age for a child entering that year and the oldest age for a child leaving that year. Also note that children may leave school at the end of any school year after they reach 16 years of age and that they may attend Scottish universities when they are 17. Therefore two sets of national examinations are held. The first set, the Standard Grade examinations, take place in the Fourth year of secondary school and show basic education level. The second set, the Higher examinations take place in the Fifth and Sixth years. A third level, Advanced Higher, is sometimes taken by students intending to study at an English university, or those wishing to pass straight into second year at a Scottish university, and covers the gap between the Scottish “Higher” level and the English “Advanced” level courses, although there is not always a one-to-one mapping.

In general, the cut-off point for ages is the end of August, so all children must be of a particular age on the 1st of September in order to begin class that month.

• Primary Education
• Primary School
• Primary 1, age 4 to 5
• Primary 2, age 5 to 6
• Primary 3, age 6 to 7
• Primary 4, age 7 to 8
• Primary 5, age 8 to 9
• Primary 6, age 9 to 10
• Primary 7, age 10 to 11 (Eleven plus exams to determine secondary school placement.)

• Secondary Education
• High School or Grammar School
• First Form, age 11 to 12
• Second Form, age 12 to 13
• Third Form, age 13 to 14
• Fourth Form, age 14 to 15
• Fifth Form, age 15 to 16 (old O-Level examinations, modern GCSE examinations)
• High School, Grammar School, or Sixth Form College
• Lower Sixth, age 16 to 17 (AS-level examinations, where applicable)
• Upper Sixth, age 17 to 18 (A-levels)

The German expression kindergarten usually refers to the first level of official education, according to the K-12 educational system. Kindergarten is usually administered in an elementary school.
The equivalent in England and Wales is reception. The Australian equivalent of this is the preparatory grade (commonly called ‘grade prep’ or ‘prep’), which is the year before the first grade. In the state of New South Wales, however, it is called kindergarten. At least in Victoria, kindergarten (distinct from grade prep) is a form of, and used interchangeably with, pre-school.

See more at:


Primary or elementary education is the first years of formal, structured education that occurs during childhood. In most Western countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education (though in many jurisdictions it is permissible for parents to provide it. If you wish to home school you will need to check the approvals needed with your Local Authority).
Primary education generally begins when children are four to seven years of age. The division between primary and secondary education is somewhat arbitrary, but it generally occurs at about twelve years of age (adolescence); some educational systems have separate middle schools for that period. Primary and secondary education together are sometimes (in particular, in Canada and the United States) referred to as “K-12” education, (K is for kindergarten, 12 is for twelfth grade).


Secondary education , or secondary school , is a period of education which follows directly after primary education (such as intermediate school or elementary school ), and which may be followed by tertiary or “post-secondary” education. The purpose of a secondary education can be to prepare for either higher education or vocational training . The exact boundary between primary and secondary education varies from country to country and even within them, but is generally around the seventh to the tenth year of education, with middle school covering any gaps. Secondary education occurs mainly during the teenage years. Primary and secondary education together are sometimes (in particular, in Canada and the United States ) referred to as ” K-12 ” education, ( K is for kindergarten , 12 is for twelfth grade).


Higher education is education provided by universities and other institutions that award academic degrees, such as university colleges, and liberal arts colleges.

Higher education includes both the teaching and the research activities of universities, and within the realm of teaching, it includes both the undergraduate level (sometimes referred to as tertiary education) and the graduate (or postgraduate) level (sometimes referred to as quaternary education). Higher education differs from other forms of post-secondary education such as vocational education. However, most professional education is included within higher education, and many postgraduate qualifications are strongly vocationally or professionally oriented, for example in disciplines such as law and medicine.

The costs for a normal education in the United Kingdom are as follows:
• Primary: No Charge
• Secondary: No Charge
• Further (Secondary) Education in either a sixth form or college: No Charge if under 19 in that particular academic year or on a low income.
• Higher / Tertiary Education (University): A tuition fee per year (varies from £1,000 for vocational training to £9,000 for universities).

State funded schools are paid for from taxation.
Primary and Secondary education can also be charged for, if a fee-paying school is attended by the child in question. It’s called private school at primary and often, public school at secondary school. The most famous public schools charge about £30,000 per year.