Currently in the UK, a basic secondary education is compulsory up until the age of 16. (However this is due to change in 2015 rising the age to 18 in order to include a post-secondary study defined as further education).
Students are expected earn a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE’s) in a range of subjects. The choices of subjects undertaken is up to the individual student, however it is compulsory that Mathematics, English and Science is included. All Further education entry requirements include Mathematics, English and Science GCSE’s at grades A-C (or the equivalent thereof) as these are considered the core basics that every student should have regardless of other GCSE subjects undertaken. This is basic level two in the NQF framework.
There are three types of schooling at this level available in the UK, all three of which are listed below:
- State School
- A school that is funded and controlled by the government and for which no fees are charged
- Independent School (AKA Public or Private Schools)
- Independent schools do not receive funds from the government or local authorities, but they are not necessarily private schools (which in England is any school which is run to make a profit).
- Home Schooling
- Home-schooling is an alternative method of teaching where the parent delivers an educational program to children at home.
The schooling life cycle is based on the level of education delivered in relation to the age of the child. Schooling is broken down into five groups based on age:
- Ages 3-4
- Between the ages of three and four, parents can get their children started in education by having them attend nursery schools or an early learning play group. This education is not compulsory and is entirely up to the parent if they wish to enrol their children at this early age.
- Ages 4-16
- Between the ages of 4-16, children will be expected to undergo the compulsory education system in the UK. Every child in the UK will be entitled to an allocated space in a state school. However the parent can opt out and have their child go to a private school.
- Primary Education
- Between the ages of 4-11 attend a primary school. Named as such because it imparts a primary education that prepared the child for secondary education. Primary schools are also known as infant school, preparatory school or junior school.
- Secondary Education
- Between the ages of 11-16, children attend secondary school. During this time, children are prepared for GCSE examinations which allow them access to further education.
- Post 16 Education
- This is non-compulsory education. However any education beyond this age falls into the category of further education.