How the education system works
All children in England who are between 5 and 16 years old need to have full-time education that meets their needs. You can send your child to school or educate them yourself.
What children learn
The national curriculum is a set of guidelines schools use to make sure children around the country learn the same things.
Community primary and secondary schools run by the council follow the national curriculum. Other schools, such as free schools, academies and private schools can follow a different curriculum.
The national curriculum is split up into school years and key stages.
|Age||School year||Curriculum stage||School type|
|4 to 5||Reception||Foundation stage||Primary school||Infant school|
|5 to 6||Year 1||Key stage 1|
|6 to 7||Year 2|
|7 to 8||Year 3||Key stage 2||Junior school|
|8 to 9||Year 4|
|9 to 10||Year 5|
|10 to 11||Year 6|
|11 to 12||Year 7||Key stage 3||Secondary school with sixth form||Secondary school|
|12 to 13||Year 8|
|13 to 14||Year 9|
|14 to 15||Year 10||Key stage 4 and GCSEs|
|15 to 16||Year 11|
|16 to 17||Year 12||Sixth form and A Levels, BTEC and other qualifications||College|
|17 to 18||Year 13|