1 In Northern Ireland, compulsory enrollment begins at age 4 and this
year is considered as ISCED 1.
2 In Northern Ireland, there are 14 years of schooling, with year 1 beginning at the preprimary level (age 4).
NOTE: Education levels are defined according to the 1997 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED97). Ages represent the typical age at the beginning of the school year. Numbers in bold print indicate ages of universal enrollment (i.e. an enrollment rate of over 90 percent). Numbers highlighted represent the age at which compulsory enrollment begins through the age at which compulsory enrollment ends. No meaning should be inferred from width of subdivisions. Duration of first university degree program is generally 3 years in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
SOURCE: Miller, D.C. and Warren L.K. (2011). Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries: 2011 (NCES 2012-007). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
NOTE: There are differences among the education systems of the United Kingdom. Oversight of education in England is the responsibility of the U.K. government and of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However, the purpose of this document is to present a brief, general summary of education in the United Kingdom. The sources cited at the end of this section provide more specific details about education in the different parts of the United Kingdom.
NOTE: Within the foundation stage/phase, many students in England and Wales attend a "reception class" in primary school. This is comparable to kindergarten in the United States (with academic activities).
NOTE: The primary school years are divided into stages. In England, these are key stage 1 and key stage 2. In Wales, these are the continuation of the foundation phase and key stage 2. In Northern Ireland, these are the foundation stage, key stage 1, and key stage 2.
NOTE: Most secondary schools combine lower and upper secon-dary education, catering to pupils ages 11 to either 15 (graduation at 16) or 17 (graduation at 18).
NOTE: For the post-compulsory upper secondary phase, students apply for a specific program at a secondary school, sixth form college, or further education college. Programs that provide access to higher education are at level 3 of the national qualifications framework and include both academic and vocationally oriented programs. There are also training and apprenticeship programs, which incorporate part-time study at a college or with a training provider. GCE A levels form the biggest group of academic programs. They are single-subject qualifications that may be studied in any combination within the limitations of a school's or college's resources. Students typically take three or four subjects in the first year of study to gain the intermediary AS qualification (separately certified) and then continue with three of these subjects to gain full A levels in them after the second year of study. Admission to higher education programs is made on the basis of subjects/grades in A levels (or equivalent qualifications) and subjects/grades at GCSE, together with a personal statement and a confidential reference. Additional admissions tests and interviews are used for a few highly competitive, creative, or care-related course programs, such as teaching and medicine.
NOTE: Training for some professions consists of an undergraduate program leading to a specialist degree recognized by the relevant professional or statutory body. In the case of medicine, this is a 5-year program that spans bachelor's and master's level study, but for historical reasons is titled bachelor's. This is followed by further professional training, but not necessarily by a further academic degree.
Eurydice. (2013). Eurydice Highlights: The Structure of the European Education Systems 2012/13. Brussels: Eurydice. Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/education_structures_EN.pdf.
Marlow-Ferguson, R. (Ed.) (2002). World Education Encyclopedia: A Survey of Educational Systems Worldwide, Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (1996). Education at a Glance 1996: OECD Indicators. Paris: Author.
Robitaille, D.F. (1997). National Contexts for Mathematics and Science Education: An Encyclopedia of the Education Systems Participating in TIMSS. Vancouver, Canada: Pacific Educational Press.