The UK school system: the complete guide

The British education system can be interesting for your expatriate children. Although expensive for private establishments, it is synonymous with the elite and attracts many international students.

The school curriculum in the UK

As in France, the school year in the United Kingdom begins in September and ends in July. It is divided into three terms divided and separated by school holidays: from September to Christmas (Autumn Term), from January to Easter (Spring Term) and from April to July (Summer Term). Education is compulsory from the age of 5 to 18 in England, and up to 16 in other parts of the UK. Classes are generally limited to 20 students.

Foundation stage, private Nursery Schools

Since school is only compulsory from the age of 5, the foundation stage is only covered in the private sector. These nursery schools look after children for the equivalent of our first two years of kindergarten. They can accommodate children all day or half day. Nurseries can also take care of your children from the age of 3 months. Be careful because their costs can be very expensive.

Key internships in the UK

Key internships in the UK

From the age of 5, classes in the UK are counted as key stages. The equivalent of the large section of kindergarten and CP is the first Key stage, key stage 2 includes classes from CE1 to CM2, Key stage 3 groups 6th to 4th, Key stage 4 (GCSE) goes from 3e to 2nde and Post-16 education (A-levels) corresponds to 1ère and Terminale.

In England and Wales, years increase with age. Year 1, then Year 2… until Year 13 for Terminale.

In Northern Ireland and Scotland, the school year runs from P2 to P7 (age 5 to 10). In Northern Ireland, the system is then shifted by one year but uses the Year system. Going from Year 8 at age 11 to Year 14 for Terminale. In Scotland, the system then changes to S1 for the age of 11, up to S6. Higher Education begins at the age of 17 in Scotland, compared to 18 in the rest of the country.

UK primary school

UK primary school

Primary school in the UK is divided into two Key Stages. The Key Stage 1 includes the first two years and allows you to learn the basics such as learning to read and write. Key stage 2 takes place over four years and ends with an exam. From the age of 5, school being compulsory, you can enroll your children in free public establishments (State School). Private schools (Independent School and Public School) are very expensive.

UK secondary school

Secondary education in the UK

Key stages 3 and 4 include middle school and high school. You can opt for a general establishment: comprehensive State or a more elite grammar school which is only accessible after passing the +11 exam. The establishments can be public (secular or denominational) or private, but in this case, it is necessary to count around £30,000 per year.

At the end of Key Stage 3, students must pass a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examination. They must choose between 9 and 12 subjects among 15 to 40 proposed, including 6 compulsory (English, maths, biology, physics and chemistry).

Following this exam, students can either leave school (in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) or continue with A-Levels focusing on 3 or 4 subjects. In England, school being compulsory until the age of 18, pupils can leave for apprenticeships or technical schools if they do not wish to continue a general school career.

A boarding school in the UK

Boarding school in the UK

Many expatriate parents also choose the option of sending their children to boarding school in the UK. There are more than 500 across the UK. Children can enter them from the age of 4-5 years and they offer a quality education. The advantage for the students is also to be completely immersed in British culture and to make English and international friends there. The various boarding schools also offer high-level sports and cultural activities. It takes an average of £25,000 per year.

Is uniform compulsory in the UK?

In 98% of schools in the UK, whether public or private, uniform is compulsory.

French schools in the UK

French establishments in London

There are many French and bilingual establishments in the UK. Education is not free, but scholarships can be awarded for establishments under contract, agreement or approval. Check with your consulate.

London Winston Churchill International High School

the International School of London Winston Churchill is a mixed independent school, offering a bilingual education to children aged 3 to 18, located in the London Borough of Brent, accredited by the French government and a member of the AEFE, the network of French schools abroad.

It offers a bilingual environment from our awakening program (from 3 years old), through primary school (from 6 to 11 years old), to secondary school where 7th year students can choose to follow the program leading to the French Baccalaureate (with the possibility of adding the OIB) or the English International Program leading to the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP).

The French Lycée Charles de Gaulle in London

the Charles de Gaulle French High School in London is an establishment governed by the AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad) which today has 3,450 students divided between its main site in South Kensington and its three secondary primary schools: André Malraux, Marie d’Orliac and Wix.

The French School of London Jacques Prévert

The French School of London Jacques Prévert allows children to follow a schooling similar to that of children residing in France, by following the same approved programs and obtaining the same diplomas following their secondary schooling. The school is very international, with more than 30 nationalities among its students, offering socialization on a human scale, learning in French and English as well as a multicultural education, open to the United Kingdom and beyond.

The French bilingual college in London

Created in 2011, the French Bilingual College of London offers bilingual French-English education to 700 students aged 3 to 15. Well-being, openness to the world and the joy of learning are at the heart of the philosophy of our “school house”.

Battersea School

L’Battersea School offers an exceptional bilingual education whose program combines the French education system of National Education and the English system. It welcomes children from 3 to 11 years old. It prepares children to be open-minded, confident, expressive and curious in order to have all the assets to succeed in the next stage of their education, whether in the best British establishments or in international schools such as the Lycée Français .

The Stewart Bilingual School

Stewart Bilingual School is a long-established family-run nursery and primary school that stands out from other bilingual schools with its dual French and British curriculum. It welcomes children from 2 to 11 years old of all nationalities, who already speak French and/or English, as well as those who wish to acquire these two languages. The Stewart Bilingual School – La Petite Ecole Bilingue comprises a total of 4 schools based in London (Oxford Gardens and Kentish Town), Paris and Bordeaux. Lady Anne Henderson-Stewart oversees these schools and ensures that they are consistent in their teaching approach and that there is a strong link between each school for the betterment of our children’s education.

Jeannine Manuel School

L’Jeannine Manuel School is a French, bilingual and international school. Located in the heart of London, it welcomes students aged 3 to 18. This school in London is the little sister of the Jeannine Manuel school in Paris, ranked the best high school in France for the tenth consecutive year.

The Franco-English International School (Eifa)

L’EIFA is an international, independent and secular school offering a bilingual education in French and English. EIFA has a child-centered teaching method while encouraging the linguistic diversity of its students – thus forming responsible global citizens while promoting multicultural adaptation through teaching in at least two languages.

The UK school system: the complete guide