Educational stage

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Educational stages are subdivisions of formal learning, typically covering early childhood education, primary education, secondary education and tertiary education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes nine levels of education in its International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) system (from Level 0 (pre-primary education) through Level 8 (doctoral)). UNESCO's International Bureau of Education maintains a database of country-specific education systems and their stages. [1]



Education during childhood and early adulthood is typically provided through either a two- or three-stage system of childhood school, followed by additional stages of higher education or vocational education for those who continue their formal education:

The following table introduces the main concepts, although terms and ages may vary in different places:

AgeEducational stage2-stage system3-stage system ISCED
4 Early childhood education Preschool Preschool 0
6 Primary education Primary school Elementary school1
11 Middle school 2
13 Secondary education Secondary school
17High school3

For additional ISCED stages of education, see ISCED.

Alternative organisational structures

Sudbury schools

Sudbury schools do not use formal grade levels or educational stages. Instead, students ages 4 through 18 are intermingled in a democratic educational system, relying on a series of certifications to use equipment that may require specialized knowledge or safety procedures. These certifications are not typically restricted by age, but rather by demonstrated ability. [2]

By country


In Australia, children undergo thirteen years of formal education (plus non-compulsory preschool or kindergarten), usually starting at age 4, 5 or 6, and finishing at age 17, 18 or 19. The years are numbered from "Kindergarten" to 12.

In New South Wales (NSW), Western Australia (WA), Queensland (QLD) and Victoria (VIC), primary school is Kindergarten (NSW)/Prep (Vic & Qld)/Pre-primary (WA) and Years 1–6, and secondary school, Years 7–12 (see table below).

Kindergarten3–5 Preschool
Prep/Kindergarten/Pre-primary/Foundation5–6 (sometimes 4–5) Primary
Grade or Year 16–7 (sometimes 5–6)
Grade or Year 27–8 (sometimes 6–7)
Grade or Year 38–9 (sometimes 7–8)
Grade or Year 49–10 (sometimes 8–9)
Grade or Year 510–11 (sometimes 9–10)
Grade or Year 611–12 (sometimes 10–11)
Grade or Year 712–13 (sometimes 11–12) Secondary
Grade or Year 813–14 (sometimes 12–13)
Grade or Year 914–15 (sometimes 13–14)
Grade or Year 1015–16 (sometimes 14–15)
Grade or Year 1116–17 (sometimes 15–16)
Grade or Year 1217–18 (sometimes 16–17)

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Tasmania (TAS), primary school is Kindergarten (ACT)/Prep (Tas) and years 1–6, secondary school is years 7–10 and college or Senior Secondary is years 11 and 12 (see table below).

Pre Kindergarten3–5 Preschool
Kindergarten/Prep5–6 Primary
Grade or Year 16–7
Grade or Year 27–8
Grade or Year 38–9
Grade or Year 49–10
Grade or Year 510–11
Grade or Year 611–12
Grade or Year 712–13 Secondary
Grade or Year 813–14
Grade or Year 914–15
Grade or Year 1015–16
Grade or Year 1116–17College/senior secondary
Grade or Year 1217–18

In South Australia, primary school is Reception and Years 1–7 (until 2022 [3] at which time Year 7 will move in line with NSW/QLD/VIC/WA), and secondary school is Years 8–12 (see table below).

Kindergarten3–5 Preschool
Reception5–6 Primary
Grade or Year 16–7
Grade or Year 27–8
Grade or Year 38–9
Grade or Year 49–10
Grade or Year 510–11
Grade or Year 611–12
Grade or Year 712–13
Grade or Year 813–14 Secondary
Grade or Year 914–15
Grade or Year 1015–16
Grade or Year 1116–17
Grade or Year 1217–18


In Belarus, education is guaranteed for everyone. Primary school lasts for 4 years, but some psycho-physically challenged children study for 5 years according to a special standard. Forms 1 to 9 are considered compulsory. After completing general basic school a person can study in a special establishment to get a job. To enter a higher educational establishment a person must complete general secondary school (all 11 forms) and pass three centralized tests. [4]



Детский сад


Form 16–7Primary
Form 27–8
Form 38–9
Form 49–10
Form 510–11General basic


Form 611–12
Form 712–13
Form 813–14
Form 914–15
Form 1015–16General secondary


Form 1116–17


In Brazil, there are three levels of basic education: "Educação Infantil" (preschool), "Ensino Fundamental" (primary school) and "Ensino Médio" (high school), which are generally completed by age eighteen. Basic education is designed to provide the necessary minimum knowledge for the exercise of citizenship. It also serves to develop consciousness for choosing future professions. In Brazil, after the name of the grade one may use the names "série" (series) or "ano" (year). The educational stages in Brazil are divided as follows:

Educação Infantil (Brazil Grade)AgesCorrespondent in the U.S
Creche0–3 Day Care
Pré-Escola4–6 Preschool
Ensino Fundamental (Brazil Grade)AgesCorrespondent in the U.S
1o ano (Primeiro Ano)6–7 first grade
2o ano (Segundo Ano)7–8 second grade
3o ano (Terceiro Ano)8–9 third grade
4o ano (Quarto Ano)9–10 fourth grade
5o ano (Quinto Ano)10–11 fifth grade
6o ano (Sexto Ano)11–12 sixth grade
7o ano (Sétimo Ano)12–13 seventh grade
8o ano (Oitavo Ano)13–14 eighth grade
9o ano (Nono Ano)14–15 ninth grade
Ensino Médio (Brazil Grade)AgesCorrespondent in the U.S
1o ano (Primeiro Ano)15–16 tenth grade
2o ano (Segundo Ano)16–17 eleventh grade
3o ano (Terceiro Ano)17–18 twelfth grade


In Canada, schooling officially begins at Kindergarten (or Maternelle in Quebec), followed by grades, with some variations for certain levels in certain provinces/territories. When referred to as a grade, school years are usually referred to by their cardinal number ("Grade Three").

At the post-secondary level in (Anglophone) Canada, a student is usually referred to by the year of study they are in (i.e. First Year, Second Year, etc.). If they are pursuing something higher than an undergraduate degree, the designation usually refers to what year of study they are in since entering Graduate studies (i.e. First Year Graduate Student, etc.). Any student who has completed their first year of undergraduate studies is considered to be an Upper Year Student.

Each province and territory has its own autonomous education system. As such, the name of each level of education and what year each level begins at will vary across the country (as will the curriculum itself).

Grade structure by province/territory

The following table shows how grades are organized in various provinces. Often, there will be exceptions within each province, both with terminology for groups, and which grades apply to each group.

 ElementaryJunior highSenior high
British Columbia
(source)[ failed verification ]
Manitoba [5]  Early yearsMiddle yearsSenior years
New Brunswick
 ElementaryMiddle schoolHigh school
Newfoundland and Labrador
 PrimaryElementaryJunior highSenior high
 Kindergarten123456789Level ILevel IILevel III
Northwest Territories
 PrimaryIntermediateJunior secondarySenior secondary
Nova Scotia
 ElementaryJunior highSenior high
Ontario [6] ElementaryIntermediateSecondary
Junior kindergartenKindergarten123456789101112
 ElementaryIntermediate schoolSenior high
[ citation needed ]
 Primary schoolSecondary schoolCollege (CÉGEP)
GarderieMaternelle123456Sec ISec IISec IIISec IVSec Vfirstsecondthird
(source [ permanent dead link ])
 Elementary levelMiddle levelSecondary level
 ElementaryJunior secondarySenior secondary


In the People's Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), the years are organized in three stages and renumbered within each stage: 6 years in elementary school (小学) years 1 to 6, then 3 years in lower secondary (初级中学, abbreviated 初中) years 7 to 9, then 3 years in higher secondary (高级中学, abbreviated 高中) years 1 to 3. The first nine years (elementary 1–6 and junior secondary 1–3) are compulsory, and the years in higher secondary school are voluntary. Completing higher secondary education or attaining an equivalent level is required before one may receive higher education (高等教育) at universities.

Year 16–7 Elementary
Year 27–8
Year 38–9
Year 49–10
Year 510–11
Year 611–12
Year 712–13 Lower secondary
Year 813–14
Year 914–15
Year 1015–16 Higher secondary
Year 1116–17
Year 1217–18


Education is compulsory from age 6 to age 14 or 16. At the end of the lycée cursus, is the French Baccalaureat exam. It is possible in France to fail a year, and need to resit (redoubler).

2–3École maternelleTPS: Toute petite sectionCycle I : Apprentissages premiers
3–4PS: Petite section
4–5MS: Moyenne section
5–6GS: Grande sectionCycle II : Apprentissages fondamentaux
6–7École élémentaireCP: Cours préparatoire
7–8CE1: Cours élémentaire, 1ère année
8–9CE2: Cours élémentaire, 2éme annéeCycle III : Approfondissements
9–10CM1: Cours moyen, 1ère année
10–11CM2: Cours moyen, 2ème année
11–12 Collège Sixième
15–16 Lycée Seconde


Education is compulsory from age 4 to age 15. Education is provided in public and
private schools, except Higher Education which is provided only by public universities.

Greece framework
Compulsory school education PK9
Year in schoolingAgeGreek designationEducational stage
Pre-kindergarten 1st year4–5Pre-kindergarten Preschool
Kindergarten 2nd year5–6Kindergarten
First grade 3rd year6–71st grade Primary School
Second grade 4th year7–82nd grade
Third grade 5th year8–93rd grade
Fourth grade 6th year9–104th grade
Fifth grade 7th year10–115th grade
Sixth grade 8th year11–126th grade
Seventh grade 9th year12–131st grade Gymnasium
(Lower secondary school)
Eighth grade 10th year13–142nd grade
Ninth grade 11th year14–153rd grade
Tenth grade 12th year15–161st grade Lyceum
(Upper secondary school)
(US equivalent: High school)
Eleventh grade 13th year16–172nd grade
Twelfth grade 14th year17–183rd grade

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong system was based on the United Kingdom system, with an optional year at kindergarten, six years of primary school (小學) and six years of secondary school (中學), followed by four years at university. Primary 1 – 6 (小一 – 小六) corresponds to Years 1 – 6 in the UK, and Forms 1 – 6 (中一 – 中六) correspond to Years 7 – 12. Usually students begin Primary 1 at age 5 or 6 and complete Form 6 at age 17 or 18.

In Hong Kong, international schools follow the system of the country they are based upon, for example the English Schools Foundation uses the UK year system, and the French International School of Hong Kong uses the French école, collège, lycée system. Also, the English term form followed by the English number is common usage even in otherwise Cantonese conversations.

Primary 16–7 Primary
Primary 27–8
Primary 38–9
Primary 49–10
Primary 510–11
Primary 611–12
Form 112–13 Secondary
Form 213–14
Form 314–15
Form 415–16
Form 516–17
Form 617–18



The central and most state boards uniformly follow the "10+2+3" pattern of education. In this pattern, study of 10 years is done in schools and 2 years in Junior colleges, and then 3 years of graduation for a bachelor's degree. The first 10 years is further subdivided into 4 years of primary education, 6 years of High School followed by 2 years of Junior colleges. This pattern originated from the recommendation of the Education Commission of 1964–66.

Pre-Primary education

  • Play group (pre-nursery): At play schools, children are exposed to a lot of basic learning activities that help them to get independent faster and develop their self-help qualities like eating food themselves, dressing up, and maintaining cleanliness. The age limit for admission into pre-nursery is 2 to 3 years
  • Nursery: Nursery level activities help children unfold their talents, thus enabling them to sharpen their mental and physical abilities. The age limit for admission in nursery is 3 to 4 years.
  • LKG: It is also called the Junior Kindergarten (Jr. kg) stage. The age limit for admission in LKG is 4 to 5 years.
  • UKG: It is also called the Senior Kindergarten (Sr. kg) stage. The age limit for admission in UKG is 5 to 6 years.

Primary education

The Indian government lays emphasis on primary education, also referred to as elementary education, to children aged 6 to 14 years old. Because education laws are given by the states, duration of primary school visit alters between the Indian states. The Indian government has also banned child labour in order to ensure that the children do not enter unsafe working conditions. However, both free education and the ban on child labour are difficult to enforce due to economic disparity and social conditions. 80% of all recognised schools at the elementary stage are government run or supported, making it the largest provider of education in the country.

Secondary education

Secondary education covers children aged 12 to 18, a group comprising 8.85 crore children according to the 2001 Census of India. The final two years of secondary is often called Higher Secondary (HS), Senior Secondary, or simply the "+2" stage. The two halves of secondary education are each an important stage for which a pass certificate is needed, and thus are affiliated by central boards of education under HRD ministry, before one can pursue higher education, including college or professional courses.

UGC, NCERT, CBSE and ICSE directives state qualifying ages for candidates who wish to take board exams. Those at least 15 years old by 30 May for a given academic year are eligible to appear for Secondary board exams, and those 17 by the same date are eligible to appear for Higher Secondary certificate board exams. It further states that upon successful completion of Higher Secondary, one can apply to higher education under UGC control such as Engineering, Medical, and Business Administration.

New education policy 2020

India in 29 July approved a new education policy in order to replace the previous education system to an advanced education system. The new policy aims for universalisation of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030 and aims to raise GER in higher education to 50 per cent by 2025.

Key points:
The policy also proposes phasing out of all institutions offering single streams and that all universities and colleges must aim to become multidisciplinary by 2040.

  • Grade division and structure

Introducing 3 years of pre-schooling, the National Education Policy 2020 has taken a similar approach like Cambridge and IB, which also offer dedicated Primary Year Programs.

Dismantling the age-old 10+2 concept, the policy pitches for a "5+3+3+4" design corresponding to the age groups 3–8 years (foundational stage), 8–11 (preparatory), 11–14 (middle), and 14–18 (secondary). This brings early childhood education (also known as pre-school education for children of ages 3 to 5) under the umbrella of formal schooling.

  • School curriculum and pedagogy

According to the National Education Policy 2020, the school curriculum and pedagogy will aim for the holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st-century skills. Additionally, it also aims for reduction in the syllabus to enhance essential learning and critical thinking.

  • Languages

The policy advocates for mother-tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.

Sanskrit will now be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students including the 3-language formula. Other classical languages and literature of India also to be available as options. In non-Hindi states of India, students will be served as a Hindi alternative, students will have to choose between Hindi and Sanskrit. Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Punjabi, etc. languages will also be emphasized under NEP2020.

Foreign languages will also be offered to students. Languages like Japanese, Korean, Russian, etc. will be introduced to them in their secondary school. They can opt for any language they want to learn. The step has been taken to embrace global culture and emphasize a multilingualism approach.

  • Others

The NEP proposes sweeping changes including opening up of Indian higher education to foreign universities, dismantling of the UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), introduction of a four-year multidisciplinary undergraduate programme with multiple exit options, and discontinuation of the M Phil programme.

In school education, the policy focuses on overhauling the curriculum, "easier" Board exams, a reduction in the syllabus to retain "core essentials" and thrust on "experiential learning and critical thinking".

The policy also proposes phasing out of all institutions offering single streams and that all universities and colleges must aim to become multidisciplinary by 2040.


In Indonesia, children spend 12 years of formal education, but some children attend nursery playgroup (called Kelompok Belajar in 2 years) and attend kindergarten (Called Taman Kanak-Kanak in 2 years).

2–3Pre-schoolKelompok Belajar (KB)

(Nursery Playgroup)

4–5Taman Kanak-kanak (TK)


6–7Primary SchoolSekolah Dasar (SD)

(Elementary School)

Kelas 1
7–8Kelas 2
8–9Kelas 3
9–10Kelas 4
10–11Kelas 5
11–12Kelas 6
12–13Secondary SchoolSekolah Menengah Pertama (SMP)

(Junior High School)

Kelas 7
13–14Kelas 8
14–15Kelas 9
15–16Sekolah Menengah Atas (SMA)

(Senior High School)

Kelas 10
16–17Kelas 11
17–18Kelas 12


The Iranian system has experienced several changes in the last seven to eight decades. Prior to 1940–1950, the education system had consisted of three levels, called in order: an optional year in kindergarten, six years of primary school, finally followed by six years of secondary school ending up with a diploma. After some improvements during Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the system was changed to four consecutive periods: two optional years in kindergarten and pre-primary school, primary school consisting of 5 years, 3 years in middle school, and finally four years in high school. The system ended up by honoring a diploma in certain majors, e.g. math and physics.

Around 1996–1997, one year was reduced from the entire education system and one was honored with a diploma after three years in high school. However, if one would have liked to continue her/his education towards university degrees, one would have been required to take the last year, so called pre-university year. This year had been a requirement to participate in the Iranian University Entrance Exam for high school students. Again, around 2012, the system turned back to its previous system, consisting of two 6-year periods.

There are 2 formal stages of education in Iran: primary school (دبستان, Dabestãn) and high school (دبیرستان, Dabirestãn). The high school itself is broken into 2 parts: A and B.[ further explanation needed ] Preschool educations are informal, therefore Grade 1 is the first year. In Grade 1 (پایه‌ی 1, Paye 1) also known as the 1st class (کلاس اوّل, Klãs Avval), children learn the basics of reading and writing.

Preschool Kindergarten 3–6
Primary schoolGrade 17
Grade 27–8
Grade 38–9
Grade 49–10
Grade 510–11
Grade 611–12
High school first termGrade 712–13
Grade 813–14
Grade 914–15
High school second termGrade 1015–16
Grade 1116–17
Grade 1217–18


In the Republic of Ireland, there are two levels of compulsory education; primary school (ca.5–12 years of age) and secondary school (ca.12–18 years). The names of each class are as follows:

After Sixth Class, students move to secondary school, entering;

Junior Cycle:

Senior Cycle:

In some schools, Transition Year is compulsory, in others it is optional.


In Italy, education is compulsory from the age of 6 to the age of 16. On parents' demand, children can start the Scuola primaria (see below) one year earlier.

Educazione Infantile:

Scuola primaria (informally: Scuola Elementare):

Scuola secondaria di primo grado (informally: Scuola Media):

Scuola secondaria di secondo grado (informally: Scuola Superiore):


In Japan, the years are organized in three stages and renumbered within each stage: 6 years in elementary school (小学校, shōgakkō) years 1 to 6, then 3 years in lower secondary (中学校, chūgakkō) years 1 to 3, then 3 years in higher secondary (高等学校, kōtōgakkō, abbreviated 高校, kōkō) years 1 to 3. The first nine years (elementary 1–6 and lower secondary 1–3) are compulsory, and the years in higher secondary school are voluntary. Completing higher secondary education or attaining an equivalent level is required before one may receive higher education at universities (大学, daigaku).

Year 16–7 Elementary
Year 27–8
Year 38–9
Year 49–10
Year 510–11
Year 611–12
Year 112–13 Lower secondary
Year 213–14
Year 314–15
Year 115–16 Higher secondary
Year 216–17
Year 317–18


Compulsory education in Malaysia spans a period of 11 years and comprises both primary and secondary education. Kindergarten is optional.

Malaysian primary school consists of six years of education, referred to as Year 1 to Year 6 (formerly Standard 1 to Standard 6). Year 1 – 3 are classified as Level One (Tahap Satu in Malay) while Year 4 – 6 make up Level Two (Tahap Dua). Primary schooling usually begins at the age of 7 and ends at 12. Students take their first national examination, the UPSR, towards the end of the Year 6 school year. Performance in the UPSR has no effect on their resuming schooling; all students continue with their secondary education after leaving primary school.

Secondary schooling usually begins at age 13. Secondary schools offer education for a total of five years, starting with Form 1 and finishing at Form 5. Forms 1 – 3 are grouped together into the "Lower Form" and Forms 4 & 5 are considered the "Upper Form". Students in Form 3 will have to sit for their second national exam, the PT3. They are then streamed into sciences or humanities classes for the Upper Form according to their performance in this exam. At age 17 students in Form 5 sit for the final level of national examinations, the SPM (Malaysian Certificate of Education). Achieving a passing grade in the Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) portion of the exams is compulsory; failure results in an automatic failing grade for all subjects taken in the examination and the student is held back to repeat Form 5. Completion of the examination signifies that the student has completed formal education in Malaysia; an SPM certificate remains the base requirement to secure most jobs in Malaysia.

After the SPM, students have a choice of either continuing with Form 6 (which comprises 2 years, Lower and Upper Six) or entering matriculation (pre-university programs). If they opt for Form 6, they will be required to take the STPM examination. Although generally taken by those desiring to attend public universities in Malaysia, an STPM certification is internationally recognized and may also be used, though rarely required, to enter private local universities for undergraduate courses.

Educational stages in Malaysia
Kindergarten (optional)4–6 Preschool
Tahun 1 (Year 1)7Tahap Satu (Level One or Lower Primary)
Tahun 2 (Year 2)8
Tahun 3 (Year 3)9
Tahun 4 (Year 4)10Tahap Dua (Level Two or Higher Primary)
Tahun 5 (Year 5)11
Tahun 6 (Year 6)12
Tingkatan 1 (Form 1)13Menengah Rendah (Lower Secondary)
Tingkatan 2 (Form 2)14
Tingkatan 3 (Form 3)15
Tingkatan 4 (Form 4)16Menengah Atas (Upper Secondary)
Tingkatan 5 (Form 5)17
Tingkatan 6 (Form 6) (optional)18–19Pre-university programme


In Mexico, grades 1 through 12 can be divided into two stages: Educación Básica, and Educación Media Superior. [7] Educación Básica covers pre-primary education to the equivalent of eighth grade. [8] Educación Media Superior covers ninth through twelfth grade, and students' levels are identified by their current semester, not by their grade. [9]

Educación Básica3 – 5/6Preescolar / Kinder
Primer grado (1o)6/7Primaria
Segundo grado (2o)7/8
Tercer grado (3o)8/9
Cuarto grado (4o)9/10
Quinto grado (5o)10/11
Sexto grado (6o)11/12
Primero de secundaria12/13Secundaria
Segundo de secundaria13/14
Tercero de secundaria14/15
Educación Media SuperiorPrimer semestre, and Segundo semestre15/16Bachillerato / Preparatoria
Tercer semestre, and Cuarto semestre16/17
Quinto semestre, and Sexto semestre17/18


In Nepal, the stages of education are primary education, secondary education, and higher secondary. Pre-primary education is also found in some areas. Generally, the pre-primary level covers nursery and kindergarten. Primary education consists of grades one through five, while lower secondary education covers grades six through eight and secondary education covers grades nine through ten. Higher secondary covers grades eleven and twelve. Students get Secondary Education Examination certificate in grade ten. According to the new Education Act, the national grade 12 Examination will result in the School Leaving Certificate (SLC).

Nursery3–4 Preschool
Year 15–6 Primary
Year 26–7
Year 37–8
Year 48–9
Year 59–10
Year 610–11Lower secondary
Year 711–12
Year 812–13
Year 913–14Junior higher secondary
Year 1014–16
Year 1115–17Senior higher secondary
Year 1216–18

New Zealand

In New Zealand children are required by law to attend 10 years of educational instruction, from the age of 6 to 16. The law also provides in the same legislation that all people are allowed to attend free education to the age of 18, this legislation is the Education Act 1989. Children can be enrolled at primary school when they turn five years old, and must be enrolled by the time they turn six years old. From years 1–6 students attend primary school. In years 7 and 8 students attend intermediate, or a joint school (years 1–8 or years 7–13). The final years of free education are spent in secondary school (years 9–13). New Zealand also has two older educational stage-numbering systems; standards 5 & 6 were largely unused with the introduction of intermediate schools in the 1950s, while "primmer" numbering was in use well into the 1970s, and some academically focused secondary schools still use "form" numbering.

Year levelAgesOld systemsSchool
05 (If Born After March) Primary School
15–6Junior 1Primmers 1, 2 & 3
26–7Junior 2Primmers 3 & 4
37–8Standard 1
48–9Standard 2
59–10Standard 3
610–11Standard 4
711–12Form 1Standard 5 Intermediate School (Some Primary Schools and Secondary Schools

also offer these year levels)

812–13Form 2Standard 6
913–14Form 3Secondary School
1014–15Form 4
1115–16Form 5
1216–17Form 6
1317–18Form 7


In Norway children start school at the age of six; before that kindergarten is voluntary. This school is called barneskole (childrenschool):

The second school is ungdomsskole (youth-school). At this level the students are rated with grades in each subject, in addition to behavior and orderliness:

The last school before higher education is called videregående skole (ongoing school) and is voluntary, though most choose to attend. At this level students decide among separate career-related schools. The most popular such school is designed to prepare one for further education,[ citation needed ] while others prepare students for such as mechanics, electricians, cooks and so on. Educational stages in these schools begin again at "one" and are named Vg1, Vg2, Vg3 and Vg4. Some of the more practical schools last only two years, and some students may choose to attend an extra year to study higher education. The typical duration is three years, though some schools offer a four-year program to enable students to engage in more athletics or gather real work experience.


Previously in the Philippines, there are only ten years of compulsory education. School starts on the first or second week of June, while school ends in the last week of March or first week of April. There are three stages of education in the Philippines — elementary, junior high school, and senior high school. The original ten years of compulsory education, was raised to twelve years of education. This policy was implemented in June, 2012. Here is the table:

Kindergarten 4–6 Preschool Elementary school
Grade 1 6–7 Primary school
Grade 2 7–8
Grade 3 8–9
Grade 4 9–10
Grade 5 10–11
Grade 6 11–12
Grade 7 12–13 Secondary school Junior high school
Grade 8 13–14
Grade 9 14–15
Grade 10 15–16
Grade 11 16–17 Senior high school
Grade 12 17–18


From 1998 to 2019, the Polish education system was divided into six years of primary education, followed by three years of secondary education and three or four years of optional high school education. Attending general education high school or vocational school allows graduates to attend university while attending a basic vocational school (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa) requires its graduates to attend supplementary liceums. Since 2019, the three stages were merged into two. Kindergarten education is optional, while compulsory education starts with year 0. The school year lasts from early September to late June, with the exception of the final year of high school, which ends in late April. From 1998 to 2019, the educational stages were:

Kindergarten 3–5 Preschool
Grade 0 (zerówka)5–6
Grade 16–7 Primary school
Grade 27–8
Grade 38–9
Grade 49–10
Grade 510–11
Grade 611–12
Grade 712–13
Grade 813–14
Grade 914–15 High school
Grade 1015–16
Grade 1116–17
Grade 1217–18
Grade 13 (only in vocational schools)18–19


In Russia, compulsory education lasts eight or nine years and begins the year the child turns seven (8 years) or, sometimes, six (9 years). The first stage of elementary school can last either 3 years (so called 1–3 programme for children starting at the age of 7) or 4 years (so called 1–4 programme for children starting at the age of 6). After of the first stage all pupils enter 5th grade, thus pupils that started at the age of 7 do not attend the 4th grade.

Educational stages in Russia
Yasli 1–2 Early
Kindergarten 3–6 (5–7)
First Grade 7–8 (6–7) Elementary
Second Grade 8–9 (7–8)
Third Grade 9–10 (8–9)
Fourth grade 9–10 (only for the pupils studying by 1–4 programme)
Fifth Grade 10–11 Middle
Sixth Grade 11–12
Seventh Grade 12–13
Eighth Grade 13–14
Ninth Grade 14–15
Tenth Grade 15–16 High
Eleventh Grade 16–17

While it is not compulsory to remain in school after graduating from middle school, a student cannot progress to tertiary school without graduating from high school or vocational school.


In Serbia, children undergo thirteen years of formal education, usually starting at age 4, 5 or 6, and finishing at age 18 or 19. By the law children need to enter Primary school at the year they will turn 7 years of age, with some wiggle room if the child is born too close to a new year. The first four years of primary school, children have their own classroom and one teacher that teaches them all the subjects, from grade 5 of primary school to the end of high school lessons are held by number of teachers specialised for specific subjects and children change their classrooms every class. Children start their school year on September 1, and end the year at the end of June/beginning of July. The exception is the grade 8 of primary school and the grade 4 of high school when the classes end a couple of months earlier so the children can study for their entry exams for high school/college. Depending on which high school a child chooses, they can get more focused education and a professional degree. High school is not compulsory education but is needed to get some professional degrees in order to be able to find a job (for example: Nurse, Locksmith, Computer network administrator, Textile design technician, etc.)

Nursery1–3 Preschool
Kindergarten3–5 Preschool
Prep/Kindergarten/Pre-primary5–6 Preschool
Grade or Year 16–7 Primary school
Grade or Year 27–8
Grade or Year 38–9
Grade or Year 49–10
Grade or Year 510–11
Grade or Year 611–12
Grade or Year 712–13
Grade or Year 813–14
Grade or Year 114–15 Secondary – High school
Grade or Year 215–16
Grade or Year 316–17
Grade or Year 417–18


In Singapore, compulsory education lasts ten years and begins the year the child turns seven. However, most children receive a preschool education spanning two to three years before entering primary school after which they will move on to a secondary school, where Sec 5 is only made compulsory for students who have achieved a determined score for their PSLE. For Secondary School, there are two (some) or three streamings: Express (Exp), Normal Academic (NA), and Normal Technical (NT), among which Exp and NT students study for four years while NA students need to study for five years. Depending on which stream one is in, and whether the school's scoring requirement is met, a student may be retained/transferred to NA/NT.

Educational stages in Singapore
Nursery (N1/2)3–4Nursery Kindergarten
Kindergarten (K1/2)5–6
Primary One6–7 Primary
Primary Two7–8
Primary Three8–9
Primary Four9–10
Primary Five10–11
Primary Six11–12
Secondary One [Express/Normal Academic (NA)/Normal Technical(NT)]12–13 Secondary
Secondary Two [Express/Normal Academic (NA)/Normal Technical(NT)]13–14
Secondary Three [Express/Normal Academic (NA)/Normal Technical(NT)]14–15
Secondary Four [Express/Normal Academic (NA)/Normal Technical(NT)]15–16
Secondary Five [Normal Academic (NA)/Normal Technical(NT)]16–17
Secondary Six (Integrated Programme only)17–18Secondary school or College

While it is not compulsory to remain in school after graduating from secondary school, most go on to receive their tertiary education at a junior college, a polytechnic, or an institute of technical education (ITE) before moving on to university.


In Spain, education is divided into several stages stages: Kindergarten, primary education and secondary education. Kindergartens are schools for children 0–3 years old, and are normally private institutions, although some of them receive public funding as well ("Concertados"). Primary education is delivered almost exclusively through primary schools which offer education for pupils aged between 3 and 12. Children are entitled to preschool education from their third birthday, although it is not compulsory (but it is recommended) and must enter compulsory education from the September after their 5th birthday. There is some leeway in the starting date for pupils.

Education lasts 6 years in the compulsory section of primary school, before pupils move to a secondary school for between 4 and 6 years, the last two being optional. There is some variation in the phasing of education because private institutions may provide education from kindergarten or primary school until the end of secondary school, and private institutions with public funding normally teach from kindergarten until the 4th year in the secondary school level.

Numbering of years in Spanish state schools
Nursery/Kindergarten Optional0–3
Primero de infantil (Preschool 1)Optional2–3, or 3–4 Primary
Segundo de infantil (Preschool 2)Optional3–4, or 4–5
Tercero de infantil (Preschool 3)Optional4–5, or 5–6
Primary OneCompulsory5–6, or 6–7
Primary TwoCompulsory6–7, or 7–8
Primary ThreeCompulsory7–8, or 8–9
Primary FourCompulsory8–9, or 9–10
Primary FiveCompulsory9–10, or 10–11
Primary SixCompulsory10–11, or 11–12
First year (or 1 ESO)Compulsory11–12, or 12–13 Secondary
Second Year (or 2 ESO)Compulsory12–13, or 13–14
Third Year (or 3 ESO)Compulsory13–14, or 14–15
Fourth Year (or 4 ESO)Compulsory14–15, or 15–16
1 BachilleratoOptional15–16, or 16–17
2 BachilleratoOptional16–17, or 17–18

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka enforces compulsory education and it is mandatory for a child to at least complete one year of pre-school by the time the child reaches the completion of age 4. By the time they have reached the age of 5 years, enrollment to Grade 1 is made a legal obligation.

Primary school to higher education are primarily funded and overseen by two governmental ministries and the main Department. [10]

Educational stages in Sri Lanka
Kindergarten3–5 Pre-School
Grade One5–6 Primary
Grade Two6–7
Grade Three7–8
Grade Four8–9
Grade Five – Optional Scholarship Examination 9–10
Grade Six10–11 Secondary
Grade Seven11–12
Grade Eight12–13
Grade Nine13–14
Grade Ten14–15
Grade Eleven – G.C.E Ordinary Level Examination 15–16
Grade Twelve16–17 Collegiate
Grade Thirteen – G.C.E Advance Level Examination 17–18

Tertiary education

Undergraduate education in state universities is free but extremely competitive, limited, and standardized. Selection of students is done on the basis of rank order on average Z Scores obtained by candidates at the Advanced Level under a transparent national policy to replicate a district basis representation. Only the top students from each district receive admission.


In Sweden children start school at the age of six with preschool class; before that preschool is voluntary.

First set of grades are called "lågstadiet" (low grades).

Second set of grades are called "mellanstadiet" (middle grades).

Third set of grades are called "högstadiet" (high grades).

The last school before higher education is called "gymnasiet" (ongoing school) and is voluntary, though most choose to attend. At this level students decide among separate career-related schools. Some students may choose to attend an extra year to study higher education. The typical duration is three years, though some schools offer a four-year program to enable students to engage in more athletics or gather real work experience.


Kindergarten5–6Before School / Kindergarten
Year 16–7 Elementary
Year 27–8
Year 38–9
Year 49–10
Year 510–11 Secondary
Year 611–12
Year 712–13
Year 813–14
Year 914–15 High school
Year 1015–16
Year 1116–17
Year 1217–18

United Kingdom

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland education is divided into two stages: primary education and secondary education. Required assessment within the National Curriculum takes place in years 2 and 6 (National Curriculum assessments) and Year 11 (GCSEs). School education is generally followed by two years of further education – often in a 6th form or 6th form college and then three or four years at university by those who decide to stay in education.

In England, children begin school either in the school year or school term in which they reach their fifth birthday. In Wales, children begin school on a part-time basis the September after they reach their third birthday. Primary schools educate children from Reception through to Year 6, and may be subdivided into infant and junior schools. Alternatively, children may attend private prep schools.

Secondary education is compulsory to the age of 16. However, in England you will be required to return to full-time education, take on an apprenticeship or internship or work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week while part-time studying until the age of 18. Schools have various possible names, such as grammar, comprehensive and secondary schools, which may or may not indicate selective admission or tuition fees (see main article). Sixth form education is not compulsory at present, and not all secondary schools have a sixth form. There are also 6th form colleges just for Year 12 and 13 students.

Some secondary schools still use the 'form' system, with Year 7 being 1st Form (or '1st year'), Year 8 being Second Form, et cetera, up until Year 12 and Year 13, which together make up the 6th Form (namely lower and upper sixth form). Some independent schools use other naming systems.

In some areas in England, a three-tier system of education is used, in which students pass through three stages: First school/Lower school (Reception to Year 3/4), Middle school (Year 4/5 to Year 7/8) and finally High or Upper School (Year 8/9–Year 13)

Key stageYearFinal examAge [11] State funded schoolsSelective schoolsFee paying independent schools
Early yearsNursery (or pre-school)None, though individual schools may set end of year tests.3 to 4PrimaryLowerInfantVarious 'gifted and talented' programmes within state and independent schools. [12] Pre-preparatory
Reception (or Foundation)4 to 5
KS1Year 15 to 6
Year 26 to 7
KS2Year 37 to 8Junior
Year 48 to 9Preparatory or Junior
Year 59 to 10Middle
Year 6 SATs
A grammar school entrance exam, often the 11-plus
10 to 11
KS3Year 7None, though individual schools may set end of year tests, or mock GCSE exams.11 to 12SecondaryLower schoolSeniorGrammar school
Year 812 to 13
Year 913 to 14UpperSenior (public/private school)
KS4Year 1014 to 15Upper school
Year 11 GCSE 15 to 16
KS5Year 12 Advanced subsidiary level or school-set end of year tests.16 to 17CollegeSixth form
Year 13 A-Levels 17 to 18


In Scotland, education is divided into two stages: primary education and secondary education. Primary education is delivered almost exclusively through primary schools which offer education for pupils aged between 4 and 12. Children are entitled to pre-school education from their third birthday, and must enter compulsory education from the August after their 5th birthday. There is some leeway in the starting date for pupils. [13]

Education lasts 7 years in the primary school, before pupils move to a secondary school for between 4 and 6 years, the last two being optional. There is some variation in the phasing of education in more remote areas of Scotland, where provision may be made in a through school, or in other combinations of institutes.

Numbering of years in Scottish state schools
Nursery 3–4 or 3–5
Primary One4–5 or 5–6 Primary
Primary Two5–6 or 6–7
Primary Three6–7 or 7–8
Primary Four7–8 or 8–9
Primary Five8–9 or 9–10
Primary Six9–10 or 10–11
Primary Seven10–11 or 11–12
First year (or S1)11–12 or 12–13 Secondary
Second Year (or S2)12–13 or 13–14
Third Year (or S3)13–14 or 14–15
Fourth Year (or S4)14–15 or 15–16
Fifth Year (or S5)15–16 or 16–17
Sixth Year (or S6)16–17 or 17–18

United States

Table US: Ages in grades
Elementary school
5–6 Kindergarten
6–7 First grade
7–8 Second grade
8–9 Third grade
9–10 Fourth grade
10–11 Fifth grade
Middle school
11–12 Sixth grade [14] [15]
12–13 Seventh grade
13–14 Eighth grade
High school
14–15 Ninth grade (freshman)
15–16 Tenth grade (sophomore)
16–17 Eleventh grade (junior)
17–18 Twelfth grade (senior)

In the United States (U.S.), grades traditionally begin at 1 and run to 12; they are referred to by ordinal number (e.g., first grade or 1st grade). An additional preceding level called kindergarten ("K") is now standard in most areas, and a further preceding level called preschool education or nursery school is not uncommon. In some parts of the state of Wisconsin, kindergarten is split further into junior and senior kindergarten.

Before the term "middle school" became much more common, 7th and 8th grades were placed in "junior high school." In certain junior high schools, either 6th grade or 9th grade was also included (but not both in the same school).

At the secondary school level ("high school"), the 9th through 12th grades are also known respectively as freshman (or "first-year"), sophomore, junior, and senior. At the postsecondary or "undergraduate" level (college or university), the same four terms are reused to describe a student's college years, but numbered grades are not used at the college level. American graduate and postgraduate education does not use grades.

The adjacent Table US outlines the ages, in years, of each grade level in the US. However, students are sometimes older because of grade retention or younger because of grade skipping.

Elementary school students at a specific grade level are traditionally assigned to a single class that usually stays together in the same classroom with the same teacher throughout each school day for the entire school year (although the teacher may temporarily hand off the class to specialists for certain subject matter units, especially science). Students in middle school and high school are allowed to build schedules from a mix of required and elective courses taught by different teachers in different classrooms, must rush from one course to the next during each school day, and are more likely to encounter students from different grades in their courses (especially electives).

Comparison of American and British English

The naming of school years in British (except Scotland) and American English
Age rangeBritish EnglishAmerican English
NameAlternative/old nameSyllabusNameAlternative name
3–4 Preschool (optional) 
NurseryPlaygroup Foundation Stage 1Daycare
4–5Primary school 
Reception Infants receptionFoundation Stage 2PreschoolPre-K
5–6Year 1Infants year 1 Key Stage 1 Kindergarten
Elementary school
6–7Year 2Infants year 21st grade  
7–8Year 3First year Junior Key Stage 22nd grade 
8–9Year 4Second year Junior3rd grade 
9–10Year 5Third year Junior4th grade 
10–11Year 6Fourth year Junior5th grade 
11–12 Secondary school / High school Middle school Junior high school
Year 7First form [16] Key Stage 36th grade 
12–13Year 8Second form7th grade 
13–14Year 9Third form8th grade 
14–15Year 10Fourth formKey Stage 4, GCSE High school
9th gradeFreshman year
15–16Year 11Fifth form10th gradeSophomore year
16–17 Sixth form / FE College [17] 11th gradeJunior year
Year 12Lower sixth (AS)Key Stage 5, A level
17–18Year 13Upper sixth (A2)12th gradeSenior year

See also

Related Research Articles

Secondary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education scale. Level 2 or lower secondary education is considered the second and final phase of basic education, and level 3 (upper) secondary education is the stage before tertiary education. Every country aims to provide basic education, but the systems and terminology remain unique to them. Secondary education typically takes place after six years of primary education and is followed by higher education, vocational education or employment. In most countries secondary education is compulsory, at least until the age of 16. Children typically enter the lower secondary phase around age 11. Compulsory education sometimes extends to age 19.

Student Learner, or someone who attends an educational institution

A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution and who is under learning with goals of acquiring knowledge, developing professions and achieving employment at desired field. In the broader sense, a student is anyone who applies themselves to the intensive intellectual engagement with some matter necessary to master it as part of some practical affair in which such mastery is basic or decisive.

Kindergarten Preschool educational approach traditionally based on playing

Kindergarten is a preschool educational approach based on playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school. Such institutions were originally made in the late 18th century in Bavaria and Alsace to serve children whose parents both worked outside home. The term was coined by the German Friedrich Fröbel, whose approach globally influenced early-years education. Today, the term is used in many countries to describe a variety of educational institutions and learning spaces for children ranging from 2 to 6 years of age, based on a variety of teaching methods.

A middle school is an educational stage which exists in some countries, providing education between primary school and secondary school. The concept, regulation and classification of middle schools, as well as the ages covered, vary between, and sometimes within, countries.

State schools or public schools are generally primary or secondary schools that educate all children without charge. They are funded in whole or in part by taxation. State funded schools exist in virtually every country of the world, though there are significant variations in their structure and educational programmes. State education generally encompasses primary and secondary education.

A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education i.e. levels 2 and 3 of the ISCED scale, but these can also be provided in separate schools, as in the American middle and high school system. In the UK, elite public schools typically admit pupils between the ages of 13 and 18. UK state schools accommodate pupils between the ages of 11-16 or 11-18.

Eighth grade is the eighth post-kindergarten year of formal education in the US, and is typically the last year of middle school. In England and Wales, the equivalent is Year 9, and in Scotland, the equivalent is S2. Usually, students are 13–14 years old in this stage of education.

First grade is the first grade in elementary school. It is the first school year after kindergarten. Children are usually 6–7 years old in this grade.

Ninth grade, freshman year, or grade 9 is the ninth year of school education in some school systems. Ninth grade is often the first school year of high school in the United States, or the last year of middle/junior high school. In some countries, Grade 9 is the second year of high school. Students are usually 14–15 years old. In the United States, it is often called Freshman year.

Tenth grade or grade 10 is the tenth year of school post-kindergarten or the tenth year after the first introductory year upon entering compulsory schooling. In many parts of the world, the students are 15/16 years of age, depending on when their birthday occurs. The variants of 10th grade in various countries are described below.

Education in Switzerland Overview of education in Switzerland

The education system in Switzerland is very diverse, because the constitution of Switzerland delegates the authority for the school system mainly to the cantons. The Swiss constitution sets the foundations, namely that primary school is obligatory for every child and is free in state schools and that the confederation can run or support universities.

Education in Hungary Overview of education in Hungary

Education in Hungary is predominantly public, run by the Ministry of Human Resources. Preschool kindergarten education is compulsory and provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is also compulsory until age of sixteen. Primary education usually lasts for eight years. Secondary education includes three traditional types of schools focused on different academic levels: the Gymnasium enrols the most gifted children and prepares students for university studies; the secondary vocational schools for intermediate students lasts four years and the technical school prepares pupils for vocational education and the world of work. The system is partly flexible and bridges exist, graduates from a vocational school can achieve a two years program to have access to vocational higher education for instance. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) rated 13–14-year-old pupils in Hungary among the best in the world for maths and science.

With a growing population, Syria has a good basic education system. Since 2000 the Government of Syria has significantly increased the expenditure on education 1 to 6. In 2002, elementary and primary education were combined into one basic education stage and education was made compulsory and free from grades 1 to 9.

Education in Bulgaria

Education in Bulgaria is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science. Since 2012, compulsory education includes two years of preschool education, before children start primary school. Education is compulsory until age of 16. Education at state-owned schools is free of charge, except for the higher education schools, colleges and universities.

Education in Chile Overview of the education system in Chile

Education in Chile is divided in preschool, primary school, secondary school, and technical or higher education (university).The levels of education in Chile are:

Education in Croatia is a right defended by Article 66 of the Constitution which states that everyone is entitled to free compulsory education under equal conditions and in accordance with their aptitudes. Education is mandatory for children aged 6 to 14.

Education in Trinidad and Tobago is free and compulsory between ages 5 and 16. Trinidad and Tobago is considered one of the most educated countries in the World with a literacy rate exceeding 98%. This exceptionally high literacy rate can be attributed, in part, to free tuition from Kindergarten (Pre-School) to University.

Education in Brunei is provided or regulated by the Government of Brunei through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The former manages most of the government and private schools in the country where as the latter specifically administers government schools which provide the ugama or Islamic religious education.


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Further reading