Secondary school

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Toth Arpad Gimnazium [hu], a secondary school in Debrecen, Hungary Toth Arpad Gimnazium.JPG
Tóth Árpád Gimnázium  [ hu ], a secondary school in Debrecen, Hungary

A secondary school is an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education (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.


Secondary schools typically follow on from primary schools and prepare for vocational or tertiary education. Attendance is usually compulsory for students until the age of 16. The organisations, buildings, and terminology are more or less unique in each country. [1] [2]

Levels of education

In the ISCED 2011 education scale levels 2 and 3 correspond to secondary education which are as follows:

Terminology: descriptions of cohorts

Within the English speaking world, there are three widely used systems to describe the age of the child. The first is the 'equivalent ages', then countries that base their education systems on the 'English model' use one of two methods to identify the year group, while countries that base their systems on the 'American K-12 model' refer to their year groups as 'grades'. The Irish model is structured similarly to the English model, but have significant differences in terms of labels. This terminology extends into research literature. Below is a convenient comparison [3]

Secondary cohorts- description used in US, UK and ROI
Equivalent ages11–1212–1313–1414–1515–1616–1717–18
U.S. (grades)6789101112
U.S. (nicknames) Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
England/Wales (forms)FirstSecondThirdFourthFifthLower SixthUpper Sixth
England/Wales (year)78910111213
Ireland (Other Names)Junior CycleJunior CycleJunior CycleTransition YearSenior CycleSenior Cycle
Ireland (Class & year)6th Class1st Year2nd Year3rd Year4th Year5th Year6th Year
Scotland (secondary)S1S2S3S4S5S6
ISCED level2223333 [3]

Theoretical framework

High school in Bratislava, Slovakia (Gamca) Gymnazium Grosslingova.jpg
High school in Bratislava, Slovakia (Gamča)

School building design does not happen in isolation. The building (or school campus) needs to accommodate:

Each country will have a different education system and priorities. [4] Schools need to accommodate students, staff, storage, mechanical and electrical systems, support staff, ancillary staff and administration. The number of rooms required can be determined from the predicted roll of the school and the area needed.

According to standards used in the United Kingdom, a general classroom for 30 students needs to be 55 m2, or more generously 62 m2. A general art room for 30 students needs to be 83 m2, but 104 m2 for 3D textile work. A drama studio or a specialist science laboratory for 30 needs to be 90 m2. Examples are given on how this can be configured for a 1,200 place secondary (practical specialism). [5] and 1,850 place secondary school. [6]

Building design specifications

The first taxpayer-funded public school in the United States was in Dedham. First school.jpg
The first taxpayer-funded public school in the United States was in Dedham.

The building providing the education has to fulfil the needs of: The students, the teachers, the non-teaching support staff, the administrators and the community. It has to meet general government building guidelines, health requirements, minimal functional requirements for classrooms, toilets and showers, electricity and services, preparation and storage of textbooks and basic teaching aids. [7] An optimum secondary school will meet the minimum conditions and will have:

Government accountants having read the advice then publish minimum guidelines on schools. These enable environmental modelling and establishing building costs. Future design plans are audited to ensure that these standards are met but not exceeded. Government ministries continue to press for the 'minimum' space and cost standards to be reduced.

The UK government published this downwardly revised space formula in 2014. It said the floor area should be 1050m2 (+ 350m2 if there is a sixth form) + 6.3m2/pupil place for 11- to 16-year-olds + 7m2/pupil place for post-16s. The external finishes were to be downgraded to meet a build cost of £1113/m2. [8]

Secondary schools by country

A secondary school locally may be called high school or senior high school. In some countries there are two phases to secondary education (ISCED 2) and (ISCED 3), here the junior high school, intermediate school, lower secondary school, or middle school occurs between the primary school (ISCED 1) and high school.

Names for secondary schools by country

See also

Related Research Articles

Secondary education Second and final phase of basic education

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. Like primary education, 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.

Educational reform in occupied Japan encompasses changes in: philosophy and goals of education; nature of the student-teacher relationship; coeducation; structure of compulsory education system; textbook content and procurement system; personnel at the Ministry of Education (MEXT); kanji script reform; and establishment of a university in every prefecture. The reforms were directed by the Education Division of the Civil Information and Education Section of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. Also influential were the two Reports of the United States Education Mission to Japan.

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.

Education in Indonesia overview about the education in Indonesia

Education in Indonesia falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. In Indonesia, all citizens must undertake twelve years of compulsory education which consists of six years at elementary level and three each at middle and high school levels. Islamic schools are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Sixth grade is in many nations, the first year of middle school or the last year of elementary school, last year of primary school in Scotland and Australia.

Ninth grade, freshman year, or grade 9 is the ninth post-kindergarten 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. In England and Wales, the equivalent educational year is Year Ten. In Scotland, the equivalent educational year is Third Year or S3, as this is the third year of compulsory secondary schooling.

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 14–16 years of age, depending on when their birthday occurs. The variants of 10th grade in various countries are described below.

'Eleventh grade, junior year 5, or grade 11 is the eleventh, and for some countries final, grade of secondary schools. Students are typically 16–17 years of age, depending on the country and the students' birthdays.

Twelfth grade, senior year, or grade 12 is the final year of secondary school in most of North America. In other regions it is also equivalently referred to as class 12 or Year 13. In most countries, students then often graduate at ages between 17 and 19. Some countries have a thirteenth grade, while other countries do not have a 12th grade/year at all. Twelfth grade is typically the last year of high school; graduation year.

Education in Spain is regulated by the Ley Orgánica 8/2013, de 9 de diciembre, para la mejora de la calidad educativa that expands upon Article 27 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The Spanish education system is compulsory and free for all children aged between 6 and 16 years and is supported by the national government together with the governments of each of the country's 17 autonomous communities.

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 seven levels of education in its International Standard Classification of Education system. UNESCO's International Bureau of Education maintains a database of country-specific education systems and their stages.

Taoyuan Municipal Nankan Senior High School A senior high school in Taoyuan City

Taoyuan Municipal Nankan Senior High School is a high school in Luzhu District, Taoyuan City, Taiwan.

No.1 Senior High School of Ürümqi High school in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China

The No. 1 Senior High School of Ürümqi, literally Ürümqi No. 1 High School, colloquially abbreviated as "乌鲁木齐一中" or "乌市一中", sometimes called No. 1 Middle School of Urumqi, is a public high school in Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, under the jurisdiction of the Urumqi Municipal Education Bureau. Founded in 1891 during the Qing Dynasty, it is the oldest school in Xinjiang.

Macao Sam Yuk Middle School Private christian school in Macau, China

Macao Sam Yuk Middle School is a Seventh-day Adventist school located in Taipa, Macau. It is an international school with students from 25 different countries. The school is divided into the Chinese secondary section and the English primary and secondary section. Upon completion of schooling, students receive a diploma and certificate either in the grammar subjects or in vocational courses.

Kian Kok Middle School Chinese independent high school in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Kian Kok Middle School is a Chinese independent high school located in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. The current principal is Paul Voo (邬恒亮). The school offers both Malaysian public examination, PT3 and SPM, and Chinese independent high school examination, UEC.

The Spanish Baccalaureate is the post-16 stage of education in Spain, comparable to the A Levels/Higher (Scottish) in the UK, the French Baccalaureate in France or the International Baccalaureate. It follows the ESO. After taking the Bachillerato, a student may enter vocational training or take the "Selectividad" tests for admission to university.

Chung Ling Butterworth High School Secondary school in Butterworth, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chung Ling (N.T.) High School Butterworth is a secondary school in Malaysia. The Butterworth branch of Penang Chung Ling High School was established in the year of 1986 under the initiative of its Directors Board. Following the footsteps of the main school, Chung Ling Butterworth only accepts students with good grades in their Standard Six Examination (UPSR).


  1. "International Standard Classification of EducationI S C E D 1997". Archived from the original on 2017-03-19. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  2. Iwamoto, Wataru (2005). "Towards a Convergence of Knowledge Acquisition and Skills Development" (PDF). UNESCO. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-05-25. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  3. 1 2 Ward, Ken. "British and American Systems (Grades)". Archived from the original on 2017-03-31. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  4. Liew Kok-Pun, Michael (1981). "Design of secondary schools:Singapore a case study" (PDF). Educational Building reports. Voume 17: UNESCO. p. 37. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-04-04. Retrieved 3 April 2017.CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. "Baseline designs: 1,200 place secondary (practical specialism) - GOV.UK". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 2017-04-05. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  6. "Baseline design: 1,850 place secondary school - GOV.UK". Archived from the original on 2017-04-05. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  7. 1 2 "Guidelines relating to planning for public school infrastructure". Department of Basic Education, Republic of South Africa. 2012. Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  8. "Baseline designs for schools: guidance - GOV.UK". Education Funding Agency. 11 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2017-04-04. Retrieved 3 April 2017.