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Schools in UK

School education in the UK is compulsory for all children at the elementary and lower-secondary levels. Main language in state schools is English, and the academic year runs from the end of September to June. Most schools operate on a trimester schedule, with three ten-week school terms.

State schools – are mainly government-funded schools. Education is free and they have to follow the National Curriculum.

In the UK, State Schools can be Faith schools (Roman Catholic, Church of England, Jewish, etc).

Independent schools – are privately run and will have termly fees. They are commonly called public or private schools. About 7% of school children in England attend independent schools. Some of these schools offer scholarships or grants for students with particular skills or aptitudes, or those from less wealthy backgrounds. Independent schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum, and their teachers are not required or regulated by law to have official teaching qualifications.

International schools – are privately run and will charge quarterly fees. They offer the “International Baccalaureate” Program, from early years to the IB diploma. The IB program is the only worldwide education program that is universally recognised. It is ideal for children moving regularly between different countries, as the program that is taught is exactly the same, whatever the school or country. These schools have to be authorised by the IBO, the central IB organisation in order to teach the IB program.

Students who wish to proceed with further education after the secondary school will require to sit for GCSE and A-Levels.

GCSEs (General Certificates of Secondary Education) are studied over 12, 18 or 24 month periods. Students will study up to 7 subjects, with a minimum required amount of 3 GCSE as equivalent to a high school diploma, however many institutions will ask for at least 5 passes at grade C or above for entry.

A-Level courses are studied over 18 or 24 months. Students typically study 3 or 4 subjects.

A-Level courses are the most commonly used qualifications for entry to UK universities.

International GCSE Equivalent Level Qualifications

Country GCSE Equivalent Qualification
Russia Certificate of Secondary (Complete) General Education
Kazakhstan Certificate of Completed Secondary Education
China Compulsory Education Certificate/Lower Secondary School Graduation Certificate
United States High School Graduation Diploma

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