The State Education System in England

The state education system in England is overseen by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

In England and Wales, the government introduced a new version of the National Curriculum in 1988. This sets out the type and structure of education that is to be provided by Local Authorities (LA’s) for children between the ages of 5 – 18.

Each Local Authority has responsibility for implementing policy for public education and state schools at a local level.

Because of this, that depending upon where parents live they may find it worthwhile considering the schools from more than one nearby Local Authority so as to determine their preferred first choice school.

Schools by type and county

Many people are unaware of the different types of schools in their nearby area.

We’ve therefore prepared outline details of state and independent schools for some local counties.

Please note, however, that we work with parents in a variety of locations and circumstances, so please contact us if your specific region isn’t listed.

Primary Education

In England and Wales, the law states that all children aged five to sixteen must receive full-time education.

For children under age of five, many parents will send their children to a local nursery or pre-school and are usually eligible for funding for a limited number of hours each week.

Secondary Education

Children leave primary school at the age of eleven and transfer to their allocated secondary school. All children in the UK between the ages of five and sixteen are entitled to a free place at a state school.

Parents are required to apply for a place at their preferred secondary school for their children, however, due to high demand for places there is no guarantee a place will be offered.

There are various criteria applied, sometimes specific to a Local Authority and in other instances specific to the school itself.

From the age of eleven to fourteen, students in British state and private schools study a broad range of 10-15 subjects.

This includes English, Maths, Science, Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), History, Geography, Modern Foreign Languages, Art and Design, Music, Citizenship, Physical Education.

Careers education and guidance, Sex and Relationship Education and Religious education may also be included in the education curriculum.

After this two-year period, students take GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exams, exams which have recently been replaced by a new grading system.

Most schools prefer students usually take up to ten (there is no upper or lower limit) GCSE examinations in different subjects, including mathematics and English language.

Depending upon the results they achieve students may choose to either leave school or continue with their education.

Pupils may then continue at a sixth form department within their current school, or at vocational or technical colleges.

For pupils who have continued with their studies between 17 and 18 years at the end of this period they will take their Advanced Level (A-Level) exams and then move into employment or pursue higher education in a university.

You’ll discover further useful information about what’s offered within the State or Maintained schooling sector and how it compares with that offered by Private, Independent schools in our blog.

Photo copyright By Rept0n1x – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0