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Schools and education

School education in the UK is free in the state schools, and consists of these main stages: 

  • reception year – starting from 4 years of age. This is not compulsory.

  • primary education – 5 to 11 years old, where 5 is the start of the compulsory education

  • secondary education – 11 to 16 years old

  • further education (sometimes called Sixth Form/College) – 16 to 18 years old

Children in the UK must legally attend primary and secondary education which runs from about 5 years old until the student is 18 years old.  

In this section, you can find information on how to register for schools and universities in the UK.

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