• Independent Schools

    Academic school years in the UK start in September and end the following July. The school year is split into 3 terms: Summer, Autumn and Spring (many schools will give specific names to terms such as Lent Term instead of Spring Term). During the term there are also ‘Half Terms’ which are shorter breaks where students can rest and revise. If boarding, students also have ‘Exeats’, which are full weekends away from school. It’s worth noting that many boarding schools operate their curriculum for 6 days per week (which includes Saturday morning lessons followed by sport competitions against other schools and a rest day on Sunday).

    Many independent schools offer both day school and boarding options and are increasingly co-educational with boys and girls attending, although some single-sex schools are still available.

    Some schools only offer education at Pre-Prep and Prep level, some only Senior and Sixth Form and some offer all-through education. Depending on the school, some finish Prep at 11 years or 13 years and some Senior schools accept pupils at 11 years or 13 years.

    Some schools offer ‘Pathway to university’ courses in Sixth Form and this is an entry point for those looking to access UK universities.

    Pre-Prep Prep Senior Sixth Form
    4-7 Years Old 8 – 11 or 13 Years Old 12 or 13 – 16 Old 17-18 Years
    Rec to Year 2 Year 3 to Year 6 or Year 8 Year 7 or Year 9 to Y11 Year 12 & Year 13
    No formal exams 11+ or Common Entrance*
    Usually 4-6 CE Subjects
    GCSEs
    Usually 9 GCSEs
    A Level or IB**
    Usually 3 A Levels

    (*Common Entrance exams are traditionally used for entry to Senior schools, however these are increasingly being phased out in exchange for assessments set by Senior schools.
    ** IB is the International Baccalaureate which examines 6 subjects)

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