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Education system in England

12 September 2016

For families relocating with children, finding the right school can seem a daunting task. With different school systems operating around the world, each country presents its own set of problems. Here we try to provide a summary of the English education system to help families make the right school choice.

UK education system

The education systems in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have continued to diversify in recent years. Scotland has its own qualifications framework, and while the systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland share some similarities, on closer inspection they all have their own distinctions.

Take a look at the following pages to find out more about each country’s education system:

School system in England

There is a variety of schools to choose from in the English education system and they are funded and managed in different ways. The majority of children in England attend state schools; by law all children in the UK between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place in a state school.

However, a handful of families (around 6.5 per cent in the UK) pay for their children to attend independent (also known as private or public) schools.

Currently, children of families from within the European Economic Area (EEA) are also entitled to a free state education, whereas the visa status of families from outside the EEA will determine whether they can apply for a state-funded place. It is unknown as yet what the impact of Brexit will be on school admissions for relocating families from the EU.

State schools in England

State schools follow the national curriculum and are inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted). The most common mainstream state schools in England are:


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