The UK Education System

The UK Education System


TimePlan’s Education Guide Factsheet is part of our overseas teachers induction pack. Click on the button at the bottom of the page to open the factsheet. It contains information about the British Education System and links to other useful websites.

What is the education school system like in the UK?

The education system in the UK is separated into Key Stages (KS) that look like this:

Pupil Ages and Stages

All children from the age of 5-16 are entitled to a free place at a state school. There are many types of schools such as Local Authority Maintained Schools, Academies, City Technology Colleges, Community and Foundation Special Schools, Faith School, Grammar Schools and Specialist Schools. There are also Private Schools which students pay to attend. Every school is inspected by OFSTED, the official body for inspecting schools, who regulate standards.

Like all countries the UK has many exceptional schools with high academic standards with good behavioural codes and good management. Equally it has some challenging schools with low academic standards, poor behaviour and poor management. OFSTED looks for continual improvements in schools and following inspections will rate them as Outstanding, Satisfactory or Failing. Outstanding and Satisfactory schools are expected to improve year on year while Failing schools are placed on Special Measures and given extra resourcing and normally undergo a change of management.

OFSTED reports for schools can be found at

If you would like some more information on the National Curriculum, we encourage you to check out the following website,

How long is the school day?

The work schedule differs in each school. Generally, the day starts between 8:30am and 9am Monday to Friday and finish between 3:00pm and 3:30pm. However, some independent schools have lessons Saturday morning.

Primary schools have a morning break and some have an afternoon break as well. Students usually spend breaks outside, weather permitted. Teachers may be asked to supervise during some breaks. Secondary schools are only slightly different as they only have a morning break.

Lunchtimes vary from school to school, however most are an hour long. Teachers sometimes supervise lunch or run activities for students during this hour. All schools have a canteen or dining room where students and staff can buy their lunch.

Education Guide