Hi, I'm an American who lives in London. This means I am sometimes baffled by British Culture...
... which I pretend to understand...
... even though I sometimes don't.
This week, my British colleague published this post about questions she had about American High School. I realized I also have questions about British "High School" or, as they call it, "Secondary School." So I asked my questions and got a few answers.
TL;DR I made a chart to explain the differences. Take it in, people!
You'll notice the "years" don't match up.
English School begins with "Year 1" which sounds like our "1st Grade" except students are kindergarten age.
The English system calls their Senior Year "Year 13" which TBH just sounds like bad news.
Also notice that the England calls their final two years of school "Sixth Form."
This makes me think of one meme and one meme only.
But wait, why is this period called both Sixth Form and College, you ask? Prepare yourself, because I have the answer.
After Year 11 (aka "Sophomore Year"), English students go to either a "College" or "Sixth Form" to finish secondary school. This is because some secondary schools don't have grades past age 16 at the same school.
So, some students attend a different school (called "College") to finish their education before going to university (the same university which Americans call "College").
But this means English "secondary school" isn't even their "high school" in the sense that US "high school" is the "highest school" you attend before University.
Or England could just call it "Third School" because it is... the third... type of school... you attend before University...
All that aside, the fact that English secondary school can include Sixth Form is crazy to me! This means students between ages 11 -18 are all in the same building together at some English schools.
This causes me to conclude that UK school children must grow up fast.
In conclusion, I hope this chart helped you understand the differences between American and English schools.
And one final point: some English people pay to attend a different school than the government funded school, similar to a US "private school." But English people call some of these private schools "public schools." Meanwhile, public schools in England are called "state schools."
There you have it folks! I hope you found this post educational.
A previous version of this post referred to the "English School System" as the "UK School System," which did not account for differences in schooling between England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
A previous version of this post did not specify that the English School System has Reception before Year 1.