How Are The Ages For UK School Years Calculated

All school ages of UK children are calculated on the 1st September, as this is the start of the UK academic school year and runs through to 31st August in the following year. For example a child with a birthday of 21st September 2004 would be age 7 on 1st September 2012 so would be in year 3 from 1st September 2012.

Find out more about the timeline of UK education including school ages, timing of exams and questions to consider at each stage of education in our UK Education Timeline.

Nursery (age up 4)

Pre-prep school 

  • Reception (age 4 on the 31st August) Reception –  First year of compulsory education, joining a pre-prep school or a state primary school.
  • Year 1 (age 5 on the 31st August) – •Core and foundation subjects covered in Key Stage 1 are Maths, English, Science, Art & Design, Computing, Geog, History, Music and P.E.
  • Year 2 (age 6 on the 31st August) – • Start the process of choosing a prep school if a move at year 4 is necessary. (If the pre-prep is co-ed and goes single sex from prep school years).  Registration and visits to view prep school options. Meet with pre-prep Head, to discuss prep school options. Key Stage 1 Standard Attainment Tests (SATs) Some schools opt out of these.
  • Year 3 (age 7 on the 31st August) • Final Year of Pre-Prep. Some children make the transition into a different prep school at the end of this year, particularly if their pre-prep is co-ed and the prep school is single sex.  Entry assessments, taster days and interviews for prep school entry and final decision on prep school choice, if moving.

Prep school

  • Year 4 (age 8 on the 31st August) Entry year for many boarding prep schools. Start to register for your child’s senior school choices, ready for transition when they reach age 11 or 13.
  • Year 5 (age 9 one the 31st August)• Parent visits to their senior school options on short-list for entry at age 11 or 13. Meeting with prep school Head to seek advice on senior school choices.  Senior school registrations complete.
  • Year 6 (age 10 on the 31st August) 11+ exam (if relevant) taken at the end of this year 11+ tests for grammar schools. Pre-tests and interviews for some senior boarding schools. Consider seeking advice from an education consultant. Last year of primary school. Key Stage 2 Standard Attainment Tests (SATs)

Start year of some senior schools, or last two years of prep school

  • Year 7 (age 11 on the 31st August) First year in senior schools that start at age 11• Start of two-year Common Entrance curriculum in prep schools.  Pre-tests and interviews for some senior boarding schools for entry at age 13. Consider whether sitting scholarship for senior school is appropriate for your child. (Academic, all-rounder, music, sport, drama, art, D.T.) Consider seeking advice from an education consultant.  First year of entry for some senior day and boarding schools.  First year of entry to senior school for most state grammar and comprehensive schools.Year 8 (age 12 on the 31st August) Common Entrance Year
  • Year 8 (age 12 on the 31st August) Last year of prep school. Scholarship exams and interviews. Common entrance exams in June.

Start of some senior schools and many public boarding schools

  • Year 9 (age 13 on the 31st August) Foundation year in ‘public school’. Year of entry for many independent boarding schools with children transitioning from prep schools, that go through to age 13.  Some schools start GCSE courses in some subjects. GCSE subject choices usually made in Spring term.
    • Standard Attainment Tests (SATs) in state schools.
  • Year 10 (age 14 on the 31st August) Start of 2-year GCSE courses.  Start of two-year GCSE programme. English (language and literature), Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry (Dual or Triple Award sciences) then options from additional Languages, Humanities, Art and Design subjects, Information Technology or Business. Visits and registrations start, if considering a change of school for sixth form. Consider seeking advice from an education consultant.
  • Year 11(age 15 on 31st August) GCSE exam year.  Entry tests and interviews, if moving school for sixth form. HMC schools tend to make offers around 1st Dec each year. Accepting sixth form place offer, if decide to move. Making subject choices for sixth form study. (A Level, IB, BTEC, PreU, EPQ)  Consider seeking advice from an education consultant. Pupils sit GCSE, IGCSE, MYP (IB) exams during the summer term, with the results published in August.

Sixth Form

  • Year 12 A1 Level (age 16 on 31st August) • Start of two-year sixth form programme studying A Levels, PreU, IB Diploma, BTEC.  University course research, careers testing, visit to university Open Days.  Work experience or shadowing. Starting to write UCAS personal statement. Consider seeking advice from an education consultant.
  • Year 13 A2 Level/IB (age 17 on 31st August) • A Levels, PreU, IB Diploma, BTEC Exams in Summer term.  Submit UCAS form for university entry or deferred entry after Gap year.  Applications for apprenticeships or internships. Easter intensive revision courses. Gap year and work experience planning.
    Consider seeking advice from an education consultant.

Find out more about the timeline of UK education

Our guide includes school ages, timing of exams and questions to consider at each stage of education.

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Contact our team of education consultants to see how we can help with every stage of your child’s education: consultants@independenteducationconsultants.co.uk